Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Moving date!!

The biggest news in the past week is that B and I found an apartment! We actually received simultaneous offers on 2 places (cover letters apparently do make a difference), and after some agonizing, we picked one. It's large-ish (for Zurich) and a few stops on the regional train outside the main city. But it has a shopping complex (ie, groceries) right across the street, a bus stop 2 minutes away, and even a sport facility nearby - as well as parking places for rent should we ever decide to get a car. By train, it's less than twenty minutes from the city center, although it is a good 45 minutes away from the airport (that's ok, I promise I'll still meet visitors there). I am SO excited - our move in date is May 1st, so that gives us some time to pack up and also show the current apartment (after a thorough spring cleaning) - since we are moving without three months' notice, we need to find at least two "suitable" candidates for the apartment to offer to the company in order for B to be released from the current lease. I spent all evening yesterday on Pinterest looking at color schemes and decorating and gardening ideas.

A friend asked me last week if we had Kinder Surprises in Switzerland. We do, although they are rather lost in the copious Lindt displays. This was one of three in a small grocery store. Perhaps a stereotype, but it does appear that the Swiss are serious about their chocolate.
My second month of German class started this week. So far the grammar continues to make sense, but I am still horrible at pluralizing nouns and I haven't been studying my vocabulary enough, so I often find myself conjugating verbs that I have no idea what they mean (always an interesting venture when they require additional verbs or direct objects, eg "What do you do when you are hungry?" "When I am hungry, I dance." - No?). It was an epiphany that I was perhaps a tad slow to reach - it took me three weeks to realize that since there is no common language, we are never expected or asked to translate anything. The instructor tries to ensure that we understand a word when it is first introduced, but beyond that, we're on our own. I've made some flash cards, but I desperately need to make more. Typically in reading texts, I can eventually come up with the meaning, but definitely not fast enough for oral exercises.

I've started staying after class to work on homework - the school has a small cafeteria area that is quiet and has fewer distractions than home. Last week, my instructor came in to visit the vending machine and saw me there. He first said something complimentary (yay! Ok, he probably would've said it to any student - something along the lines of Good job with German), and then asked if I was staying for the movie showing that evening. The school was showing "Friends with Benefits" (yes, the one with Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis, a rather odd choice for a German school largely populated with native Spanish speakers).

"Nein, ich habe ein Besichtigung." [No, I have an apartment viewing - and yes, I was guessing on the gender of "Besichtigung," since I couldn't ever recall learning it. And yes, I garbled the pronunciation and had to try it a few times. But I got it out eventually.]

"Ah! Wo?" (Where?)

I gave him the street name and he shook his head. I was pretty pleased with myself that I had understood his question and managed to come up with an almost-complete answer, so I wasn't concentrating enough on my next attempt.

"Die Wohnung ist....<painful pause> nachts....mein Mann <another painful pause>...arbeitet." I was a deep red at this point and gave up, waving my hand arbitrarily in the air, as if to give what I said some logical context. (What I meant to say was that the place was next to [nächste] where my husband works. What I actually said was "The apartment husband works." Did I mention that umlauts (¨) not only change pronunciation but also entire meanings of words? Languages are tricky beasts.)

"Ah...ok." He left.

I heard him in the cafetera again yesterday, but I kept my eyes firmly focused on my work. I think we were both grateful for that.


  1. Little tip: words in "ung" are always feminine (or at least I never met one that wasn't :) )

    1. Ooh, thanks! I kind of coughed my way through the artikel - which I often find myself doing ;)

  2. Good strategy, I often say that I speak so fast in english/german that people don't notice the mistakes. Although when you enter the realm of declension in german you're gonna have to cough a lot if you can't find the artikel :P