After my wife finished her time as a Referendariat teacher-in-training — AKA: 18 months of stress-induced psychosis — she was faced with the grueling task of applying for jobs in various German cities. We were already living here in Hannover, but weren’t sure if we wanted to try someplace new, like Hamburg or Bremen. One thing we knew for sure, however, was that we did not want to move any further south.
I find the social dynamics between northern and southern Germans completely hilarious; they make fun of each others’ accents, food, weather, soccer teams — even their attitudes toward life in general. Northerners think of southerners as overly conservative, self-entitled brats with too much money and one great big boner for Jesus Christ. Southerners look at northerners as depressing, humorless robots with lumps of coal where their hearts should be. I love it. (Especially because the rest of the world is pretty sure all Germans are humorless robots.)
So as my German wife was applying for jobs back in 2013, she explained her search criteria to me thus: She would only be applying to cities in the north because we are not “Southies.” She went further to clarify why she would be choosing between certain job offers, saying…
“Right now, I want to pick out the raisins where I have a good stomach feeling.”
If you would like to read another classic Denglish post, check this one out: My German Wife Warns Me About the Mythological Beast in Our Bathtub
My wife works hard. Like, hard as balls. She gets up around 5:00 am, commutes to the Gymnasium high school where she teaches classes all day long, then comes home so she can plan lessons and grade tests for the next day. (Unlike me, who sits in front of the computer all day long making logos and shit.) I’d say my wife averages about 4.5 hours of sleep per night — which is nowhere near enough — but she handles it with grace and humor.
One drawback to all of this hard work, however, is my wife’s total inability to stay awake in front of the TV for longer than an hour. Halfway through a movie, I will hear a marked change in her breathing; it slows and deepens, until finally I look down to find an unconscious German on my shoulder.
I don’t fault her for this — she works her ass off — but I cannot resist the urge to tease her about it, especially because I’m the one who has to put away the food and dishes, turn off all the lights and turn the bed down. (You know, real backbreaking labor.) After all this is done, I gently wake my wife so she can brush her teeth before bed, and that’s when I like to make some shitty remark about having to watch the movie all over again tomorrow night. She would be justified in flipping me off or calling me names, but instead she just shrugs, saying:
“Please don’t smear this on my bread.”*
*From the German saying, “Schmier mir das nicht aufs Brot,” which figuratively means, “Quit bringing that up again.”
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