Category Archives: Denglish

Quotes from my wife featuring the accidental combination of German and English words.

Ungrateful Little Sh*ts: What It’s Like to Plan a Field Trip for Teenage Students in Hannover, Germany

German teenagers (teens in germany)

“Wooohooo! I am the center of the universe!” — Image Credit: Philipp (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mapled/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

As you are probably aware, my wife is German. She is also a Gymnasium teacher here in Hannover, Germany. This means she teaches students between the ages of 10 and 18 — or 5th grade through 12th. That’s a lot of teenagers, man, and if you’re anything like me, you know teenagers are a bunch of filthy, disgusting little shitbags.

Yes, there are exceptions. If you have a teenager at home, I’m sure he or she is a perfect little angel who burps love and farts rainbows. But the rest of them are 100% self-focused, with underdeveloped personalities and little or no regard for those around them. And they stink. God dammit, how hard is it to slap a little Old Spice under them pits, Dieter von Reekenstein? Mother of God, I would rather dip my nuts in hot coffee than be trapped on the U-Bahn amidst a gaggle of these screeching retards.

Luckily, my wife does not regard her students with the same kind of vehement hatred I do. She loves her students, and she’s a damn good teacher. That said, even she stumbles across the occasional moment of annoyance. Like the other day, when she was trying to organize a field trip for her 8th grade class; she offered to take them to one of the museums here in Hannover, or even the incredibly awesome Hannover Adventure Zoo. The field trip wasn’t part of the class — she just offered her own free time in order to do something fun and educational with them. And like the ungrateful 13-year-old balls of snot they are, they insisted on going to Hamburg instead. Not even, “Thank you for the idea, but we would really love to see the Port of Hamburg,” or “Would it be possible to tour Hamburg’s Old Town instead?” They were just like, “We’d rather go to Hamburg.” Period.

So my wife came home that night and explained the situation to me. She took a sip of wine, shook her head in exasperation and said:

“I tell you, you give them your little finger, and they take your whole hand.”


Graphic Designer in Portland, Oregon and Hannover, Germany - Grafikdesigner Illustrator Copywriter

Fashion Tips from My German Wife: Choosing the Perfect Tie for Any Occasion

bad suit and tie

“Honey, I love you, but you dress like a blind man.” — Image Credit: bark (https://www.flickr.com/photos/barkbud/) — Subject to CC 2.0 Generic Copyright.

My wife and I have attended a few weddings here in Hannover, Germany — like 3 or 4 — so you’d think by now I would have my wardrobe all figured out, but I absolutely do not. I wore my dad’s old, gray, 1970s suit (with suspenders) for every formal occasion from 2001 until, oh, 2014. I just hate shopping for clothes, man. I’ve got a weird build: broad shoulders, a short torso, long legs and Bill Clinton’s godawful bitch hips. I don’t need the reminder, especially while having my scrotum tickled by some dude measuring my inseam. God dammit, I’m getting mad just thinking about this again.

Anyway, my wife and I were getting dressed for a wedding not too long ago, and she insisted we wear matching outfits. At first she wanted me to wear a red tie to match her red dress, but I didn’t have any black dress pants; only blue jeans, black shoes and a white button-down shirt. A red tie would have meant wearing 4 different colors, so I talked her into letting me wear a blue tie. (Only 3 colors. That’s awesome, right?) So once we’d settled the issue of which tie I should wear, my wife took a good, hard look at all of my ties. I had one in each color, including black. This was apparently a good thing, because she nodded her head, shut the closet door and said:

“Perfect. You have every color you need, and black is always good for funerals.”

If you liked this post, there’s a solid chance you’ll dig this one too: My German Wife Offers the Perfect Alternative to Traditional Childbirth

Learn to Love Your Thighs: American Expat Ruins a Perfectly Good Day at the Beach

Hot redhead in a swimsuit on the beach

“Honey, does this swimsuit make me look like a fat, disgusting whale?” — Image Credit: Frank Kovalchek (https://www.flickr.com/photos/72213316@N00/) — Subject to CC 2.0 Generic Copyright.

Very few of us are lucky enough to have beach bodies. You know, the kind of frame which genuinely looks good in a bathing suit and makes everyone else hate your fucking guts? I go to the gym five days a week and I still have Will Farrell’s midsection. It just isn’t fair. Especially when you’re married to someone like my wife; a gorgeous German woman who can eat all the seedy bread and cured pig fat she wants and never gain a pound. It’s genetic, and not everyone is similarly blessed. However, everyone is cursed with some degree of self-consciousness. No matter how sexy you are, I guarantee there is a part of your body you don’t like. Maybe some part you even hate. Maybe if the Devil himself offered to magically rid you of this part of your body, and all you had to do in return was murder some random person in cold blood, you would find the closest drifter asleep on the sidewalk and stab him right in the windpipe.

What I’m saying here is, even though my wife has a fantastic beach body, she still complains about it. One incident in particular springs to mind: Remember that trip my wife and I took to the Spanish island of Mallorca? When we visited the city of Palma, had some drinks in the El Arenal district, and took the historical train to beautiful Port de Sóller? Well, on the very last day of that trip, we finally donned our bathing suits and got some real sunbathing done. We were on the beach southeast of Palma, lounging around in the sand and just generally burning the sweet merry hell out of our skin. (Oh God… our freakishly, blindingly white skin…) We were napping on our towels, and at one point I rolled over onto my side — accidentally mashing my wife’s thigh in the process — which caused her to shout:

“Ow! Ow! You are pressing my big meat!”

If you would like to read the full post about that trip, check out: German-American Couple Visits the Spanish Island of Mallorca

Death, Dying and Impermanence: An American Expat and His German Wife Tackle Life’s Biggest Questions

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“What does it all mean, mein Schatz?” — Image Credit: Cristina L. F. (https://www.flickr.com/photos/xanetia/) — Subject to CC 2.0 Generic copyright.

Not too long ago, I had a birthday which pushed me closer to 40 years old than 30. I took a close look in the mirror, saw a few more gray hairs on my head, and even a few new ones in my eyebrows. In my goddamn eyebrows. Now, if you’re over 40, you’re probably rolling your eyes about now — ready to tell me all about the horrors of life at your advanced age — but you don’t need to; I’ve been worrying about aging and mortality since I was 6 years old.

It all started in the first grade, on the very first day of science class. The teacher held up a rotating model of the solar system, spun the planets around and said:

“These are the planets, and this little guy right here is Earth. See it? That’s us. We orbit this big yellow ball in the middle, called the Sun. The Sun is a star, and like all stars, it is going to swell up someday and become a Red Giant — engulfing the Earth and all the rest of the planets in the solar system — and then it will explode.”

After taking a moment to appreciate the horrified looks upon our adorable little faces, the teacher added:

“But don’t worry… this won’t happen for billions of years. You’ll all be dead long before that happens.”

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“Don’t touch the big one, kids. It’s hot.” — Image Credit: Image Editor (https://www.flickr.com/photos/11304375@N07/) — Subject to CC 2.0 Generic copyright.

Time and emotional scarring have no doubt clouded my memory of what our teacher actually said, but I do know the scientific facts presented were lost upon me entirely. Instead, what I learned that day was a deeper, darker truth: I am going to die.

I spent the rest of that afternoon sprawled out on the floor of my classroom, pretending to write numbers for some kind of math lesson or another, when what I was actually doing was staring at the floor, tracing its dusty, pockmarked tiles with my newly hollowed gaze, thinking to myself, I am going to die someday. My Dad is even older than me, so he’ll probably die first. And my Mom is going to die too. But even if we all lived forever, the Sun would just grow really big and burn us all to death anyway. Oh my God, it’s gonna to hurt so bad… And I literally pictured a burning yellow ball of unimaginable scale pressing up against my face, frying the skin off my skull while crushing everything and everyone I’d ever loved into a swelling crescendo of horror and agony.

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“Bye Mom! Bye Dad! Thanks for all the popsicles!” — Image Credit: Maxwell Hamilton (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mualphachi/) — Subject to CC 2.0 Generic copyright.

Although I’m all grown up now, I’ve never forgotten that particular day. Not just because of the brutally honest lesson in astronomy, or the long hours of painful realization and introspection afterward, but because it marked my first awareness of impermanence; that ceaseless metronome ticking away the seconds for all of us. You. Me. The plants and animals. Hell, even the Great Pyramids of Egypt. We’re all dying and eroding back into the stardust from whence we came. And when viewed upon a long enough timeline, absolutely nothing remains the same forever. So if fluctuation is the natural state of things, what is the point of life? Why do we struggle so hard to create things when nothing we make — organic or inorganic — can possibly last longer than a microsecond in the blind, uncaring eyes of the universe?

This is the part where you might suggest I find some religion or seek help for my obvious depression / anxiety disorder, but I don’t need any of those things; I’ve got a German wife. She is pragmatic and down-to-earth, and when she is presented with the big questions regarding life and death, she will restore the warmth to my heart by asking very simply:

“Why does our time on earth have to be limitated?”

If you would like to read another classic Denglish quote, check this one out: My German Wife Explains the Optimal Weather Conditions for Seasonal Allergy Attacks

Moving from an Apartment to a House in Hannover, Germany: My Wife Exemplifies the Classiest Exit Strategy Possible

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…upgrading our living conditions SO hard. — Photo Credit: Sharon & Nikki McCutcheon (https://www.flickr.com/photos/payitforwardphotos/) — Subject to CC 2.0 Generic Copyright

As you know, my wife and I live in Hannover, Germany. She is a native German citizen — bright, beautiful and freakishly enthusiastic about her work as a Gymnasium teacher — and I am an American expat; dark and introverted, spinning graphic design projects from my home office like a funnel-web spider tending to its silken trip-lines: “Oh yes, my pretties… come closer. Let me sink my venomous logo into your fledgling business enterprise…”

So normally I’m the hateful side of our little German-American relationship, and my wife is the loving side; she genuinely enjoys people and always looks for the good in them. But after living in a questionable apartment building with psychotic inhabitants and an apathetic management company for two years (See: Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane), even she was ready to burn the place to the ground and piss on the ashes.

She checked the house rental listings every night for months until finally she found the perfect opening: A little house in a quiet neighborhood on the outskirts of the city, still close enough to commute to work, but far enough away we wouldn’t be tempted to climb on top of our new roof and pick off our former neighbors like a couple of wildly underqualified Marine snipers.

We got the news our rental application had been approved, and then we started packing like mad. We boxed everything up, hired a moving company and got the hell out of that apartment. As we drove away, gazing at the building as it receded from view, my wife stuck her hands out the window — both middle fingers held high in the air — and shouted, “Adios Amigos!”

Of course, with her adorable German accent, what actually came out was:

“Ahh-Dee-Yahs, Ahh-Mee-Gahs!”

If you would like to read another classic Denglish quote, check this one out: My German Wife Is A Huge Fan of HBO’s A Game of Thrones

The German Accent: Ain’t No Place for the English “T-H”

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“You just put your lips together and… blow.” — Image Credit: tiffany terry (https://www.flickr.com/photos/35168673@N03/) — Subject to CC Generic 2.0 Copyright.

I love my wife’s accent. It’s cute — sort of ambiguously European — with a rare subtlety which likely stems from so much time spent in the United States and her years of being married to me; an American book nerd who experiences heart palpitations whenever someone misuses the homophones “there” and “their.”

But who doesn’t enjoy a good foreign accent? They sound cool and unique. More attractive, even. (Except for that God-awful Cockney English accent. Holy shit.) So I cherish what precious little remains of my wife’s German accent, and record it whenever she lets fly with a real zinger. Yes, her mispronunciations make me laugh out loud, but I do not mean to mock her; I truly enjoy the linguistic differences. (And this road goes both ways, I’ll have you know: My wife laughs her sweet ass off whenever I try to say “ice cubes” in German. The word is “Eiswürfel,” pronounced, “Ice-vuhr-fell,” but I can’t stop saying “Ice-TZWUHR-fell.” Makes her lose her shit every time.)

One remnant of my wife’s accent is still going strong, however, and that is her total disregard for the English <th> sound, as in “theater,” “weather” or “Thor, God of Thunder.” (And yes, I am a comic book dork, as well as a fantasy nerd and sci-fi geek. I loved the movie Prometheus. It rocked so hard I’ve been hassling my wife to watch it with me since 2012.) So it was with much glee that I wrote down my wife’s quote the other day, after she came home from a particularly arduous day at work and demanded immediate relaxation, saying:

“I want to watch a movie so hard. We could even watch a sci-fi. We could even watch your ‘Pro-mee-toys.’ “

If you would like to read another classic mispronunciation post, check this one out: My German Wife Gets Stuck in Traffic, Struggles Adorably to Pronounce the English Letter ‘J’

Pruney Fingers: My German Wife Explains Why You Should Get Out of the Bathtub Right Now

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“Dear God in heaven, what does it MEAN??” — Photo Credit: SuperFantastic (https://www.flickr.com/photos/superfantastic/) — Subject to CC 2.0 Generic Copyright.

Generally speaking, I am an environmentally conscious individual: I ride a bike; I recycle my garbage; I try not to set rubber tires on fire. You know, the usual. My one destructive vice, however, is wasting water.

I love long showers and baths. As a kid, I used to take showers with the drain plugged so the tub would fill halfway with water. I would then lay down on my back and let the droplets rain down on me with just my eyes and nose sticking up out of the water, like a little pink alligator. I called these my, “Swamp Baths,” and they played hell with our water bill.

Even now, I’m the very last one out of the shower at my local gym here in Hannover, Germany. Not even the stupid 15-second timer on the showers can stop me from wasting enough water to revive the Mojave Wasteland. I don’t even know why I do it; something about the heat and the water soothes me to my core. Makes me docile and slow-witted, like a cow on its way to the slaughterhouse: “Jesus, Betsy just dropped dead right in front of me. Oh well, better keep shuffling toward those men with the bloodstained aprons…”

So I’ve never really understood why people think it’s time to get out of the shower, pool or bathtub just because their skin is starting to prune. Are wrinkled fingertips truly the klaxon alarm to end bathtime? Maybe parents made this shit up so their horrible little children would stop robbing future generations of potable water. Some people think pruney skin occurs because the outer layers absorb warm water, causing the cells to expand and fold over on themselves. Others explain it as a vestige of evolution, which gave our extremities better grip in wet conditions. Personally, I think it’s a random, ugly little phenomenon which cannot be explained, much like yawning, orgasm toe and piss shivers.

All I know is I’m gonna stay in the tub until I’m goddamn good and ready to get out. My German wife, however, will end bathtime long before I do, explaining:

“It is time to get out. My fingers are getting schrinkled.”*

*I suspect this may have come from the combination of the English word ‘wrinkled,’ and the German word ‘schrumpfen,’ meaning ‘to shrink.’

If you would like to read another classic quote from The Wife, check this one out: My German Wife Offers the Perfect Alternative to Traditional Childbirth