Tag Archives: Denglish

The Bletchley Circle: My German Wife Identifies the Murderer, Then Promptly Insults Him

creepy-skull-bletchley-circle-serial-killer

“What do you want to watch tonight, Honey? Something involving gratuitous amounts of rape and murder? Of course you do.” — Image Credit: David Russo (https://www.flickr.com/photos/daverusso88/) — Subject to CC Generic 2.0 License.

My wife loves a good murder mystery, especially gritty crime dramas involving serial killers. (Morbid fascination seems to be an inherent trait of all human beings, though I’ve found it to be far more developed in the German psyche.)

Together, my wife and I have watched quite a few murder mystery shows on Netflix: Twin Peaks, The Killing, Damages, Top of the Lake, Bloodline, Broadchurch, and, most recently, The Bletchley Circle. (Note: Most of these shows are worth watching, but Damages is by far the best, and we proudly award it with 5 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds:

Merkel Diamond from Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany

Anyway, The Bletchley Circle is also pretty fun to watch. It is a British TV crime, drama and mystery series set in the early 1950s in London, England. It begins seven years after the end of WWII and follows four women who worked together during the war as cryptographers at Bletchley Park. When a series of similar murders occur in London, the four women reunite and use their unique codebreaking skills to identify the murder patterns and track down the killer. (Unarmed and without the assistance of the police, mind you, like four women with the combined testicular mass of Jupiter.)

So as we were finishing up the last episode of The Bletchley Circle one Saturday afternoon, we finally discovered the identity of the serial killer. The moment he was revealed, my wife recoiled in disgust and pointed at the TV screen, exclaiming:

Who? That milk face?*

*From the German word, “Milchgesicht,” which figuratively translates to “baby face,” but literally (and hilariously) translates to “milk face.”**

**My wife has used this term often over the years, but until now, I’d mistakenly assumed “milk face” referred to an individual of revoltingly pale complexion.


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

Seeking a Change of Scenery: My German Wife Orders Tickets for the ‘Phantom of the Opera’ in Hamburg, Germany

Phantom of the Opera - Hamburg - Neue Flora Theater

“Get ready to watch a twisted circus freak smash some dudes with a chandelier.”

I am a huge nerd. I sit in front of my computer every day designing logos, making websites and creating original illustrations for my clients all around the world. My hobbies include reading, writing and avoiding social interaction at all costs. Given the chance, I will remain hidden in the shadowy corner of my home office and never allow the sun to touch my tender, vampire-white skin. The noisy hustle and bustle of the outside world makes me cringe in fear, and the laughter of children is like shards of glass exploding in my eardrums.

My wife, however, is a beautiful, outgoing, social supernova. She’s a Gymnasium teacher, you see, so she has no problem whatsoever spending every day among the noisy, smelly, repellant savages running amok outside the safety of these four walls. She even enjoys venturing out into the chaotic unknown — especially for cultural events occurring in other cities. In fact, she has the excess energy to drag me along with her, even as I hiss and claw in impotent rage: “Oh please take us home, Mistress Extrovert! Take us back into the sweet embrace of darkness and silence from whence we came! Oh God, the light — it burns my eyes! The heat — it sears my flesh! Look there! I see humans! Horrible, ugly humans with smiles on their faces and happiness oozing from every gaping orifice! Sweet Christ, into what sort of nightmarish hell have you thrust me, woman!?

Phantom of the Opera - Hamburg - Neue Flora Theater

“I appreciate the effort, honey, but these cultural excursions are starting to feel a lot like something out of a Hellraiser movie.”

So anyway, knowing her misanthropic husband needs to get out of the house from time to time, my wife ordered tickets to see the Phantom of the Opera at the Stage Theater Neue Flora in Hamburg — 2 hours north of our home in Hannover, Germany. A week later, the tickets arrived in our mailbox and my wife held them proudly aloft, announcing the fact that we would be spending the following weekend watching Andrew Lloyd Webber’s theatrical spectacular in a strange and unfamiliar city:

“We will go to Hamburg and then we will see
some different wallpapers!”
*

*From the German expression, “Dann haben wir einen Tapetenwechsel,” which is a hilarious way of announcing the fact that you’re about to experience a dramatic change of scenery.

 


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

Rehydrating After the Gym: Why Popular Sports Drinks Fail to Impress My German Wife

Gatorade Sports Drinks v.s. Evian Water

“Wait, so sugar and salt work BETTER than water? That totally makes sense.” — Image Credit: Anna Hirsch (https://www.flickr.com/photos/antigone/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

As you probably know, I’m an American expat and freelance graphic designer working from my home office in the city of Hannover, Germany. Like a lot of self-employed creative types, I am a spiteful little shut-in with introverted tendencies and a general sense of loathing for the bright, colorful world outside my nest of shadows. (Imagine a black-cloaked Nosferatu-type cringing in pain from the merciless gaze of the sun: “Hissssssss…”)

When I do manage to gather the willpower necessary to leave the house, it is only so I can go exercise at our local German gym. And since I make my own hours, I can do this whenever the hell I want. My poor wife, however, is a Gymnasium teacher; she’s gone all day long, and then when she’s home, she has to plan lessons the rest of the evening. It’s a tough job, so when she finally has time to go to the gym, she considers it a luxury.

My wife considers clean, abundant drinking water a luxury as well, and cannot fathom the attraction people — especially Americans — have for popular sports drinks. Sports drinks are supposed to help athletes replace the water, energy and electrolytes they’ve lost during training or after competitions, but I think we all maintain a little skepticism regarding their effectiveness. Even German people are skeptical about them, which I find rather contradictory, since they also believe herbal tea with honey is a panacea capable of curing all diseases and prolonging life indefinitely.

Anyway, the other day, when my wife came home from the gym, she set her bag down and took a long pull from her water bottle. She looked at it closely, then turned to me and asked in her adorable accent:

THE WIFE: “What do all the sport people drink again? Jen-er-ate?
ME: “…Gatorade.”


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

How One American Expat Celebrates the 4th of July Outside the United States

Team-Frankreich-Intermède-Hannover-Internationalen Feuerwerkswettbewerb

“Wait, what day is it again?

How One American Expat Celebrates the 4th of July Outside the United States


An interview with the author of ‘Oh God, My Wife Is German,’ conducted by ParcelHero.com

Parcel Hero – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

1. Why are you a resident in Germany? Where in the US are you from originally?

I am originally from Portland, Oregon, but I moved to Hannover, Germany, in order to be with my wife; a beautiful, smart and (unintentionally) hilarious German woman. With her adorable linguistic mixture of Deutsch and English — better known as Denglish — she often says things like:

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

“But maybe I can spend money. I am the bread maker now.”

…or…

“It is time to get out of the bathtub now… my fingers are getting schrinkled.”

2. How will you be celebrating the 4th of July this year?

To be perfectly honest with you, I generally forget about the 4th of July every year, much like I forget most holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. However, if I should remember it this year, I will spend the evening worrying about the house we own in the States — and the likelihood that it will be swiftly burned to the ground by some mouth-breathing neighbor kid with a popsicle in one hand and a Roman candle in the other.

3. Where will you be celebrating it? (eg: a specific restaurant, party, etc.)

After calling my rental agency and confirming our house has not, in fact, been reduced to smoldering ashes, my wife and I will probably watch A Game of Thrones while eating a pizza and then pass right the fuck out.

4. What do you miss most about ‘home’ on the 4th of July?

I’ll miss the heat. July is generally pretty warm in Portland, but here in northern Germany? You just never know. It could be warm, but it could also be cold or windy — even rainy — because the weather here is always threatening an early return to winter… as if it were designed by Mother Nature herself to gently crush all joy from the German soul, keeping it focused upon the robotic task of producing the world’s finest automobile components.

— Oh God, My Wife Is German.
www.ohgodmywifeisgerman.com

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Expats around the world should check out ParcelHero for international delivery, collected from your door, by the couriers you trust, at www.parcelhero.com

And if you’d like to find out more about life as an American expat in Germany, check out some of our other posts, like this one: Five Things That Suck About Living in Germany


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

moving-to-germany-house-apartment-hannover

…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”

english-th-sound-tongue-between-teeth-german

“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