Travel Expressions from Germany: How to Say, “Living in the Lap of Luxury”

luxury-vacation-Fairmont-Hotel-Vier-Jahreszeiten-Alster-Lake-Hamburg-Germany
“Good lord, I am but a spoiled man-child…” — Image Credit: http://www.GlynLowe.com (https://www.flickr.com/photos/glynlowe/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

You know us already: I am an American expat from Portland, Oregon, and my wife is a German Gymnasium teacher with a penchant for crushing our two native languages into priceless diamonds of Denglish. Generally, Denglish takes the form of English and German words combined into a sort of deformed bastard child. (In my mind, it looks like a big, disgusting toad with red skin, devil horns and cloven hooves.)

But my favorite part of this linguistic phenomenon is the translation of German similes and metaphors directly into English. On a daily basis, my German wife fires off some of the weirdest expressions in the universe, and when she does, it is my sole responsibility in life to whip out my iPhone, hit the Notes app and write that shit down before she can stop me.

So the other night, my wife and I were sitting on the couch discussing the fact that the next day was Monday. And like most people who have to work for a living, we hate Mondays. (Well, I hate Mondays in particular — even more than Garfield, that fat lazy bitch.) I was feeling depressed because the last precious hours of Sunday evening were drawing to a close. I told my wife we would need to snuggle extra close in bed that night — because I’m a pussy and I have the emotional needs of a toddler — to which she agreed, nodding her head and assuring me:

“We will be like two maggots in a piece of pork belly.”*

*From the German expression, “Wie zwei Maden im Speck.” ‘Speck’ is often mistranslated as ‘bacon,’ but in Germany, it’s just a fat chunk of lard. And while my wife used this expression to mean we would cuddle up close — all warm and safe — it’s typical meaning is closer to “living in the lap of luxury.” Now, I don’t see why she couldn’t just use a non-revolting simile — like “a couple of dolphins swimming in gold” or something, but hey, welcome to Germany.


 

Advertisements

16 thoughts

  1. I hated German class in high school, but once I found how morbidly humorous the language and people can be, I fell in love with it and took four more years in college. I’d forgotten this expression, but one of my professors used it frequently towards the end of the semesters. Thanks for sharing and reviving old memories!

    Like

  2. Haha. This was hilarious. My boyfriend is Ukrainian and I have a similar experience laughing at the translated sayings. Even though he’s a fluent English speaker, he’ll translate certain sayings for my entertainment. They seem to delight in vulgar, semi-violent expressions..

    Like

  3. “Speck” doesn’t mean “bacon”? Well, I’ll be. *That* explains a couple of indigestible breakfasts! Thank you as always for teaching me a bit about the German language and culture while making me literally laugh out loud.

    Like

  4. Speck is in fact bacon, though. Just those northerners don’t know what they’re talking about ;)
    I find your wife’s denglish incredibly funny, nonetheless

    Like

    1. Really? Here in Bavaria Speck is a piece of lard too, only Frühstücks- (breakfast) Speck is a Danish/ English style of thin bacon. Other terms are Bauch, Bündle or Wammerl. In Tyrol, Speck means a special kind of raw and smoked ham.

      Like

  5. Funny how the German language can get right down to the level of the maggot and not be disgusted by the idea of larvae crawling all over a cherished food item. Definitely not for the squeamish.

    Like

  6. If you’d married a girl from the US South, she might have said, “We’re living in high cotton.” But if she’d just pigged out of a delicious meal, she might have said, “Well, I’m just as full as a tick.”

    Like

  7. And when my Buddhist sister-in-law described my husband and me as “two peas in a pod”, he retorted, “More like two fleas on the same dog.” Love those sardonic Germans…

    Like

What do you think? We welcome your feedback!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s