Muenchen Redux

Guten Tag from Munich! Greg and I got Baby C a little passport and brought her with us to Germany for a week. So far, so good... although traveling with a six month old has been interesting. No time to write all about it now, though. We spent nine months here two years ago, so I'm re-running part of an email I sent out then, with a quick update at its end. Enjoy!

Number of German classes skipped: 4.

Number of German words taught: 400.

Number of German words learned: 4.

German teachers may be the bravest people in the world. My intensive class contained around 9 students from all over Europe, if you include Turkey (which the student hailing from Turkey did, but those from traditional Europe disdainfully didn't), one from Japan, one from Korea, and one from Australia. Oh, and one from Morocco who insisted that he was "a photographer and a world citizen." Seeing as he spoke about 6 languages, I didn't giggle at this. Brian from Arizona was my only compatriot. He had moved to Munich to marry his German boyfriend and listed his occupation as "hausfrau" which our dear teacher, the sweet and somewhat conventional Frau Rosemary Schmit, finally understood was not a mistake after he showed up in black leather pants.

My apologies to all of you, but Brian and I confirmed every horrible stereotype about Americans' linguistic inabilities. We were, clearly and unavoidably, the class dunces. (It makes one very crabby to be the class dunce. I skipped a few classes, didn't do all my homework, and considered smoking in the girls' room, but figured that cry for help would go unnoticed here).

One day we had to say where we'd gone to school, and I laboriously said something to the tune of "I go to University, then I go to law school for 3 years" -- we hadn't learned the past tense yet -- and the class looked at me with naked incredulity on their faces. "That girl couldn't possibly be a lawyer! Poor thing doesn't even know what she's saying!"

The rest of the class zipped along, the German tripping merrily out of their mouths. Frau Schmit would occasionally try to include me in the conversation by slowly enunciating "Elizabeth, Wie viel Uhr ist es [What time is it]?" with a compassionate look on her face. I would mangle the numbers which told her that it was four past half before eleven (and this is how they express 10:34 a.m. here), and the class discussion would resume. They may have been discussing Nietzsche. I will never know.

Frau Schmit did face massive resistence the day she attempted to introduce divisible irregular verbs. As I understand it, the divisible verb consists of a verb and a prefix, but one puts the prefix at the end of the sentence for purposes that are not entirely clear. On that dark day, I was seated between Fauod the world citizen and Maximiliano from Verona. I didn't pick up the whole conjugation thing, but did learn a few good Italian and Arabic swear words. Even the teacher's pet from Turkey looked a little surly. Most of the class shared its angst over Gl├╝hwein later - usually, it was just the English-speakers who were driven to drink after class.

UPDATE: I just tried to order two bottles of a drink called Apfel Schorle (apple juice mixed with sparkling water - very popular). The woman came back with two pieces of Apfel Streusel. Not so thirst quenching, but I'm encouraged: at least it's the right fruit.

Yes, Virginia, there is a difference between Lee Highway and the Leesburg Pike.

Greg and I are transplanted Yankees, doing our best to navigate our little patch of Dixie here in Northern Virginia. Despite Greg's truly impressive internal GPS, sometimes the South takes revenge. This past weekend, we set out on a jaunt to investigate a mega-sale on patio furniture. After an hour passed, Greg realized we were on the wrong road. (To my credit: I had no navigational duties. Full confession: if I'd had navigational duties, we would probably still be driving).

Baby C voiced her displeasure at being cooped up in the car seat, but the call of the patio furniture was strong, and we persevered. We found the right road, only to discover that the store moved but hadn't updated its website or Information with its new address. Because of the mega-sale, it took 15 minutes on hold before we got through to someone at the store (who told us that the new location... was across the street).

We straggled into the store, sweaty and smelling like Burger King (which we don't usually eat, but when our errand somehow morphed into a road trip, we applied road trip rules). We gazed silently at the collection of fire pits and giant umbrellas that stretched as far as the eye could see.

Baby C was hungry, and clawed at my shirt like a little monkey. Greg asked to hold her so she would cover the ketchup stain on his shirt. At that moment of complete and utter dishevelment, I heard someone exclaim, "Elizabeth?"

I blinked. Slowly, the wheels turned. The woman with the neat blonde ponytail was a former colleague from my old law firm. She's still practicing. Her perfect husband and adorable son stood by. All of their shirts were stain-free and neatly tucked. Former Colleague laughed, "We just happened to be driving by when we saw this store - we're looking for a little bistro table. What are you up to?"

I'm still not sure how I should have answered that question. On any level.

6 Months Tired

Who's getting it. How they're getting it. Techniques for getting more. Sleep. It would be all I dreamed of, if only REM weren't so damn elusive.

(Yeah, that resolution has gone the way most of them do).

Baby C isn't a bad sleeper, but I've always needed at least eight hours. Six months of skimping have caught up with me. Yesterday, I followed the advice to "sleep when the baby sleeps" and crashed at 10:00 in the morning. The two hour nap didn't even dent the depths of my exhaustion.

So I was perhaps not the most patient or loving wife last night. We finally got to bed around midnight, but Greg couldn't put his Crackberry down. I asked him a few times to stop, and he solicitously blocked its dim light. But I lay there, listening to the little scroll down button whine on and on like a hamster wheel, and I lost it. From under the covers I arose like the ghost of Christmas past. I grabbed the front of Greg's tee shirt in my two hands .


I rolled over, contemplated feeling bad, but conked out before it could happen.

Baby C gets furious when she can’t sleep. Wonder who she gets that from?


I know I’ve mentioned that Baby C favors her father, but it’s getting ridiculous. Greg is finally home after a horribly long business trip, and he’s making up for lost time – I have to pry the baby out of his arms just to feed her. He was sporting the Baby Bjorn on a recent shopping trip, and all the saleswomen fell over themselves to coo at the pair of them.

“Oooh, she looks just like her daddy!”

“What a pair of cuties!”

I approached the counter with a dress I wanted to buy. “Wow,” said one of the saleswomen, looking me up and down. “She doesn’t look like you at all.”