08/09/2011

Wenn ist das Nunstück git und Slotermeyer?

It's been said that Germans build such great products because they don't want to go around being nice while they fix them. Making jokes about Germans is allowed now: Germans are the new Poles ever since the Poles got IT and hard currency. If they won a tennis tournament, they would be considered Europeans.

Anyway, I have some close German friends so I guess I am allowed to tell stories about Germans. I always enjoy trips to visit them, since the four hours and 26 minutes we plan ahead of time to spend together for the visit is great. Last time I was in Bremen, we had just left a biergarten and were waiting to cross the street. It was the middle of the night, there was no traffic in either direction, but the crosswalk signal had not changed. I stepped out to cross against the light, and my friend hissed "Nein! In Germany, we do not cross against the signal!" Chastened, I stepped back onto the sidewalk. However, my friend went on to cross the street adding "But, in Germany... we finish what we started."

I came back to Germany for this particular friend's wedding, and the best part was the salute by the his- and hers- football teams. It was like some kind of European fantasy: as they exited the marriage hall, his team stood in full uniform on the right and hers on the left and the bride and groom ran down the row, yelling football cheers.

We went back to her parents' house for refreshments and she advised me to get a drink from the beer refrigerator. Her family home had a separate appliance- simply for chilling beer. Now that's a piece of furnishing I can get behind. 

The low point of the wedding for me was trying to find the hotel I was staying at after the reception. Austere to the point of invisible, my dormitory-like accommodations were impossible to identify from the front of the building. I had made a point of writing down the address, only to find that 523 "Einbahnstraße" actually meant "one way street." 

The title of this post, by the way, is the opening to Monty Python's funniest joke in the world. It is rendered 60,000 times more potent in German, which is why I cannot finish it here.

2011 Moira G Gallaga ©


Like a Garden after a Rain

In life there can be terrible showers
High winds and drama can shake you
Like leaves are taken and twisted by the wind.
These high disasters can make life barren
Like a patch of garden that never sees the sun.

But there are roots even in the bare ground,
Potential flowers just waiting for the day
When they can spring up into life again.
And like a garden, after the bad storms
There will be new shoots springing up all around
Filling the garden and making it beautiful.

Like a garden after rain you must blossom
From the challenges offered by the storm.
Bow your head against the wind but
Keep strong and upright even in the worst.
Spread your petals to receive the water
And take it in to nourish your blooms.

Without the rain the garden would be dry
Nothing would grow within its bounds,
And like a garden you can take the cold
The downpours and the storms life holds.
And like a garden after rain you can recover
Push through your blooms and rise above the ground.

© Moira G. Gallaga
Photo by David Le Vine