This week we had a bit of a different meeting since it was our last official meeting, and I was already on a road trip back to Germany. I was able to show the others a bit of the beautiful Finnish landscape, where we decided to set camp for the night.
We had no special topic on our agenda for today and as it happens somewhat naturally lately, we got to the corona topic quite quickly. We talked about the different strategies in our countries. This was quite interesting for me because in a few weeks I would be back home in Germany again. But it was also interesting to see how some rules are handled differently in France.
We agreed that after COVID we want to make a meeting in person possible. I have been to some of the more southern parts of France, but there is still a lot left to see, and therefore I would really appreciate the opportunity. We have also created an Instagram group and hope to stay in touch that way. So, fingers crossed!
Since Germany and France are so close together, there are a lot of stereotypes about each other. Therefore, we decided to talk about them this time and elaborate on what is at least partly true and what is just wrong.
We started by collecting all the stereotypes we could think of about the other country. Lisa and I described the stereotypical French person as a man with a striped shirt, a beret hat and a baguette. Leonie described the stereotypical German guy with leather pants and a plaid shirt, drinking a beer and eating a pretzel. What was fun for us is that both these stereotypes are only true for a certain region of the country. While the stereotypical German is mainly describing the Bavarian culture, the stereotypical French guy is more a description of a Parisian.
But there were also some stereotypes we had of France that were approved by Leonie. For example, the eating habits that seem weird to the German tongue, like frog legs and snails. Leonie explained to us that Frog legs are eaten quite rarely, while snails for her are more like a regular fancy celebration dinner. This was quite interesting to me.
An interesting similarity we discovered is the difference between the capital cities from the rest of the country. Leonie told us that in her opinion, the Parisian lifestyle has more of a negative reputation. She described them as rushed people that complain a lot about everything. For Lisa and me, Berlin has more of a positive connotation. A lot of people around me went to Berlin for a few months for an internship. Berlin for us is more of an alternative and welcoming culture and is a relatively green and spacious city compared to the rest of Germany.
I really enjoyed this week’s session, and I feel like I have learned a lot about French culture and its similarities to Germany.
After a smaller break in between our meetings, we finally managed to make another meeting happen! Inspired by other groups, we decided to also talk about music from artists from our country.
We started by asking each other what music we know from the other country. I was not surprised to hear 99 Luftbalons from Leonie. But I was surprised to hear O-Tannenbaum. Leonie said it was a part of her German lessons and is therefore quite known in France. From my side, the only French song that came into my mind right away was Alors on danse. Leonie helped us out with a classic French song called La vie en rose by Édith Piaf which is also quite famous from different movies.
After this, we continued with some famous music from our generation. Leonie started by showing us some rap music that she likes to listen to with her friends. Lisa and I were agreeing on the fact that there is a lot of German rap music, which we don’t like. But we could also agree that there is one Artist called Apache which has become quite famous in the last years and was more favoured by us as well. We also realized how little story there is in a lot of rap songs, which made it quite hard to translate the meaning of the song for each other.
After the rap songs I wanted to show something from a different genre and went with Pocahontas from AnnenMayKantereit. This Song has a happy feel to it although it is about a failed relationship. This song has also become quite popular in the last few years and even Leonie thinks she has already heard it somewhere.
For me this session was quite interesting because I think talking about music is something more personal and I liked hearing Lisas and Leonies opinion on it.
As usual, we started our session with some small talk. Since we have been travelling in the past weeks, we decided to talk about some basic vocabulary that can help you while travelling.
We started with some essential city locations you may need (or hopefully not) when travelling such as Aeroport, hospital and Banque. We realized that some French words are written like the English words, but are pronounced very differently. For me, this made the correct pronunciation even harder, since you feel like you recognize the written word.
On the other hand, most of these words will be easy to remember because they are similar to the English and the German word. One example here would be the French word Police which is spelt the same as the English word police, while the German word is also similar Polizei.
When we talked more about finding your way at an airport, we realized that all the locations there are named in English and have no translation in German of French. I think this makes a lot of sense since most of the people at an airport will be international travellers and this way, they don’t need to translate every sign.
On Saturday we finally had our French – German Cooking Session. As Léonie is, unfortunately, currently not in Finland we could not cook all together in real. But at least Tim and me, who are both in Tampere, met and did the Recette Tartiflette. We met at the supermarket, to get all the ingredients needed (potatoes, onions, crème fraîche, cheese). While grocery shopping we had to struggle with some difficulties, because the recipe requires a very special, French cheese – the Reblochon cheese. Unfortunately, we could not find it here in Finland. After extensive Google research, we decided to use Brie as an alternative. Back at my apartment we got straight to cooking as we were already hungry. For the recipe you first had to cut the potatoes into slices, dice the onion and fry both with salt and pepper for a quarter of an hour. Actually, bacon is added, but we omitted it because we wanted to keep the recipe vegetarian. Then the potato and onion mixture was put into a baking dish, alternating with crème fraîche and the cheese. Finally, it had to bake in the oven at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes. Even though Léonie says it looks half as tasty with Brie as with Reblochon cheese, we really enjoyed the Recette Tartiflette. It is quite similar to the traditionale potato gratin (Kartoffelgratin) known in Germany and very substantial, which is why we just managed half of it. Since the recipe is very easy to prepare, we definitely want to try it again with the Reblochon cheese when we are back in Germany.
Today, I met Lisa in person for the first time. We met in front of the supermarket next to her apartment and went shopping for the missing ingredients. As expected, the only challenge for us was to find the right cheese. After we went up and down the refrigerator, we still could not find the Reblochon cheese. We did some extensive google research on the fly and decided to go with Brie instead.
After the shopping, we started by peeling and slicing the potatoes and onions. After that, we had to fry the potatoes and onions for 15 Minutes before stacking them in a baking dish with crème fraîche and slices of cheese. After we were done, we placed everything in the oven for 20 minutes at 200 degrees.
Although we had the wrong cheese, it was still a delicious meal. I definitely want to try it again with the correct cheese once I find it. The Brie unfortunately did not melt as well as we would have expected, which altered the look of it a bit. There is also a similar recipe I know from Germany, which is called Kartoffelgratin. It is also potato slices baked with cheese. I think the cheese makes all the difference though.
Leonie’s Knödel also turned out really well. She showed us a picture later. I think they enjoyed it as well.
Yesterday we had another short meeting with our German-French group. We met via Zoom and made preparations for our cooking session on Saturday. We exchanged the recipes and talked about the ingredients and the necessary equipment. We also exchanged some background knowledge about it. Léonie chose Recette Tartiflette for us, which are kind of potatoes with cheese that are backed in the oven – I’m really excited for trying that out tomorrow! She said it’s traditionally eaten while skiing in France, as it’s a very greasy food. We chose Semmelknödel mit Pilzrahmsoße for her because it is easy to prepare. This are dumplings made of old bread with a mushroom cream sauce. In Germany, it is mostly cooked to still use stale bread.
I’m really looking forward to Saturday and I’m already curious how the Recette Tartiflette will taste and if Léonie likes the Semmelknödel mit Pilzrahmsoße. We will keep you updated with some pictures of the ready cooked dishes and of course also with another blog post about the meeting.
This time we had a quick meeting to prepare for our cooking session later this week. Lisa and I agreed to try a vegetarian version of Recette Tartiflette and Leonie wants to try Semmelknödel mit Pilzrahmsoße. The German recipe is actually one of my favourite traditional meals. Also, one of the few without meat. The only problem is that it usually takes a while, and it can be hard to get the dough for the dumplings just right. I am curious how Leonie will do with this one.
For the Recette Tartiflette I am very curious! You can never go wrong with baked cheese. I think the main challenge for us will be to find the right cheese here in Finland. The special cheese is called Reblochon and is named after the region it comes from. Therefore, Leonie said that they often cook it on ski holidays.
Unfortunately, we will not be able to meet personally with Leonie since she is still in France. This makes helping each other out a bit tricky, and we, therefore, decided to also translate the recipes into English to help with any language barriers.
I am really looking forward to trying this out and will start looking for the right cheese every time I enter a shop from now on.
Yesterday, we had another meeting to teach and learn French and German.
Before our professional meeting – like I would name our yesterday’s lesson – started we talked again about the cooking session we are planning to do next weekend. Tim and I already decided on two German recipes we want to give to Leonie, Leonie will give us a selection from which we can choose from on our next meeting at the middle of the upcoming week. There, we will then translate the recipes so that we know what we need to buy until Saturday.
After that we started our professional meeting. We planned to do some professional talk. So, basically speaking about skills, professions, education etc. – kind of our CV. It was not only really interesting to get known to the specific words in French, but also to see what the others of us already have done, learned and worked. Again, there came up some difficulties in translating words, as some of the words or processes are only in Germany. For example, it is unique in Europe, that you can do a so-called apprenticeship. An apprenticeship is a special type of education, where you work in a company. You also get paid for that, but additionally visit a vocational school to learn theoretical stuff and also how to use programs, tools etc. in your daily work life. After you have finished your apprenticeship, you can directly start working in this profession. Normally, it takes about three years to get this qualification. This type of education is especially for people, who don’t have Abitur (A Level degree) and therefore are not able to go to an university.
After talking about that, we also talked about the different graduation levels in Germany and France, and how you can achieve them. During this we found out, that there are a lot of similiarities in both countries – Leonie said, the system changed in France and she has the feeling like they just copied the German school system. Furthermore, in both countries, the degrees are at different difficulty levels depending on the region. For example, the final exams in France are most difficult in Paris and in Germany in Bavaria.
This week we decided to talk about some professional vocabulary. But first, we started our session by organizing our cooking experience for the upcoming week. We decided to have another short meeting beforehand where we would translate the recipes into English as well. This way, we have Leonie’s recipe in English and French.
After we had this part out of the way, we started by translating our CVs. When it was my turn to read out the French version of my CV, I realized that this was way over my current French level. I struggled a lot. But I also started to realize some things that I always get wrong and noted them down for me. Hopefully, this way I can stop making these mistakes.
While going through the CVs, we realized that school systems are often different in other countries, which makes it hard to describe your grade of education. Therefore, we decided to talk about the differences between the German and French school systems. While doing so, we realized that there are a lot of similarities between the German and French school systems. Leonie explained to us that they have changed it recently. She thinks that they have tried to copy the German system with these changes. Same as in Germany, there are also differences in the difficulty when you graduate from school based on your region. I personally think that this makes no sense and should be changed.