Tag Archives: Germany

French – German: Stereotypes

Yesterday we had another meeting with our German-French group. We talked extensively about stereotypes and the German and French culture.

At the beginning Leonie wanted to know how we imagine a typical French person, Tim said that the first thing he thinks of is a man with a striped shirt, a beret and a baguette under his arm. To our disappointment, Leonie pointed out that at most a few girls wear them and then only in Paris. She said in general that many French stereotypes only apply to Paris rather than the rest of the country. Another cliché that came to mind was that French people don’t like to speak English – according to Leonie, it’s primarily not because they don’t like it, but that they can’t or have a hard time with the pronunciation. For Tim, the typical public demonstrations in France were another distinctive behavior that he associates with France. From the other French girls I met in Tampere, I learned that the French love tarte – whether sweet or savory, there is almost always a tarte. Also, Leonie has pointed out to us that if we are ever in France must necessarily try frogs or snails, as these are also typical French specialties – I think here I will have to pass, however.

For Leonie, a typical German is dressed in lederhosen and drinking beer. I think this image of Germans still persists worldwide. However, lederhosen are only typical clothing in southern Germany and are mainly worn in Bavaria at traditional festivals like Oktoberfest. Of course, we also got to the classic cultural points like punctuality for Germany and disorganization for French. We ended up with the working conditions; Leonie told us that the unstructuredness of the French comes from the fact that they are always stressed because they work six days a week. In Germany, on the other hand, they only work five days a week. However, in both countries the standard working time is 40 hours per week. Most of the clichés surrounding France come from the capital, Paris, and the behavior of the citizens there. In Germany, on the other hand, life and mentality in Berlin is very different from the rest of the country, even though it is the capital and the seat of government.

In the end we had a long discussion about different types of bread with some difficulties in understanding, that was very funny and led to lots of different photos of baguettes in our WhatsApp chat – but now we know that a baguette like we have in Germany is actually not a real baguette compared to the typical French baguette.

French – German: Listening to Music

Unfortunately, we could not meet now for some time. Therefore, it was all the happier that it finally worked out again today and we have seen or heard us once again.

Since we have already discussed many general topics and I have seen in the blog posts of others that they have listened to music, we have also decided to do so.

We listened to some different songs from various styles from France and Germany and tried to translate them.

Among others, Leonie showed us the song La vie en rose by Édith Piaf, which is known mainly from French films or films set in France. The song is about seeing life through rose-colored glasses. She also showed us two cool (pop) rap songs, Je m’en tape by OBOY and Toutes les couleurs by Ninho. As with the German rap songs, we had to realize that the lyrics in rap songs often don’t make sense. However, we liked the sound of the French rap songs much better than the common German ones.

We showed her Roller by Apache 207 a well-known German rap song, but it really makes no sense at all. We could only explain that it was about scooters.

We also let her hear Pocahontas by AnnenMayKantenreit. A song about a failed relationship, but it doesn’t sound as sad as the lyrics make it sound. Leonie even knew this song.

Of course, a typical German “Schlager” song could not be missing! We have chosen Atemlos by Helene Fischer, which is played especially at the Oktoberfest up and down.

Leonie showed us then finally Sous les sunlights des Tropiques by Gilbert Montagné what is a French hit song about dancing in the sun.

It was really very interesting to hear the French songs. I could imagine to include one or  other song of OBOY in my Spotify playlist, because I really liked the style of his song.

German-Chinese Meeting #6 The Country and its Geography, Cities and Sights

In our sixth meeting we introduced each other to our country in a little more detail regarding its geography and its destinations one has to visit when being there.

I taught my Chinese peers about a.i. the biggest German cities that are Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Cologne and Frankfurt am Main. I especially adviced them to visit Frankfurt when they have the chance to since it is the city I know the most about and because it is the only German city with a proper Skyline (see picture). It is Germany’s and maybe even Europe’s finacial heart therefore being very rich and modern. The Chinese counterpart is Shanghai as I learned.

We really had to laugh when they showed the population of one Chinese province being ~60m poeple because I then told them that Germany’s entire population is 80m people. I guess they did not expect Germany to be as small as it actually is.

We also discovered some similarities: The extrema of the climate/ weather in both countries are rather similar. Temperatures vary between -15° and 40°. However, the difference is that the extrema last different amout of times whereas they only last a couple of days in Germany but they last a couple of weeks or even months in China. Another similarity is the distribution of wealth: Both countries have certain regions that are either destinctively richer or poorer than the country’s average. For China, the northern part is a lot richer than the rest of China and in Germany the eastern part (former GDR) is on average poorer than the rest of Germany.

Moreover, we were talking about a couple of sights worth visiting in each other’s country. For Germany, I adviced them to visit “Schloss Neuschwanstein”, Cologne’s cathedral or Berchtesgarden and they recommended the forbidden city, beijing or shanghai.

As always, a very interesting and informative session.

French – German: Skills, Education and Professional Talks

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.

French – German: A colourful mixture of phrases

After nearly two weeks we had our third meeting today. We were talking about going to a restaurants and also how to order there and saying what you like or dislike. Once again, we have become aware of some things that we have never noticed in everyday use of the German language, but which are very difficult to explain to a non-native speaker. I don’t know if German is really that much harder to learn than French in terms of grammar or if we just notice it more here. I have the feeling that we do a little bit easier with the French pronunciation at every meeting. However, it is always very difficult for us Germans to understand why something is pronounced the way it is, because there are some peculiarities when a letter is omitted or pronounced. With some words, e.g. poivre (=pepper), you pronounce the r, but not the e – that feels to me like I’m about to have a knot in my tongue. Also, we realized today that we’ve never talked about common phrases of politeness, like Please, Thank you, Congratulations, etc., so we made this up.
Until our next meeting, everyone is looking for a recipe about a typical dish from their home country, which we then want to translate at our next meeting and cook “together” the week after – I am already very excited about what delicious stuff we will make.

Cooking estonian food!

On Sunday we got together at my language partners place. I decided to cook something that has been my childhood favourite dish – buckwheat and cottage cheese. I also brought some Estonian chocolate with kama and found that Prisma sells an Estonian based kohuke  (curd snack). During cooking we exchanged some famous songs from each of our countries.

Hearing my language partner and his flatmates speak German to me was very exciting, since I haven’t practised it for ages. I was surprised at how much I understood, even though sometimes the meaning of the texts arrived to me a bit late. I was too scared to answer in German myself this time. I could tell that my accent would be horrible. However, I have decided to at least try and speak German on our next meet-up.

To my language partner I taught the Estonian names of the food we had (tatar, kohuke, kama). However mainly we talked about our culture differences and some common grounds. We even managed to slightly cover such topics as politics and religion. I got to ask questions about some things my German teacher in school had taught and to check their accuracy. Listening to our countries songs anyway, I got a chance to also introduce my country’s anthem and translate it. I also introduced a massive event – Estonia’s Song Festival, which has held a special place in the hearts of Estonians and also touched the hearts of some foreigners.

I definitely learnt to be more confident in my German skills and step out of my comfort zone. I also thoroughly enjoyed listening to the uniquenesses of Germans and their culture.

Kohuke

This picture depicts the Estonian curd snack called kohuke. 
(The picture is taken from flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/anuwintschalek/8553573899) 

Making some Tacos dorados.

As It has been stated before, We truly love food. So this time I brought the ingredients to make some “Tacos Dorados” at Maria’s place. I bought “Mazeca” a brand of corn flour used to make “Tortillas”, Lettuce, cheesee, chicken breasts, cream and Potatoes.

First I show Jacqueline, Maria and Nedas how to prepare the dough. Latter, we form medium size balls with the dough, just big enough to get a tortilla out of them. The process is simple, in Mexico we use a metallic press that squishes the doug, but here we had to improvise.

We use instead a plastic bag and common plate, with the bottom part of the plate we push the balls down until we got a round shape. Later, I show them how to cook  the tortillas on the pan.

While we cook the tortillas, We boil on the side, some potatoes and chicken, later on Nedas, Jacky and Maria help me peal and mash the potatoes and pull the chicken.

The next step was putting the mash potatoes and pulled chicken into the cooked tortillas, roll them and deep fried them in oil.

At the end when we got to serve the food we decorated the tacos with the cream, the cheese and the lettuce. (One mistake I made was forgetting the salsa.) But in the end, it is the best recreation of the dish we could have made by ourselves with the ingredients I found here in Finland.

I believe that they  enjoy the tacos a lot, they even got a little bit creative and started mixing the chicken with the mash potatoes. While we cook, I show them some of my favourite tunes in spanish. It was a nice evening, and I hope that in the future they try to recreate the recipe by themselves back in their countries.

 

 

We love food, sorry. “Bavarian evening at @TAMK

This time Jacqueline invited us to an event she was hosting with some other German girls at the Catering Studio. This time the girls didn’t prepared the dishes but another student from TAMK did. They had a menu on the wall and although I wanted to tried the “Schnitzel” I went with the salad “Kartoffelsalat” once more. We spend the evening talking about our plans for Christmas and when did we planned to go back to our countries.

Futhermore, we meet with some Maria and Jacqueline friends that we met on Oktoberfest and we learn how to play a German game called “Kniffel”. the point of the game was to collect the same numbers or a set of combination similar to the ones in Poker.

You could only roll the dice 3 times and you can keep the ones you thing are good enough to score a good combination.

  We also had the opportunity to see Jacky with her “Dirndl” on, this attire is mostly use in celebrations in Germany  or big gatherings like Oktoberfest.

Billiard at Mallashovi.

This evening was a bit out of the blue but, we manage to reunite at Mallashovi. One of the most famous bars among students and sport fans. We came up with a way of practicing the numbers and colours in Spanish and German. While we played we asked to the other team what was the colour or the number in German or Spanish. and so we had a fun evening and we learn and practice the vocabulary.

Spanish English German
azul blue blau
blanco white weiß
marrón brown braun
naranja orange orange
amarillo yellow gelb
rojo red rot
verde green grün
negro black schwarz

I already knew before hand the numbers from 1 to 10 but on this evening I practice some new numbers:

 

Spanish German
once 11 elf
doce 12 swölf
trece 13 dreizehn
catorce 14 vierzehn
quince 15 fünfzehn
diez  y seis 16 sechzehn
diez y siete 17 siebzehn
diez y ocho 18 achtzehn
diez y nueve 19 neunzehn
veinte 20 swanzig

 

German food and Next level UNO.

After a long week of vacations, we gathered at Jacqueline’s place to try some German dishes. I arrive with Nedas at the given time. Maria was already there helping Jacqueline. Jacqueline’s roommates were also there. The first thing we tried out was the “Apfelsaftschorle”, I was told by Jacqueline that this is really common amongst Germans, they even water down wine with mineral water!

We were presented with the first dish ““Kartoffelsuppe.” It is a potage with a salty taste. The ingredients on the soup were:

potatoes

carots

onions

bay leaves

nutmeg

vegetable broth.

 

 

I loved the dish even though it was a bit salty for my taste.

The second and third dish we tried out was “Maultaschen mit Kartoffelsalat” which was a basically a salad with the added potatoes, but my favourite dish was the “Maultaschen”  which was really similar to ravioli, but instead of the cheesy filling, they had a sort of ground meat filling. (If I can buy them somewhere around the airport in Munich on my way home I probably will.)

At this point of the meeting we were pretty full, but we power trough another dish and dessert. the last main dish we had was called “Kässpätzle”. This dish had pasta with a lot of cheese, some onions and it was cook on a pan. It was majestic, I truly love all of the dishes.

At the very end, we spend some time having fun. We played some UNO and we ate German chocolates. I learned that Ferrero is a German company that makes this chocolates called Duplo, they ressemble a similar brand that we have back in Mexico but with a different name.