Friday, October 8, 2010

Moving day...well, sort of

Our sparsely "decorated" bedroom
I say "sort of" because today is moving day for everything in our apartment, except Thomas, me and the cats.

It takes about 5 to 7 weeks to ship a household to Germany. We were hoping the movers could come on Monday, but a scheduling problem actually bumped us up in their waiting list. Normally, earlier is better. But not when you haven't even started packing. So, we spent the last two nights (somewhat frantically) packing almost everything we own into 4.5 cubic foot boxes. We didn't get to bed last night until after 2 a.m. OK, so technically Thomas didn't get to bed until after  2 a.m. I passed out on a pile of blankets and half-folded clothes around midnight.

Packing the past couple of nights felt like a never-ending task. But to our surprise, when we documented our belongings for the moving company, we realized just how little we actually have. Granted, we sold several things over the weekend, but still, typing "0" after "0" into the company's standard list of furniture, appliances and household goods (some of which we questioned the usefulness of; who the heck needs a special vegetable bin?), conjured up mixed emotions for us. I was happy we didn't have that much stuff, having less meant we'd be easier to move. Thomas' response was a little different. "That's all we've accumulated these past five years," he asked incredulously.

Having less - or being more agile, as I like to say - does have its downside. Each piece of furniture or appliance we sold will likely cost four times as much to buy new in Germany (especially given the current strength of the euro against the dollar: currently about 1.40 to 1)...a costly fact we've resigned ourselves to.

So, the movers arrived this afternoon to wrap up and move out everything, leaving us in an empty apartment for the next five weeks.

I already miss having a bedroom dresser and hangers. What few clothes I didn't send away are crumpled up in laundry bins in the nearly-bare closet. Good thing I kept the iron...

Sunday, October 3, 2010


Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz. No, that’s not the result of my head banging on the keyboard after a frustrating German study session. Although, given the complexity of the language, that would be an entirely plausible explanation.

 Rindfleischetikettierungsüberwachungsaufgabenübertragungsgesetz literally means “beef labeling supervision duty assignment law.” (Thanks to Wikipedia for this letter-laden gem.) If there’s one thing Germans like more than rules and regulations, it might be compound nouns.

Compound nouns are formed by squishing several words together as one … the linguistic equivalent to a stretch limousine.

 After all, why waste time hitting the space bar key … or breathing during conversation?

This penchant for efficiency also guarantees German children a competitive edge in the Name the Longest Word game.