July 29, 2008
1. The house smells like manure. Some neighbours or other seem to be fertilizing their garden to within an inch of its life.
2. Yesterday I stalled the car in the middle of the street while a red sports car waited behind me. I couldn't get it to start again for a few embarrassing moments.
3. Today we got letters from the Swiss government, out of which I could only understand that we had to do SOMETHING by August 20th. Such an odd feeling, really having no idea what they were trying to tell me. I read the whole thing, word for word, and that's pretty much all I understood of the German legalese.
4. It turns out they want a criminal records check (Strafregisterauszug) on the two of us before they will continue processing our residence permit. David's company and the US Consulate in Zurich told us this would be likely, but the relocation company and all the ex-pat websites disagreed. Well now we know who was right. We actually had an appointment at the consulate but then cancelled it when the town hall did not ask for this piece of evidence upon our newly-arrived registration. Too bad. I have to make another one. Thankfully, all we have to bring is our passports and 33 Swiss Francs each. As far as I know (which is not very far).
5. I tried the 2nd of two bakeries in our village this morning and brought some goodies home for the kids for breakfast - there were only two problems with this. One is that I tried to begin the ordering process in German, but blanked out on anything to say after the opening greeting. I ended up stupidly pointing at a strawberry tartlet, having no recollection of how to say strawberry (Erdbeere). The lady said something I didn't understand, and I just raised my eyebrows, instead of explaining my limited German or something educated like that. It became clear she was naming the strawberry tart (I never did get what it was called), and then she said something else, and we ended up speaking English, which she understood. I could feel the lady behind me watching the interaction, and wished I had just started in English. Oh well. I'm going to be doing this a lot. Feeling foolish and ignorant. But I plan to take some German lessons soon to complement the computer learning I've been doing. There is hope for improvement, says logic, if not my heart. The second "problem" is that I keep looking for a French-style bakery, and haven't found one here yet. I don't know how to describe really what it is I am seeking, but the German culture is just very different from the French side of Switzerland. The pastries and baked goods are different, and not as many, or maybe that's just because I am living in a small village. But then again, the small village in Geneva where I lived had a fantastic bakery. I guess I am looking for that one. 3 hours is a bit far to go for breakfast. But maybe in a closer French-speaking part of CH...for a special treat...memories are powerful.
By the way, if you put the misspelling "eerdbeer" as a German word into the built-in Mac OS German-English translator, it says that in English that would be "more eerdbeer." Then if you try to translate that back into German, it renders it "mehr eerdbeer." This information will come in handy some day, I know it.
July 29, 2008 | Permalink
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