Tag: Travellings

Travellings: Deutschland #23

I’m currently sitting in the airport lounge at Munich airport as I write this. You will be reading this long after I have touched back down in the Land of Tea and Crumpets.

Today, I had my last day in the Bavarian Beer Monster – last day of work, last day living in my lovely nest of a flat with the most wonderful flatmate I could possibly have wished for, the last day for a while with a few important individuals.

I’m very much aware that this will sound like an obituary. It’s not. I know it’s not. But it certainly feels that way at the moment.

I don’t like the whole saying goodbye. I’ve said this at the beginning of the year abroad when I moved out, but somehow this is different. I suppose part of me always knew that I would return to my parents and see them again. But non-family members are different. Some people move on, some find it too painful and simply distance themselves, and others you simply drift away from.

Which is sad. Yes, there were times when I seriously asked myself what the hell I was doing. I certainly doubted my sanity at several points throughout the entire year; not just the beginning, and there were times when I had regrets.

But I can also happily count a large number of firsts and amazingly good times, too. First time I was entirely responsible for myself; first time on a massive rollercoaster (thanks, Ben.), and first proper concert, among other things.

Not bad, really.

And now I’m coming back. Sadly my relationship with Munich has been a little rocky, and after several attempts to save it, we’ve decided to separate due to irreconcilable differences.

It’s been a blast, Munich, it really has. I’ve learnt a hell of a lot in a such a short time, and I’m certain that I will look back on my time here as an adventure.

And whilst I may not have allowed the people I left behind see my tears, it was certainly a different story once they’d gone.

On the other hand, there’s always Oktoberfest:

Morning after the night before
You know when you're little and you think your toys do the whole Toy Story thing? Turns out they've been growing up too...

Also, macht’s gut, München, und danke für den Fisch.

Travellings: Deutschland #20 – The Jabberwocky and Das Nonnenturnier

Apologies for the lack of posts as of late, but things got rather hectic and then came along Christmas and New Year, which were naturally spent in land of tea and crumpets. I then got back to the Bavarian Beer Monster on Monday night and then spent the next day sorting my things out before returning to work for 2 days – today in Bavaria is a Bank Holiday, so I get to finally update this blog before returning to knitting and writing more of the Book of Roo (previously named the Wuzel and the Butterfly).

Shortly before Christmas, I discovered a German translation of the Jabberwocky. Actually, there are several translations, but the one by Christian Enzensberger is my favourite. For those of you who are unacquainted with one of the most frightening monsters of my childhood, the two versions are as follows:

The Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogroves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood a while in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
He chortled in his joy.

Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogroves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

——–

Der Zipferlake von Christian Enzensberger

Verdaustig war’s und glaßen Wieben
rotterten gorkicht im Gemank.
Gar elump war der Pluckerwank,
und die gabben Schweisel frieben.

“Hab acht vorm Zipferlak, mein Kind!
Sein Maul ist beiß, sein Griff ist bohr.
Vorm Fliegelflagel sieh dich vor,
dem mampfen Schnatterrind.”

Er zückt sein scharfgebifftes Schwert,
den Feind zu futzen ohne Saum
und lehnt’ sich an den Dudelbaum
und stand da lang in sich gekehrt.

In sich gekeimt so stand er hier,
da kam verschnoff der Zipferlak
mit Flammenlefze angewackt
und gurgt’ in seiner Gier.

Mit Eins! und Zwei! und bis auf’s Bein!
Die biffe Klinge ritscheropf!
Trennt’ er vom Hals den toten Kopf,
und wichernd sprengt’ er heim.

“Vom Zipferlak hast du uns befreit?
Komm an mein Herz, aromer Sohn!
Oh, blumer Tag! Oh, schlusse From!”
So kröpfte er vor Freud’.

Verdaustig war’s und glaßen Wieben
rotterten gorkicht im Gemank.
Gar elump war der Pluckerwank,
und die gabben Schweisel frieben.

——–

I then found an entire website dedicated to the various translations of the Jabberwocky. So far, I have found the following Polish and French versions – there were several versions for the French, but Frank L. Warrin’sLe Jaseroque” I think is by far the best.

The website is unable to show all of the Polish accents, so I decided to put them in myself for those of you interested:

Dżabbersmok
Maciej Słomczyński

Było smaszno, a jaszmije smukwijne
Świdrokrę tnie na zegwniku wężały,
Peliczaple stały smutcholijne
I zbłąkinie rykoświstąkały.

“Ach, Dżabbersmoka strzeż się, strzeż!
Szponów jak kły i tnących szczęk!
Drżyj, gdy nadpełga Banderzwież
Lub Dżubdżub ptakojęk”

W dłoń ujął migbłystalny miecz,
Za swym pogromnym wrogiem mknie…
Stłumiwszy gniew, wśród Tumtum drzew
W zadumie ukrył się.

Gdy w czarsmutśleniu cichym stał,
Płomiennooki Dżabbersmok
Zagrzmudnił pośród srożnych skał,
Sapgulcząc poprzez mrok!

Raźdwa! Raźdwa! I ciach! I ciach!
Miecz migbłystalny świstotnie!
Leb uciął mu, wziął i co tchu
Galumfująco mknie.

“Cudobry mój, uścisńij mnie,
Gdy Dżabbersmoka ściął twój cios!
O wielny dniu! Kalej! Kalu!”
śmieselił się rad w głos.

Było smaszno, a jaszmije smukwijne
Świdrokrętnie na zegwniku wężały,
Peliczaple stały smutcholijne
I zbłąkinie rykoświstąkały.

If you’re a technical kind of person, I’m sure you’d find the parodies section highly amusing, particularly this version:

Browser Mocky, by “Abacus”

‘Twas busy, and the server tones,
Did beep and buzz all day,
All satisfied were the Netscape users,
And JAVA was okay.

Beware the Browser Mock, my client,
The contracts bind, the pages crash,
Beware Bill Gates, the software giant,
And all his monopoly trash.

They took their presentation boards in hand,
Long time they battled in court,
So struggled on the lawyer band,
Whining as their last resort.

Computer buyers stood aghast,
The Browser Mock, with exploiting ad,
Said that Netscape could not last,
And that made the clients mad!

Internet Exploiter! We hate you!
The browser market was taken back!
A cream pie flew; Bill Gates will sue,
But it made a triumphant whack!

And hast thou deleted the Browser Mock?
Come to my webpage Netscape friend,
And all the JAVA script will rock!
The joyful E-mail will even send!

‘Twas busy, and the server tones,
Did beep and buzz all day,
All satisfied were the Netscape users,
And JAVA was okay.

——–

Anyway, the reason for me mentioning the fact that I had found a German translation of perhaps my favourite poem is the conversation I then had with a friend of mine who told me not to confuse it with the Bavarian word “Zipfel”. “Zipfel” is the Bavarian slang equivalent to “knob” in English. So potentially to a Bavarian, one of the most fearful creatures of my childhood could theoretically be reduced to “knobhead”. He then went on to explain the etymology of the word “Zipfel” and its Mittelalt Deutsch roots. At which point I asked him how it was that he came to know the etymology of such a word – to me, it simply said that 1) he’s a bit weird, and 2) he simply has far too much time on his hands.

The explanation, however, was far more reassuring. He had to translate a medieval German text into Modern German whilst doing his degree. The text, I subsequently discovered, is one of the most bizarre, mind-boggling pieces of literature I think I have ever come across.

The text in question is “Das Nonnenturnier”, which translates roughly as “Nun tournament”. If you think the title’s weird, you wait until I tell you about the plot. I swear you cannot make this stuff up.

Maybe I ought to switch my area of interest from linguistics to literature?

So, the plot goes like this:

There once was a knight who was very popular with women because he was so well endowed. But because this was the only reason why he was popular, he became very depressed.

Now, at this point, I turned to my friend and pointed out that I know several gents who would be more than happy to be in that situation, and I am pretty sure that depressed is the last thing that they would become. But it now starts to get really strange.

In fact, he was so depressed about the whole thing and no longer wanted to be seen as a sexual object, OH THE IRONY. Us women are such users. he decided to lop the bloody thing off.

At which point I simply looked at my friend completely dumbfounded and uttered one word: WHY?

Now, although said appendage was no longer attached, women still wanted it and pursued the knight across the country.

Because, you know, as a woman, controlling my libido is quite frankly beyond me and it’s the only thing on my mind.

He then decided to hide it. In a nunnery. Up a nun’s skirt.

Now, I’m no expert, but I would assume that as a nun, hiding something of that nature up your skirt has several implications. Forget the hygiene issues of hiding amputated male genitalia underneath your skirt, think about the practical implications – mostly how you hide it up your skirt. Somehow I doubt you’d still qualify as a nun. Just putting that thought out there.

So now that the presumed “ex-nun” had decided to almost certainly break a few fundamental convent rules, the knight left his “Zipfel” under her skirt and went off to do heroic deeds and thereby become recognised for the heroic and exemplary individual that he obviously was.

Except the “Zipfel” didn’t like being under her skirt (funnily enough). So it told her and then ran off (Oh, did I forget to mention that this thing could talk and move independently?) – the resulting chaos being a battle-royale of sorts amongst the nuns when it came to light exactly what had been hidden.

At least, I think that’s a plotted synopsis. I stopped listening part-way through because I was laughing too much and my brain was in melt-down while it tried to comprehend the obviously drug-induced plot.

So, with that lovely mental image, I shall leave you all to enjoy your Friday evenings and hope you all have a relaxing weekend.

Preferably without nuns.

Oh, and for those of you who come across my site whilst searching for pictures of raccoons, here’s one for you crazies:

Sleepy raccoon
Sleepeh.

Travellings: Deutschland #19

Today has been one hell of a Monday. Apart from a few amusing news articles and yet another language howler which resulted in more hysterics and thereby proving that I should not be left to fend for myself in a foreign country, let alone be asked to work with people, I think I can safely say that today is not my day – albeit with an equine theme.

The first thing that made me spit out my water (because I left the sodding tea bags at home) was the discovery of this article on the BBC about ear guaging, or how to stretch an ear piercing until you can pretty much fit small animals through it. Which was fine and seemed perfectly normal until I came across this phrase nestled innocently amongst its neighbours:

“American rapper Travie McCoy and American singer Adam Lambert are also stretching devotees. British fashion expert Gok Wan is also partial to large wooden ear plug adornments but it is not known if these are being used to stretch his lobe.”

I would like to draw your attention to the second sentence and point out, that yes, this article is still live on their website. That’s a bit cheeky, Beeb. Cheekier than I would expect you to be.

I then (fortunately after lunch) came across following article on The Register, which discusses the use of certain equine bodily fluids as aphrodisiacs in New Zealand.

I dread to think what this is going to look like for anyone looking at my browser history. I swear to God I came across it entirely by accident.

I was later asked if I knew if it was possible to connect a Mac monitor to a Windows PC as an additional monitor. I then asked which connections it had, except I wasn’t sure of the word I was looking for and ended up mis-pronouncing the word for plug.

So instead of saying “Stecker”, I said “Stecher”.

“Stecher” means stallion, but of the human-kind – or, as dict.cc described it: “für einen Mann mit hoher sexueller Leistungsbereitschaft”. You’ve got to love German; I mean, in which other language do you know can two and three letters have such a profound influence over the meaning of a word/phrase?

If the example above doesn’t illustrate my point enough, then please carry on reading:

“Verhältnis mit jdm haben” (to be involved with someone) and “Verhältnis zu jdm haben” (to be related to someone).

Small letters, big difference.

German language: 4, Becca: 0.

Travellings: Deutschland #18

I don’t like Mondays.

To add to the general insult of being forcibly removed from my beloved bed when it was still dark this morning, I have also discovered that I’ve run out of tea. My main stash is at home.

Seriously. Words fail me.

Oh, and you know the year abroad has finally gotten to you when you start dreaming in German.

My head hurts :(

I think I’m off to stroke something furry.

Sushi, aka Misz. Cat-napping partner in crime extraordinaire.

Travellings: Deutschland #14 Shopping Lists and Enemas

Yesterday was the beginning of Oktoberfest, or Wiesn, if you speak Bavarian. I got home on Friday, absolutely shattered to find that Ben and co. had plans to get to the beer tents for 7 the next morning.

I had been looking forward to a lie-in all week.

As it turns out, I simply wasn’t up to it and ended up staying in bed to a slightly more human hour. I later met up with Alice, who has recently moved out and we ended up spending a stupid amount on clothes shopping.

(I would like to add that this was the first time in I don’t know how long that I actually felt vaguely feminine.)

This evening has resulted in another language howler. Except seeing as we were all so hideously over-tired, we ended up crying with laughter.

I was writing a shopping list, and wanted to say “bake”, as in “pasta bake”, which is “Auflauf” in German. Unfortunately there is also the word “Ablauf” in German, meaning “sequence” or “flow”. I ended up saying the latter word, at which point my flatmate corrected me and I proceeded to whinge about how unhelpful the German language is with all these silly prepositions that you can stick on the front of the word to change the meaning. I then proceeded to list out what I thought were random, fictional words; one of which was the word “Einlauf”.

Upon hearing this word, my Mitbewohnerin burst out laughing and asked if I knew what it meant and then wouldn’t (or couldn’t because she was laughing so hard) tell me what it was.

Thank goodness I typed it into an online dictionary and not Google.

Einlauf is the German for enema.

German language: 3, Becca: 0.

Travellings: Deutschland #13 ZOO

SO. We went to the zoo on Saturday and I spent the best part of the day (okay, the entire time) running around like the over-excited, hyperactive 5 year-old loon on E-numbers that I (not-so) secretly am.

If you had any illusion that I am in any way mature, intelligent or sophisticated, prepare to have said image shattered. Brutally.

If, however, you wish to retain said normal-if-slightly-eccentric image, then please look away now and skip this post.

First stop: PELICANS.

I cannot get over how “bah-humbug” these birds look. In a comical, if not slightly loveable kinda way:

Pelican
One is not amused.

Then we saw the bears, white mountain goats that looked really furry and cuddly (with the exception of the massive horns) and elk.

Then we wandered on a bit further and saw rhinos, sloths, and birds that looked suspiciously like fat white flamingos.

Then we met Dave:

Penguin
You have to watch the quiet ones. You never know quite what they're thinking...

Except Dave was being a tad boring. I didn’t go all that way to watch penguins playing musical statues. Though his mate Fred seemed to have more of an idea of things:

Penguin
*Refuelling in progress*

What we did go all that way for, was to watch this:

By which point I was being laughed at by the people I was with (who eventually got bored of my penguin soundtrack and buggered off) and I received strange looks from other people visiting – probably because I was more excited about the whole penguin thing than most of the children there.

There is also a second video of madness, and it would have continued, had Doriane not pointed out that the others were so bored that they’d moved on to a different section.

Honestly. How can you be bored with penguins?

The best bit? I was talking with a colleague today who told about something even better. In winter, if the weather reaches below -10 degrees Centigrade, the penguins are allowed out of their enclosure and you can go for a walk with them.

Edit: it would seem that I’ve been misinformed. The penguins used to go for walks, but have since moved in with each other and have decided by an overwhelming majority not to leave their enclosure anymore. Disappointed is an understatement.

This is even better than the time I discovered last Christmas (when we had all the snow in England) that Edinburgh Zoo has a PENUIN CAM.

After seeing the penguins, nothing was nearly as exciting, to be honest. We walked around and visited the elephants with their baby, and the giraffes, terrapins, zebra finches, ocelots, tigers…

And then I reached the kangaroo enclosure.

At which point I did the Skippy whistle and the kangaroo which was munching in front of me stopped, looked me in the eye and then started hopping over.

Best. Day. Ever.

However, my weekend gallavanting at the zoo and working 8-6 for the past 2 days has meant that I am now resembling this:

snoozing kitten
Arf.

So please bear with me whilst I recover from my excitement.
Daaaaanke :)