Hallo zusammen! After a couple of carefree weeks back home in not-so-sunny Scotland, I am now back in Germany. For some strange reason, ever since I got back I’ve been hearing the phrase sich Mühe geben a lot, so I decided to look it up. It turns out that it means “to make an effort”. At the school I work in, for example, a girl said, ‘ich habe mir so viele Mühe gegeben!’(“I made such an effort/I tried so hard!”) after receiving a disappointing grade.

We’re now two weeks into term, and I was invited to take part in a less-than-German tradition: Burns’ Night, in Bonn. A few friends from back home who are either here in Germany at the Universität (“University”) in Bonn or, like me, are here as Fremdsprachenassistenten (“foreign language assistants”), were also invited. Most of the group was made up of Germans and that’s how I came to learn the great phrase hau rein! (“Dig in!/Get stuck in!/Knock yourself out!”) The Germans told me that hau rein can be used both in the sense of “tuck in! (to your food)” and “get stuck in!”, which you could say to someone going on a night out, zum Beispiel (“for example”). As most of you might know, as well as the songs and poems said at a Burns’ Supper, the main component is the meal, which consists of haggis, which is simply ‘Haggis’, mit einem deutschen Akzent, natürlich, (“with a German accent, of course!”), neeps, or turnips, which is die Rübe in German and that staple of both German and British cuisine: Kartoffeln! (“potatoes”) After a few toasts, where ‘Prost’ is said instead of “cheers”, I also learned the importance of eye contact during a German toast…

Insgesamt (“all in all”), I have, as expected, become quickly re-acquainted with my new German lifestyle and look forward to letting you know more of my experiences next month!

Bis bald,

Daniel.

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