Some things are definitely harder in German. Such as simple domestic tasks. I discovered this today. After my attempts to assist with working the coffee machine resulted in both Adrian and I (and all surrounding walls, floors and kitchen appliances for 15 feet) being pelted with generous servings of boiling coffee grounds, we headed for the washing machine and eventually worked out that there is a problem with its abpumpen. And possibly its spulstop, too. An e-mail to our absentee landlord in Haiti provided basic and ultimately unsuccessful instructions. We tried again and succeeded in flooding the bathroom. Now approximately one-eighth of our combined Berlin wardrobes lies soggy and entombed in soapy water that absolutely refuses to abpump.
Working out recipes — something I have never been splendid at in any language, despite my years at the Scottish Hotel School — is much harder in German, too, not helped by my confidence that I have guessed the meaning of the instructions correctly. This morning’s mandelmuffins, while admittedly looking like they had been stamped upon by an angry German, were actually almost edible! Unlike yesterday’s Schnelles Dunkels brot-in-a-box — not one of my most successful culinary manoeuvres.
The day was saved by an unexpected evening of Danish electro in the foreign language bookstore round the corner and by the amusing array of people we met there. We ended today in the Wein Salon where I met a punk called Otto who kept hugging me and telling me he loved me because I was from “fucking Schottland, the best fucking country in the world.”