No sprechen sie Deutsch (I’m sorry I’m not more multicultural)

I survived Germany, and I’m not even going to make a bad Nazi joke. I should get an award for that.

But actually, I think I have a serious issue. Like some kind of disease. I don’t know why but… I literally attract bad traveling experiences and that is not even a misuse of the word “literally.”

I mean, I could tell you that I did not wake up at 4am to catch a bus that left at 4:32am so that I could catch my cheap flight into an abysmal German airport.

I could tell you that I did not run after that 4:32am bus screaming, “WAIT FOR ME!” and watching as it pulled away from the bus stop, during which time my backpack unzipped and spilled half its contents onto the sidewalk.

I could tell you that I did not brandish my hairbrush at some random dude who catcalled me as I was scooping my backpack’s guts off the ground.

I could tell you that I did not have to run at top speed back to my flat before the next bus came to grab my forgotten paperwork that border control didn’t even ask for when I entered Germany.

I could tell you that in the process of doing this, I did not encounter 4 half-naked young men walking back in their boxers from some sort of booty-call or dare or orgy, who then proceeded to apologize that I had to see them like this.

But I would never lie to you people. Besides that, I am a graceful and socially adept swan who does not use her hairbrush as a weapon. I am also much more tactful than giving an awkward salute to half-naked boys running around in 30° F weather.

Despite all of this, I made it to Frankfurt alive on February 15 and stayed with my cousin (who lives there for school) until February 18, who was wonderful and allowed me to sprawl out on her mattress like the homeless American I am currently.

I’d never been to Germany before (outside of one 10-hour layover in the Frankfurt airport while on the way to Italy my senior year), and I didn’t really know what to expect, so I was surprised to find that literally everyone I encountered spoke both German and English. It was a little depressing, actually, because it made me realize that I am so ridiculously uncultured compared to these people. I can barely say “hello” in German.

…and that’s just “hallo.”


I did, however, remember to look up certain German phrases before I left so I wouldn’t be completely lost, and so I knew how to say “I’m sorry,” “excuse me,” and “I love you.” Yeah, I don’t know why I looked up the last one either. I was just curious. Maybe that says something about me, thinking I could just walk around apologizing and being polite and saying, “ICH LIEBE DICH,” to everyone I met and that I’d be totally okay.

Maybe I’m secretly Canadian. Maybe I have a Canadian soul.

Anyway, once in Germany I immediately began to consume ridiculous amounts of strange foods and pastries, including but not limited to these:

  • “green sauce” (a sauce made of 7 different herbs)
  • strudel
  • streusel (which apparently is a thing that is different from strudel)
  • schnitzel (totally sang The Sound of Music for days afterwards)
  • schneeballen (shortcrust pastry formed in the shape of a ball the size of a softball)
  • schneken (basically a cinnamon roll)
  • wurst (Frankfurter!)

I didn’t even know what the heck I was eating most of the time, because everything was in German (huh, imagine that) so any time I ordered anything, it was a gamble. But everything was always delicious, so I had no trouble.

I also took a walking tour of Frankfurt with an American guide named Dave. Dave used to be in the army, which was red flag number one, and then when he asked me what I was studying and I said Creative Writing, he said, “Oh, so you’re taking this tour so that you’ll know how to give them someday.” Which was red flag number two. But alas, I’m slow like that. And so, I was subjected to a nearly 5-hour walk through the rain, during which time I was teased mercilessly for my English major status and my lack of math prowess.

But I liked Dave anyway. Dave was cool. He told me that he didn’t like London because the sun doesn’t come out and the people dress like idiots with fake tans. “Little orange smurfs,” he told me. I didn’t know what to say to that, so I just nodded.

The next day, I accidentally saw a couple doing the sex things in the underground train station. FOR THE RECORD, I was there first. And it was 7:30am, and they should have been at home. But they were clearly on something, because they just stumbled into the empty U-Bahn station and started going at it up against the wall even though I was RIGHT THERE. So I just sat there, terrified, adverting my eyes and wishing my train would hurry up before something worse happened.


After the sex (ha ha ha that sounds funny yes I am a child), I went to Heidelberg, an adorable town in the mountains made into a tourist attraction because of the ancient castle, or “schloss,” looming above it. Hiked up to the castle, and it was gorgeous, and then when I came back down into the town itself I realized that if I hadn’t been there on a Sunday when all of the stores were closed, I probably would have gone into all of them and probably bought ALL of the things. I definitely would want to go back there. It was quaint and beautiful and like a German version of Westwood/3rd St. Promenade except better.

Here are some photos:

Heidelberg, Germany!

Heidelberg, Germany!

The castle above Heidelberg

The castle above Heidelberg



View of the city from the castle!

View of the city from the castle!

So basically, Germany = success. First trip out of the UK since I’ve been in London, and I didn’t even get frisked by airport security. I call that a mission accomplished. You know, besides the whole missing the bus thing. And the not knowing what people were saying thing. And the sex thing.

But life is good. And weird. But that’s okay. I’ve contented myself with weird.

Samantha Chaffin

6 thoughts on “No sprechen sie Deutsch (I’m sorry I’m not more multicultural)

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