Monday, September 28, 2009


Saturday afternoon-evening was spent partying, a big highlight for me, as since moving to Germany our social life has dwindled away to almost nothing (it is gradually improving what with bookgroup once a month and expats once a month but still, we don't get out much!)

We were celebrating Sam's 40th birthday at his house with music, food and drinks & because the summer decided to hang around for the weekend we were all outside socialising!

Sam works for RWE, a German power company, so the majority of the guests were German, although it was a pretty cosmopolitan crowd - Brits, Ozzies, Russians, Croatians, Latvians and even an Indian guy.

The standard format for a kids birthday party in Germany is cake first, then the present opening ceremony (I kid you not) then games/activities and ending with birthday tea.
Rebecca & Sam proudly flouted this tradition, afterall it wasn't a kids party & although it might be in Germany they aren't German, I have yet to find out whether the German guests were surprised by the format but they seemed happy enough to be supplied with endless alcohol prior to food (which came before cake in the time honoured English tradtion - and we sang happy birthday, although the Germans know this song as they tend to sing it, in English at birthdays...bizarre, We didn't give Sam the bumps though, would have been one tradition too far methinks!)

Whilst sitting & eating we got into a discussion about how hard German is to learn, I gave vent to my favourite rant (ok, one of my favourite rants) about der/die/das & declensions...
All German nouns are either male, female or neuter (or plural of course) and depending on which 'sex' they are alters the ending that needs to go on the adjective before the noun, so the simple word 'red' in German can be rote/rotes/roter/rotem/roten...depending on what the noun is and what case it I said, it's one of my favourite rants as I struggle to remember what gender nouns are & as some Germans make mistakes too I struggle to take it seriously!
In speech you can get away with the mistakes (in my opinion) by slurring and speaking faster and just whacking an 'e' on the end, but written is a different matter, although with written it's almost easier as you can check it in a book!!
However, although it does strike me as annoying it can also cause amusing situations - we were sitting, eating and a 4 year old girl asks her father who the man opposite is - now 'man' is a masculine noun but the little girl used the feminine article - because although the guy had a beard he also had long hair...most amusing, especially as it followed my rant about der/die/das. The poor guy has probably spent today at work being addressed as 'die Marcel'!!
I also managed to educate a couple of Germans about the meaning of the phrase 'blow by blow' - although I think in both cases they latched onto 'blow' and thought another expression was coming up...and I learnt that 'um die Ecke zu bringen' means to take someone off and kill them...good party gossip eh?
We struggled home about 11, my voice was starting to give up on me by then - a combination of alcohol's dehydrating properties, talking too much and the cold from HELL! But to be honest by that time there were only a few of us left (the younger set had left earlier having another party to go to) sitting around a small fire drinking - as you do. But then we had started out at 3pm so 8 hours partying is pretty good going I reckon!

Mind you, I did pay for it on Sunday when my cold and my hangover joined forces...

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