English Politeness and Manners Religion a blessing or a curse?
It's really true what people say about English politeness: it's everywhere. When squeezing past someone in a narrow aisle, people say 'sorry'. When getting off a bus, English passengers say 'thank you' rather than the driver. In Germany, people would never dream of doing these things - after all, squeezing past others ... continue reading
Working in England
I will always remember something my former religion teacher said: Religion is a human beings yearning to attach to something.
In that sense, most people are religious. I would even go as far as claiming that we all are. However, there are other definitions for the word religion. Usually, the term is connected with ... continue reading
What Do You Drink?
When I was a student in Germany, either I had always gone for low-qualified part-time jobs, or jobs based at my uni, focusing on teaching and research. When I was in England, I stumbled into admin work and gained some very interesting experiences that way.
After living in England for about two months,... continue reading
Food and eating out
A popular question among British people is "What do you drink?" roughly translatable as "What's your favourite alcoholic drink?" Answering that I rarely drank alcohol gained me several odd looks. I also overheard many conversations, and was part of some, where people told each other about how drunk they were at... continue reading
Love of the Written Word
Probably known to most of you out there, British food has a reputation of being less than excellent. Having been to Britain a few times as a tourist, but not having lived there yet, I always used to think that this was unfair. I thought the food you could buy in this country was perfectly acceptable. There were restaur... continue reading
Australia and its Native People
I am not sure whether I am allowed to sort of advertise here, but I absolutely love Waterstones, a big chain of bookstores in Britain and Ireland. They feature rows and rows of books of all genres, well-known as well as rather obscure authors, and special handwritten recommendations of books from the staff. Nat... continue reading
One Language, Many Shapes and Sizes
Red sand, almost unbearable heat, and scattered shrubs of grass along the ground. In the middle of this, a funny-looking toilet house. Two entrances, one saying Sheila’s and one saying Bloke’s. There are pictures beside those signs too. Both the man and the woman on them look cheeky and cheerful, wearing heats ... continue reading
Prissie from Brissie and the Nothingman from Nottingham
One thing will become obvious very quickly even to a very careless observer: There is only one language in Britain - English, and only English, reigns everywhere. All signs are written in this language, all announcements are written in it, and all those who do not speak it will end up rather lost.
Well, what e... continue reading
Bungee jumping: Taking the plunge
She was Prissie from Brissie. He was the Nothingman from Nottingham. Why the names? Straightforward where she is concerned. Her name is Priscilla, she is from an Australian city called Brisbane, and Australians generally have a tendency to shorten names.With him, things are a bit more complicated. He lived in Nottingha... continue reading
No meat for me!
December 20, 2004 was the day I finally put into practice a plan I had nurtured for several years: to do a bungee jump. Being in New Zealand, the adrenaline junkie's paradise, I felt that the setting was right. There was only one problem: I was chicken. I needed to make sure there was no way I could back out, so I told... continue reading
Tracing the steps of Heinrich Bll: my trip to Achill Island, Co. Mayo, March 2003
There are so many clichs about vegetarians. They are all militant preachers who want to stop the world from eating meat. They are hippies who only eat herbs and soya. Or maybe they are something completely different? I am going to tell you all about my life as a vegetarian. Decide for yourself in which category I belon... continue reading
I made a great friend on Achill Island. His name was Jacob, and even though he was not tall and handsome, he was dark - or at least wearing a black coat. We liked each other the instant we met, but alas, it was not to be. Anyway, before I start telling the tragic tale of how we met and how we had to p... continue reading
St. Patrick's Day in Ireland
It was almost time for the parade to start, and I was getting excited. I had been to Ireland three times before, but I had never managed to be there for the national holiday because during my first visits I had still been a school student, and March 17th is traditionally a school day in Germany.Now I was standing there... continue reading
My Ireland Holiday
The week after my Inis Mr trip, I caught a flu. One thing I did not
like too much about being in Ireland in March was the cold weather. I
had really expected it to be a bit warmer, but I was constantly in need
of wearing tights under my jeans. On some nights, however, I
did not do that (well, girls never listen to ... continue reading
Having an awful lot of craic: Learning English in Ireland
In the May 28th issue, you were able to read about the first week of my adventures in Ireland, until Saturday. This is how my holidays went The next day was Sunday and I had made an appointment with another German girl. We wanted to take a day trip to Inis Mr, which is the biggest of the three Aran Islands ne... continue reading
Is English easy to learn? A personal account of language acquisition
Now, what is the meaning of "craic"? It's pronounced "crack," but has nothing to do with drugs. Instead it is just an Irish expression for "fun" - and I did have a lot of it on the Emerald Isle. The host family I stayed with was really warm and welcoming. Both parents were quite young, around their early 30s. They also... continue reading
Student life in Germany
English is the most widely spoken language in the world. Its use is likely to even increase in the next few decades. Many people argue that this is a good thing, because English is relatively easy to learn and no matter where you come from, you will always be able to acquire it without great difficulty. Is the English ... continue reading
The Use and Abuse of Television
If nothing goes wrong, I will graduate from university in August of this year. Soon I will be looking back on almost 6 years of studies, 4 different addresses, so-and-so many jobs to finance my studies, and about a thousand times of wanting to give up.In the opinion of many, students in Germany lead a sweet ... continue reading
Racism in Germany
Without any doubt, watching TV is a good way of getting informed. Watching news gives a good insight into what really is happening in the world at least as long as you are watching a serious news channel and not some low-rate program that only intends to shock or amuse. To many, watching news on TV is also more c... continue reading
Feet running away
I am not racist, but very frequently you hear these words in Germany, and they are often used before a tirade against foreigners. Of course, racism is a worldwide phenomenon, but it is a fact that Germans have a reputation for being an extremely racist people. Many Germans are very offended by this and claim that it is... continue reading
Olivia, the female heroine, spends too much time in front of the mirror and is dupmed by her boyfriend. She tries to win him back with the help of another man, using unconventional methods, but in the end things go horribly wrong. Beautiful Olivia is standing in front of the mirror, applying make-up. Her delicate, slen... continue reading