A couple of weeks ago I was struck by a bout of homesickness, which may have given the wrong impression about living conditions here in Hamburg. While I do appreciate the outpouring of support, it would be unfair of me to leave it at that. Hamburg is not a grim place. You don’t need to worry about my physical, mental, or emotional health (yet). And there’s fun to be had around many a corner. Here are some of my simple pleasures.
First off, as I’ve mentioned in my homesickness post, I like the temperature here because I prefer the cold. Most days, it’s like I have free air conditioning at home. Back in the Philippines, if I wanted to stay cool for most of the day, I had to go to work. Literally, I had to go to the office because that’s where the A/C doesn’t cost me money. Maybe sanity, but not money.
The second thing is the language. Yes, it can sometimes be hard to understand the natives, but the language barrier goes both ways. It is quite liberating to be in a place where my wife and I could gossip out in the open. We like talking about the people we see on the street. In the Philippines, we’d have to do that in hushed voices. Here, I’ve had the pleasure of openly telling my wife “kamukha nung katabi natin yung red lady sa Game of Thrones. Valar Morghulis”. I’m pretty sure they won’t understand that. They’d just know we were talking about Game of Thrones.
There was another time when it was raining quite heavily, and my wife and I were huddled under my umbrella while walking to the canteen. I pointed to a guy right in front of us, and within earshot I told my wife “tingnan mo yung lalaki sa harap. Naka hoodie nga pero di naman tinataas yung hood habang ang lakas ng ulan. Ano yan, emo? I’ll do my crying in the rain?”.
My favorite was when we were riding the train and sat face to face with a woman whom I thought had questionable fashion sense. “Ano ba yang suot nuong babae? Butas na nilagyan ng maong, hindi maong na nilagyan ng butas.”
[SIDE RANT] What is it with ripped clothing? People buy brand new jeans with holes in them. It’s not just jeans. I’ve seen women wearing leggings with knee holes. In fact, maybe a full two-thirds of women you meet on the street are wearing pants with knee holes. They do understand that under normal circumstances, these holes develop due to wear and tear, right? Does this mean they want to make it look like women spend a lot of time on their knees? That’s not really good for the feminist agenda. #fightforequality #69forfairness
If you’re waiting for me to translate these sentences to English, I won’t. I like being able to talk about other people to their face, but at the same time behind their backs. You can try your luck with Google Translate (link not included), but it doesn’t quite capture the meaning – I checked.
This is also one of the primary motivations my wife and I have for learning Deutsch. When we go back to the Philippines, I’m looking forward to being able to say “Diese Frau riecht wirklich schlecht” or “Die Liebhaber kämpfen über den Salat” or “Ist dieser Mann vielleicht schwul? Er sieht schwul aus.” or “Deine Cousine ist so nervig, dass ich ihres Gesicht schlagen möchte.”
Right. Back on topic.
One thing Filipinos enjoy is putting that awkward “h” in words or names that shouldn’t have an “h”. In terms of creative spelling, we’re still climbing the evolutionary ladder, far behind African-Americans at the top. While they have their Beyoncé’s, Laquisha’s, and Le-a’s (Ledasha cause the dash don’t be silent), we’ve taken our baby-steps with Jhun’s, or Jhen’s, then tried to up the ante with Jhun-Jhun’s, and Jhen-Jhen’s, which we then brought into the computer age through Jhun2’s and Jhen2’s. They have created majestic words and phrases like “fo shizzle” and “crunk”, and “phat“. We Filipinos are still mastering that “h” technique with words like “poh”, “opoh”, and “sohpas” (I just made that last one up).
It is this fascination with the misplaced “h” that puts a smile on my face when I see these around town.
Fahrts! Fahrts Everywhere! Apparently in Germany, fahrts are black and comes with two dots. And thanks to YouTube, you don’t even have to imagine it.
In Bavaria, fahrts are round, as this picture shows.
Ever heard the phrase “better out the front door than out the back?” Why not have both? This picture reminds me of something my family usually asks in times of gastrointestinal distress – “bumubukol ba ang utot?” Look at dem fahrt bubbles!
This next picture is funny to me for some reason I don’t quite understand. I also feel like the name Noel is better suited to this surname than Rudolf #insidejoke.
My wife tells me that clubs are quite common here. Not the night club kind of club, but the special interest group kind of club. There’s apparently a choir and a band club at her campus, and they meet regularly. There’s a rowing club, probably a sailing club, and most likely many more that we don’t know of. She suggested maybe joining one of these clubs to meet more people, but I wasn’t quite sold. Not until I found this – the volunteer firefighters club.
I guess their “hoses” come in various shapes and sizes. If I were to guess, the left dude is Caucasian, middle one is Asian, and last one is African. Hot dang look at that monster hose.
Here’s where I assume the
gigolo firefighter training happens. I wonder how many people slide down their pole every day?
All this writing has given me a hankering for snacks, and one of my favorite things to eat is ice cream. Thankfully, there’s a kind of ice cream here that’s so good, you’d want to ask it about its day. “Whuddup my…”
You know what they say, once you go choc Nogger, you never go bhoc Nogger.
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