The start to my German learning was intense, with private lessons a couple of times a week for the first year I was unemployed in Austria. After I passed the A1 test and got a full time job, I also dropped my lessons, but I dutifully continued studying, almost daily, on a strict regime that I stubbornly adhered to (well, mostly).
My plan was to work through the necessary six books in my own time and reach B1/2 level. It was partly because I needed a goal to work toward, and partly because I’d heard that B1 was necessary at some point for my living in Austria arrangement.
Even though my German is always improving, I still find myself getting tangled up and mashing random things together. Then there are some things that I just keep saying wrong. No matter how many times I’m told, or how often I tell myself, they are practically ingrained. Here’s my top ten.
When I first moved to Austria my parents considered visiting, weighing up cost with long flight time and seeing their daughter. My dad thought it would be nice to make a trip each year and do some travelling along the way, my mum preferred to make the journey only every second year.
One of the great irritations of German, apart from having genders and weird pluralising and everything else that goes on… is formal speech. You could say it is a little similar to English… but only in a very subtle way. In English, it’s normal to refer to someone older than you as Mrs or Mr so-and-so… until there comes a time where they tell you it’s fine to call them by their first name. But come on, that’s simple!
I am not a big salt eater. I grew up on less salt partly due to the fact that high blood pressure is in our family, and salt is one thing that exacerbates this. I remember cooking with my mum as a kid, and whenever I read out the salt requirements for a recipe, she would wave it away and tell me it wasn’t necessary. Hence, my taste buds have been conditioned to not require as much salt as the average person. And I was fine with that.
Following last year’s successful but cosy trip to Grado for our work team event, us girls this year planned a weekend away to Rovinj, Croatia, in early May. Each year the company allocates a budget to each team for a social event, but since us three girls actually like each other, we again decided to throw some extra money in the kitty and make a weekend of it.
Like last year we weren’t alone. We took three of our marketing mascots in our growing family of team members – TMF Bear, Gartner Giraffe and a new addition – Bonnie Jovi – the beautiful white horse.
There is one difference between Austria and Australia I haven’t mentioned yet, and while it’s certainly becoming less and less noticeable… noticeable it still is. In Australia, after years of campaigning, hiking up cigarette prices and banning of smoking pretty much everywhere, it seems these days that barely anyone smokes. But in Austria, it is much more widespread – you can smoke almost everywhere and cigarettes are cheap (and if you want cheaper ones just cross the border to Slovenia).