• Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by nina_glyndwr

  1. Ah...if you think that German airports are bad, you've not come across Manchester airport. 


    When I arrive at D'dorf airport, I can see straightaway where I have to check in and what gate to go to afterwards. Even if I arrive two or three hours before the flight is due to take off, I know this information. I check in, go through airport security and go to the nice, quiet gate area (after checking out the shops).


    When I arrive at Manchester airport, I can't see where I have to check in. When I find the queue, I am often turned away because "It's too early." But they can't tell me when the right time would be. The last time I was there and asked, I was shouted at by an airport employee. No apology. Then after checking in, I go through airport security and end up in a large hall surrounded by shops on all sides (and a pub near the window), each one blaring out music (different music). There are rows of chairs in the centre, with children jumping on and off them. The small TV screens dangling from the ceiling are not close to the seats and if you are alone, you risk losing your seat while you check to see which gate number you have to go to. You find out your gate number about half an hour before the plane is due to take off. I often go to a corridor and sit down there, on the low window sill, just to get away from all the noise: the talking, all the different music, the shouting... It's hellish for me.


    The last time I was there, one English man said it was the worst airport in the world and a Dutch woman said it was very confusing. It makes me feel so tense that I can only stomach flying there to see my parents once every two years. This was supposed to be the year. At Easter. 


  2. Me? I'm a huge user of libraries. My advice would be to sign up at your local library. It may well cost you, but you only need to borrow one or two items and you've recouped your fee. 


    At libraries, you can borrow children's games and books, audio books (there are plenty in English in my German library), books (also in English - including children's books in English), but also language learning books with CDs and 'easy readers' (books in simpler language). Oh, and films on DVD and music CDs. Sing along with Reinhard Mey. 


    You can then immerse yourself in German from every angle. 


    Then there are free learning programmes online, e.g. Duolingo and Busuu. I prefer the former. It's not a substitute for a course with a teacher, but it's all extra practice and you hear the language, too. And repetition reinforces learning.


    Then I'd go for books that explain life in Germany. Loads of them about. I have read a shedload of them.


    And enjoy life in Germany. Don't see it as a place you've had to flee to because of UK unemployment. See it as a step forward. One former fellow student of mine who works in computing in the UK says he finds that Germans enjoy themselves more than people back in the UK. You can go into a packed Altstadt in Dusseldorf late on a weekend and everything is chilled out. The lack of Sunday shopping annoyed me for about 10 years when I moved here from London in 1999, but I appreciate the 'difference' in the atmosphere on a Sunday now. It's a day when you are forced to slow down a bit and do something different.


    And join a club. Germans like clubs. Over half of them are in one of them at least. 


  3. The trick to getting a decent hair cut in Germany not go to a German hairdresser.


    When I moved her from London, I went to a German hairdresser and gave her the same instructions as I had to the South African woman who had previously cut my hair in London. 


    She ignored me completely, saying she knew better. 


    Two weeks later, I looked like I had a haystack on my head again. 


    Before I found the Japanese hairdresser I currently had, i went to one place that had a Turkish hairdresser and an Iranian hairdresser in it. Then for a while, I did have a German hairdresser, but she was at Toni & Guy, a UK chain that constantly keeps the skills of their staff members up to date.


    Then I went to Hotel Nikko here in D'dorf and went to the place called 'Wing'. When the current Japanese hairdresser was poached by an Italian place over on Berliner Allee (Artigiani), I followed her. I now let her do whatever she wants with my hair. My only instruction is either "Make me look good" or "Make me look 10 years younger". She's lovely. 


  4. On 20/09/2020, 17:56:11, optimista said:

    Brilliant. Language is more than just words.


    Nice. I might use that in a course description for the VHS - when the course is running again. Whenever that may be.


    I prepare students for the Cambridge Proficiency exam in English. After the two years are over, they ask me what they can do now. I started a new course in spring about all the bits of English they are not normally taught in English classes - because, as you say, language is more than just words. So I want to expose them to the stuff they wouldn't normally encounter in English lessons at school or in evening classes. 


  5. The landlord cannot enter your flat without your permission.


    I would join a Mieterschutzverein. Mine costs about EUR 45 a year. I've not had cause to use them. If you have a problem with your landlord, however, they are like your tame rottweiler.


    I've been in Germany for half my life - back since 1999. In the last 20 years, I've had two flats and the landlords have been great. No problems with them. Any minor complaints are dealt with quickly and I can do what I like with my flat: I've wallpapered and painted walls, changed the showerhead and the tap on the washbasin in the bathroom, for example.


  6. Way back in.. the 80s (if I remember correctly)...women started saying that it was unfair that men were always called Mr, with no hint as to whether they were married or single. Only women's titles signalled their marital status.


    In the past, you used Miss or Fräulein to denote an unmarried woman. However, it was a general custom that beyond a certain age, even unmarried women were addressed as Mrs or Frau, because it was thought ridiculous to call a 50-year-old woman 'Miss'. I know that my Auntie Winnie was always addressed as Mrs Jones in bills and letters from authorities.


    Anyway, in those days, in both Germany and the English-speaking world, things changed. In Germany, all women were addresses as Frau, with no diminutive. And in the English-speaking world, they came up with Ms. 


  7. I can't remember what term we settled on (I've had a lot of translations since then), but we used an English-language term to explain what the office was all about and then the German word Bürgerbüro after that as that would be the word they'd have to look out for on signs in the building.


  8. If you want access to UK TV:


    I pay about 18 euros (or maybe pounds) a year for bronze membership.


    You can also pay EUR 40 a year for the Beebs app which will allow you to see the programmes stored on the BBC iPlayer as well as the ITV Hub and the archives of another TV channel or two in the UK.


    Both options are better than German TV. Even YouTube is better. I've been binge-watching Season 3 of Poirot and have amazingly found a few episodes I've not seen before.


  9. Yes, the  Bürgerbüro is found in the city hall and is the place to go when you need an I.D. card, you need to register yourself in the town (not necessary in the UK or US, I know), get a passport and other stuff. 


    As one website puts it:  The citizens' office (Bürgeramt) handles many aspects of German bureaucracy. This is where you register your address, exchange a foreign driving licence, apply for an International Driving Permit and more.


  10. Hello!

    I have to translate the word  Bürgerbüro and we need the American term for this.


    My colleague has suggested "Customer Service Center" - because this is what they call it in the UK. Cologne has changed the name of the Bürgerbüro to Kundenzentrum.


    What would an American know it as?




  11. I live in Dusseldorf. Population 630,000 - but very compact, on the Rhine, with lots of parks and outdoor swimming pools.


    I've been going out with a walking group for about 17 years. You'd be surprised how much woodland there is around Wuppertal and Solingen. There are places where you can stand and just gaze upon an ocean of trees. Sometimes, I think of Canada (not that I've ever been there). The same with the Solinger Klingenpfad - long stretches of it are through woodlands. 



    Oh, and another good thing about D'dorf is that the airport is just 12 km from the main station in the centre of town and you can get there by train or bus. (Coming from North Wales and having to drive for a good while to get to an airport - I see this as a luxury.)


  12. I find a lot of friends in libraries. Here in D'dorf, we have an International English Library and I sit in the back room with a coffee and the latest journals and newspapers and before long, someone else there will strike up a chat, or I will. 


    I'm also a bit of an introvert and I go and do lots of VHS courses because at least there you are surrounded by people and chat a bit. Sometimes, I might go for a coffee with someone afterwards. 


    I have a German mother and visited the German grandparents every year when growing up, but I find I don't have many German friends.* Only one. Lots of acquaintances that I can chat with - mostly in my walking group. Nice people. But not friends really. 


    Most of my friends were made here but now live back in their home countries and I don't see them any more - or very, very rarely. 


    I think if you can call one, two or three people 'friends', you are doing very well. Otherwise, you have drinking buddies, evening class companions, the person you meet up for an ice-cream and a chinwag, the person you meet up with at the cinema for NT Live broadcasts and so on. But a friend to hang out with and spill your heart out to... difficult. And rare.


    *Mind you, when I studied in Manchester, I had one English friend, and when I worked in London for 4 years, I had no English friends. I am doomed to only get on with complete foreigners it seems.


  13. I have also shipped stuff by post between countries: from Germany to Johannesburg, from Johannesburg to North Wales. And I used those nice yellow boxes you can get from the post office here. 


    Another option I used when I moved from Germany to Palma de Mallorca was using air freight. You have to get the boxes to the airport yourself and get someone to carry them from the airport, but I did it. 


    When I moved, I never moved with furniture, just boxes, clothes, linen (e.g. duvet covers), two kelim carpets and two standard lamps. When I moved to Mallorca, I remember that it all came to 240 kg. I have heavy dictionaries.


  14. I always missed Swimmer. I thought she and I could get on very well.


    And what someone said about the golden era of TT being around 2004 to 2007... I agree. They were fun times. Then - as with other message boards I've been on - there was a lot of squabbling and nastiness and downmarking and things were not as cosy as before, which is why I drifted away.


  15. How much do you need for retirement? 


    Don't you have to figure out how much you need per month to cover your needs, times that by 12 to get what you need per year and then times that by the number of years you think you will survive after the age you retire at?


    As for investment in the stock market, I've decided to do my own thing and have invested in ETFs (exchange-traded funds). Anyway, in just over a year, some of them have increased between 6% and 8% on the low side to 15% to 18% on the higher side. 


    And I am heeding what Warren Buffett says - don't fiddle about with investments. Invest wisely and then hold. He reckons the best length of a holding period is forever.