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Everything posted by nina_glyndwr

  1. Recently moved to Germany - any advice?

    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. 
  2. Justifying the price of hairdressers in Germany

    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. 
  3. The English Teacher's Corner

      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. 
  4. Mahnbescheid.   I've used that on various occasions and all of them coughed up when the official letter came. Apart from one who had skipped town and could not be found.   You can fill in a Mahnbescheid online.
  5. Renting an apartment from a company vs a private owner

    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. "Please call me by my first name"

    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. 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?   Thanks.
  8. Bürgerbüro in the US? What's it called?

    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.
  9. Is German TV awful?

    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.
  10. Online library for English books   I always like to read old books. I always say that the 19th century is the best century for books. Anyway, since Project Gutenberg is currently blocked in Germany, I've found another source in the UK. See the link above. I download them to my Kindle.   Oh, and as they are all out of copyright, they're free.    Even Amazon has free out-of-copyright books.