Say No To Gas


Class is coming along well. I can choke out a sentence to get what I need (though, the cable guy would certainly disagree with that). Today’s class was most helpful. We’re into our second week and are into groceries. Figures I got the meat section with my Italian nachbar (neighbor), Francesco, since I am vegetarian. Oh well, this helps Mr. Left when we go out to eat as I can at least now translate that part of the menu for him.

What got the class most excited was the part on bottled water. Some of you may have heard that Germany’s tap water isn’t good. It’s not that it’s bad (as in not treated). But there are a lot of minerals in it–the water is very hard. Drinking it gives us indigestion. So most people drink bottled water. When you go out to a restaurant, it is actually the most expensive thing on the menu. Beer is cheapest, then soda, then water. When you ask for it, the waiter will ask you if you want it with or without gas. Seemed simple enough….till you went to the store and tried to figure out which bottles were without gas. This was a classwide problem. You go to the store, try to figure out which was regular old bottled water, buy the six pack, and bada-bing, you get home and the bottles got gas. I even tried shaking the bottles at the store to see if they would fizz and nothing, to just get them home and voila–gas. We begged our teacher to help us (which she did, and we now all feel like we have conquered another part of life here). But we were all lamenting in our broken English (or sometimes Italian to Spanish to English and back again) how we buy the bottles and get home and go, “I can’t drink this!!”.

My class is full of people from other countries, and my other languages are coming back to the point that when I don’t understand something our German teacher is explaining (only German in class) I ask one of the Spanish speakers and they explain it to me in Spanish. How funny is this?

We found out today that our remaining household goods (i.e. the couch and everything else) have arrived and will come next Thursday to the flat. We are beside ourselves. Almost two months of living out of bags, and the last week on the hardwood floors (I have almost slipped in my socks several times).

And as if my brain isn’t overloading enough on the languages, we are going to Strasbourg this weekend (France). It was part of Germany at one time, but now is French. We are hoping to find a good deal on some Moet Chandon sans tariffs will be fine with us. Now I will finally have my chance to ask for the trashcan in French–Ou est la poubelle? Only the French can make a trashcan sound so pretty.



  1. The name ” Poubelle” was given after deputy Eugene Poubelle dictated in late 1800 to dispose/collect wastes in special containers.

  2. When I figured out the ‘ohne Gas’ water at the store I started cracking up. Kohlensaeure? If my German is good enough to pick that apart, doesn’t that mean Cabbage Sour-stuff? Kohl = Kohlen? Maybe not. But I still think of nasty cabbage juice whenever I avoid the bubbly water.

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