Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Schlittschuhe laufen - or, more simply, Ice-Skating

Most of the times--really, almost ALL the time--I appreciate and congratulate Germany for their use of their own language to express themselves. I've given some examples in past posts, but I've come accross a few new ones:

- Pfankuchen: Pancakes. Exactly and perfectly translated... I do wonder which language "invented" Pfankuchen, but both languages have the same word--only, each one in their own language.

(How many times can I use the word language in a sentence before I make it awkward?)

- Weihnachtsbaum: Christmas tree, also a perfect translation.

- Weihnachtsmann: Christmas Man = Santa Claus. I'm not really clear on what the difference is between Santa Claus and St. Nicholas, or Nikolaus, or whatever--but this Weihnachtsmann wears a red suit and brings Christmas presents... so I believe in him!

However, I've discovered a word (is a "phrase" two or more words? In that case, I meant to say that I've discovered a phrase) that drives me insane: Schlittschuhe laufen (ist das richtig? Bernd, bitte!! Korrektur!). Pronounced "shlit-shoo-eh-lah-oo-fen", Schlittschuhe means skates--not really skates per se, rather shoes (Schuhe) with Schlitts, which should mean something like blades. So, shoes with blades. Then laufen means to walk, or to walk fast, or even sometimes to run. Therefore, and in conclusion, Schlittschuhe laufen means "to walk, or walk fast, or even sometimes to run, on shoes with blades". OMG. Can we not just say "Eislaufen"? (Eis means ice.) But nooooo. The Germans need to make everything more complicated. Maybe the Germans are just smarter people, and make everything on a higher level. I want to be German when I grow up. :-) I too want to belong to a country/culture/society where everything is made not precisely complicated, but on a higher level.

In any case, my story was more about the Schlittschuhe laufen experience. It was awesome! We went with Hendrik, his wife Nicole, their children Tom (5) and Thies (2), and their aunt Mareke (the children's aunt, not Hendrik and Nicole's aunt!). Of course Honey and I. That's tatsächlich or selbsverständlich.

You might be wondering what is that to which Tom is attached. That is a Pingüi (I wrote the umlaut over the u for my Spanish-speaking readers to read it as it should sound in German, not Pingi, like it would sounds in Spanish...): a penguin used by children (or the not-so-skilled-with-ice-skates-Adults) to keep balance and be able to skate "alone", that is, almost without adult supervision.

In any case, it is too cute, and so impossible not to have adult supervision. We were all over those kids! However, I later learned that "we" were all over those kids for different reasons. Mareke's and Honey's reasons:

Please note, in Gustav's picture, how Nicole is in the background helping Thiesie... she became the Pingui!

I am skilled with ice-skating, though not brave. That is, I can hold my balance pretty well, I can skate and pick up some speed, but when it comes to braking I will evaluate the best option between waiting for my speed to go away, or crashing against a wall...

I am the crazy lady in the background with her arms lifted up in the air... yes, yes, that little Michelin Man in the middle... that's me.

Honey, on the other hand, is not precisely skilled, so to speak, but he is incredibly brave! He will pick up speed (and lose his balance) and then jump (and lose his balance) and twirl (and lose his balance) and brake profi-style (yes, and lose his balance). I particularly like this sequence of pictures:


But as I said, very brave. He got up and kept trying every single time. That's one reason why I love him, because of his unbreakable spirit and his evergoing might and will to succeed.

At the end, we figured a "team sport" would be more fun...

Pengui - Thies - Nicole - Hendrik - Mareke - Tom - Natalya

We had an awesome time. We laughed a lot. We played like little kids, with little kids. It was super geil!

I can only hope that the next invitation from one of the Siedenburgs will be to Schlittenfahren! (Hint hint, Hauke!)

I don't know that I'll be online before Christmas... so...

Mami, estoy en Hamburgo, ¡NO TE PREOCUPES! No estoy segura cuando regreso... me puedes llamar al cel. :-)

And to all the rest who are not my mother, ¡Feliz Navidad! Merry Christmas! Fröhliche Weihnachten!

PS: A quick FYI on my New Years' Resolution... did not shower yesterday, ate half my Weihnachtskalende between yesterday and today, and have not even chosen the books to read. But I did go to the Gym, and I did send out a few Xmas emails, and I did write on my blog. Unas por otras...


  1. Hey, I never learned to brake on roller skates OR ice skates. I ONLY know how to stop by crashing into a wall. And I am completely comfortable with that,

  2. Gustav, ich bewundere deinen Willen, immer wieder aufzustehen. Ich bin ein Fan von dir. Und ich weiß auch, warum ich nicht mit zum Schlittschuh laufen wollte. Inzwischen lasse ich gerne andere hinfallen und tue es nicht mehr selbst.