Yesterday afternoon I chauffeured Jon to the airport and sent him off on his long anticipated work trip to Berlin. (With no small amount of envy, I might add.) On the way there, I started quizzing him on German phrases. How do you say hello? How do you ask someone if they speak English? He didn’t know much. I felt like a somewhat negligent German-speaking wife for not having better prepared him, but I take comfort knowing that most people he’ll run into will probably speak at least some English.
When I returned from the airport, I pulled together a few language resources for Jon. First, I scanned in the travel booklet I’d received with the itinerary for my most recent trip to Berlin with the symphony chorus, which had three pages of basic German travelers’ vocab — greetings, numbers, menu items — and emailed it to him. Then I spent a good hour wracking my brain for phrases and tips to email that might be of service to him. Things like what the ATM signs look like there, how to order a pretzel or beer or coffee, how to tell people who you are and where you’re from and what you do, and that if you want what Americans think of as pepperoni pizza, you need to order a Pizza Salami.
Along with his German-language primer, I sent Jon with specific instructions for a mission: namely, to bring me home lots of delicious gummis. During my year abroad in Freiburg my friends and I discovered a magical store called Bären-Treff, which deals exclusively in gummis of all sorts and shapes. I sent him a Google map for walking to the Berlin store (called Bärenland there) and U-bahn directions for taking transit, along with a list of my favorite gummis.
Of course, I like to try their new things as well. While I was on the store’s website, the Bayernmischung, or Bavaria mix, caught my eye. Check this out:I mean, how could you NOT get the Bavaria mix? From the back, we’ve got a cow, a pretzel, a lion, Neuschwanstein, a fetching dirndl (complete with boobs), a Maß of beer, enzian and edelweiss flowers, a traditional hat, and, of course, lederhosen. Unfortunately I think the green ones are a bizarre herbal flavor, but all the other colors are normal. I figure if I can’t be in Germany with Jon, I might as well have him bring me back a taste of it in delicious, portable gummi form!