Friday, September 28, 2018

Lost in Translation

Learning German has been a humbling experience. (understatement)

All three of us have struggled, but after living here for a year we can proudly say we speak Deutsch at the level of a toddler! đŸ˜€

Some German words look the same as English words, but don't quite mean the same thing.

For example, gross means big.

Um, dick means fat.

And Joe's personal favorite, probefahrt means test drive. (slight spelling variation)

Then every once in a while we come across a German word that is spot on, though unintentionally.

Case in point, the name of a bus stop on a route near our house:











When you step back and look at the bigger picture...










...you realize this bus stop is right in front of a dairy cow farm.

Not a "shock" that it smells 'rank' here...
Even the graffiti is spot on.










 

...because of these gals:
Mooooooo!

For clarification, 'rank' in German means vine or slender. Not sure why this bus stop is named Rank, though, because there are no vines in sight and those cows are not slender.

Today's poem has an aroma of its own.
transportation officials' ability
to name a destination
stinks
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Paprika: Spice of (Swiss) Life

We've discovered that Paprika is a popular spice here in Switzerland, not quite to the extent of Hungary, but the Swiss do like their red pepper*.

We've eaten more foods spiced with Paprika in the last year than in our entire life - when we usually only had it on potato salad or deviled eggs.

The Swiss put it on fish:
salmon













On chicken:
yum













And on chips. On a recent evening we had the Magee/Uhlik Chip Tasting Experiment to determine which Paprika potato chip was the best.

The opponents were:
Chio brand












Crusti Croc brand (isn't that a great name?!)












And Zweifel brand













We chomped and chewed, we crunched and munched - all in the name of science. (You're welcome.)

And the winner is...
                                     ...depends who you ask!

Maureen preferred Chio:
 I preferred Crusti Croc:
And Joe preferred Zweifel:
Now we have three good choices to get our fill of Paprika (oh, and salt) because as they say, variety is the SPICE of life. 
 
*Paprika is made by grinding the pods of the pepper plant capsicum annium. The most common pepper to make Paprika is the sweet red pepper.

I hope today's poem equates to a wonderful day for you:
Paprika + potato = a spicy relation-chip
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Word(s) On the Street

My apologies for not posting for a bit, but I was off in London! (Doesn't that sound jaunty?)

Today's post is dedicated to my two amazing tour guides:
Looking lovingly at each other over Mary Wollstonecraft  Godwin's grave - the exact place where Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein and Godwin's daughter) was wooed by Percy Shelley.















While in London I did a lot of reading...ON THE STREETS!

The Brits are good about giving you kindly directions where ever you are:

On the walking paths:








Getting on or off the tube:










At the edge of every street crossing:

Opposite of what we are used to...
Particularly helpful ALL the time.











And their other signage is so civilized and polite as well:
Instead of EXIT
Instead of YIELD
They even affirm you via the sidewalk:
"Be More You"













Today's poem is a 'sign' of my appreciation to London:

head bent
eyes down
along the streets
words are found

"stay to the left"
"mind the gap"
both are hard
when reading a map

word on the street is
London's the best
lots of directions
for every guest
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Red Scare (Unexpected Flair!)

We were walking down the street the other day when we saw a large group of people all wearing bright red ball caps:







Immediately we thought, what the what?!? Please tell me that there are NOT 4 divisive words that correspond to the acronym MAGA on those hats...in Switzerland.

As we got closer, we saw that the front of the caps were blank (thank goodness).

















The group started to dance. In mass.

A flash mob. On one of the main street corners in Zug.

What's so remarkable about a flash mob in Zug is the Swiss don't do demonstrative. Or conspicuous. Or showy. From what we've observed the Swiss are generally a quiet, orderly, conservative culture. But this red hatted group boogied and clapped and whooped to loud music. In public.

Today's poem is a flash mob of dance moves:
leap
dip
waltz
skip

cha-cha
shuffle
hip-hop
hustle

swing
sway
strut
sashay

wiggle
clomp
quickstep
stomp

laugh
prance
together
dance
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Happy Go Clucky

Here in Switzerland, we have happy chickens.

And happy eggs.

 A sign along the path behind our neighborhood tells us so:
"Eggs from happy chickens"



















One thing I love about Switzerland is the signs all over the area educating the populous, local and foreign, about what is happening on the land around you.

Here is a sign about the local chicken/egg production in front of a farmer's hen house:
"Laying Hens..."

The top part of the sign translates to:
"More than 10 million chickens are kept in Switzerland, of which around 2.5 million are responsible for egg production.  The average egg consumption per capita in Switzerland is 180 per year. This means that one laying hen produces eggs for two (persons) per year. Self-sufficiency in table eggs in Switzerland was 75 percent."

Despite all the educational signs, the eternal question remains: which came first, the happy chicken or the happy egg?
Happy hens smiling.

The eggs look happy, don't they?
I may be accused of fowl (word) play with this poem, but I stand by it (literally):
A chicken dance...
chickens little
chickens big
Swiss hens have
a lucky gig
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.
                       

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Vending Machine Madness

The Swiss like their vending machines. And you can get just about ANYthing in a vending machine. A few months ago I told you about the Käseautomat (cheese vending machine), but over time we've discovered so much more can come out of a coin operated box in Switzerland!

Farm fresh milk:

Does a body good.
24/7
Pointing the way.
Catch-all "Products" have...
...so much to choose from including...

...eggs...
...potatoes...

...syrup...
...tomatoes...
...huckleberries...

...and jam!








And in Zug, being the land of cherries, we have cherry vending machines (Kirschenautomat) :
Not the best picture, but there are cherries in there...








But the Swiss are not all about farm fresh vending machines, they have the junk food ones, too:

















With some products you don't normally see in a vending machine in the US:
Just in case...
Having access to all these vending machines comes in handy on Sundays when grocery stores and restaurants are closed. You really never have the excuse to not have milk in the house...

Today's poem is about the surprising availability of food in and around our home here in Zug:
stores are closed
growly tummy
in search of
something yummy

we walk the paths
around our 'hood
ready to eat
something good

we stumble upon
machines with food
instant improvement
to our mood

a machine with milk
and veggies and fruit
dinner for three
via rural route
©2018, Bridget Magee. All Rights Reserved.