It's not so easy- learning a new language while living in a country where you require its use. I'm amazed at how many words I know after two months, but my vocabulary is nowhere near what I need to be able to read, for instance, the manual for the washing machine!
I had been here for about a week when I decided I should tackle the laundry. Aaron was at work and I thought, "How hard can it be to get this thing going?" It is a style that is new to me- front-loading with a separate compartment for soap. Actually, the soap drawer has three different compartments- labeled with symbols which are decoded (in German) in the manual. I knew I wouldn't get far with that so I poured the detergent in the spot that had a little soap bubble on it- perfect! Hit "Start" and an hour later I have clean clothes. I went on like this for five or six weeks feeling quite pleased with myself for figuring this out without reading the instructions first!
One day I walked in while the machine was on its final spin. "Hmm, looks a bit soapy," I thought but carried on without further thought. A few days later, after I had finished all the week's laundry I decided to try reading the manual since I had now acquired a small German vocabulary. With the help of my pocket translator and my German/English dictionary I deciphered the symbols. It turns out I had been adding the detergent where the liquid fabric softener is supposed to go! I was so embarassed that I didn't think I could tell anyone, but in the end I couldn't resist. Aaron got such a good laugh. He now knows why he starts to "suds up" when he's running! Ha!
But he has had his fair share of mishaps too. Since our freezer is too small to hold a frozen pizza, our grocery shopping day corresponds with "Pizza Night." It was Aaron's turn to choose and he had his mouth set for a sausage pizza. He picked it out, threw it in the cart and off we went. At home, while it was baking it smelled... different. When it came out, he said "I think something is wrong." "It smells like fish," I agreed. A photo of TUNA pizza on the packaging looks quite like sausage pizza! As we later learned, tuna is a common topping and sausage as we know it is virtually nonexistent in Germany. Once you got over the fact that it was fish, it wasn't so bad but Aaron could not be assuaged!