It is sausage to me

Hustysk Helens Adventskalender

helen-hustysk

Idiom: Das ist mir wurst.

Literal translation: That’s sausage to me.

The news of Detlef’s amazing lottery win is all over the lab. Elvira and Sabine wonder what he will do next. Buy a new car? A house? A trip to New York and Hawaii? 

When Elvira goes home that night, Sabine’s excitement has infected her as well. She starts dreaming about what she would do with 48 million euros and in her head, she is already calculating a smart investment plan. Elvira also wonders if Detlef has been playing the lottery regularily – he did not appear the kind of man who does. Entering their apartment, she meets Günther in the hall. “Guess what happened!” she exclaims, almost as excited as Sabine. “My boss Detlef won the lottery!” Günther gives her an uninterested look. “Actually, that’s sausage to me”.

Something is sausage to you when you do not care about it. Funny idiom because sausage is so delicious, it is hardly unimportant to any (non-vegetarian) German.

Something is sausage to you when you do not care about it. Funny idiom because sausage is so delicious, it is hardly unimportant to any (non-vegetarian) German.

 

The dog in the frying pan

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helen-hustysk

Idiom: Da wird ja der Hund in der Pfanne verrückt.

Literal translation: That makes the dog in the frying pan go crazy

In the beginning of December. Elvira disapproved when her colleague Sabine played the lottery. A waste of money, she thought. And just like Elvira predicted, Sabine did not win a penny, but instead put her 10 euros into the sand.

Last Saturday, there was another jackpot drawing. As Elvira comes into the lab on Monday, Sabine waits for her with exciting news. “Did you hear what happened?” she says and almost jumps up and down. Elvira shakes her head as Sabine points to Detlef’s office door and squeaks: “He won the lottery!”  Elvira’s eyes widen and she expresses her astonishment about the totally unsuspected news: “That makes the dog in the frying pan go crazy!”

 

 

My dear Mr Choral Society!

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helen-hustysk

Idiom: Mein lieber Herr Gesangsverein!

Literal translation: My dear Mr Choral Society!

Are you still keeping track of all our new friends? Luckily for you, they are all gathered for an after-work together today. Günther and Elvira, Sabine (who is not cross with Gudrun any longer) and Angelika, Rüdiger and Gudrun with her new boyfriend Alfonso. (Only Detlef is not invited and we all know why.) The friends are getting drinks at a Skybar with an excellent view. Angelika and Sabine have never met Alfonso before.

My dear Mister Choral Society is what you say instead of My Goodness, both for positive and negative statements.

My dear Mister Choral Society is what you say instead of My Goodness, both for positive and negative statements.

Alfonso, a historian, is from Spain but moved to Germany and has learned German. When he starts speaking about “Dokumentationsmedien in der Archäologie” in German,  Sabine’s eyes widen. “My dear Mr Choral Society!” she exclaims. “Your German is amazing!”

 

Stepping into the fat bowl

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helen-hustysk

Idiom: Sie ist ins Fettnäpfchen getreten

Literal translation: She stepped into the little fat bowl

It is Saturday and it is Lucia day! Günther’s colleague Gudrun has invited him and Elvira to see the Lucia concert. Elvira who is still annoyed with Günther, decided to decline the invitation. Güntherdoes not really know what that is all about but he trusts Gudrun’s good taste in music. Gudrun’s former boyfriend Mats from Dalarna introduced her to the tradition and even though she is happy now with Alfonso, she still enjoys seeing the lights and listening to the angelic voices. Just when they are about to sit down in the crowded church, Gudrun spots Sabine. The friends greet each other warmly and start to chit-chat. “How is it going with your promotion, weren’t you going to start a new job soon?” Gudrun asks Sabine unsuspectingly. Sabine’s face suddenly looks like she just ate a lemon. “We should sit down, the concert is about to start”, she answers brusque and turns around. Gudrun gives Elvira a baffled look. “I think you just stepped into the little fat bowl”.

Stepping into the fat bowl means you have done a fauxpas and/or brought up a subject the other does not want to talk about. So watch out for those fat bowls!

Make-up

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helen-hustysk

Idiom: Das kannst du dir abschminken.

Literal translation: You can clean that off your face.

After the short-tempered incident in the lab, Sabine and Detlef are not on good terms. Elvira’s friend returns to her job the next day and works her shift but when she comes home to her girlfriend Angelika, she is in low spirits.

When you clean something off your face (very literally de-makeuping it), you forget about the idea.

When you clean something off your face (very literally de-makeuping it), you forget about the idea.

Angelika who is baking Christmas cookies takes off her apron and hands Sabine a star cookie with chocolate chips. “What’s the matter?”, she inquires. Sabine sighs. “Detlef told me today that I can clean the new job off my face. I will be forever stuck in the same project!”

 

Not a buck left

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helen-hustysk

Idiom: keinen Bock mehr darauf haben

Literal translation: to not have any buck left for this

It has been another long day at the lab when Elvira finally comes home. She is passing the Christmas markets and smells the mulled wine, the Bratwurst and the gingerbread. But since Elvira is not one for spending money unneccessarily, she pulls herself together and walks past all the temptations. She will have dinner at home with Günther. They have still not decided on New Year’s Eve and Elvira is tired of the discussions. It is just an evening like any other anyway, she thinks. Tired and cold from the low temperatures outside, Elvira unlocks the front door and drags herself up the five flights of stairs. From the other apartments, she can also smell food. The neighbors below them are eating some kind of fish and next door they must be having cake even. As Elvira opens the door, she can barely get in because the trash bag that she put there in the morning to be taken out is still there, blocking the door. When she comes in, she sees the dishes piling up in the kitchen. There is no dinner to be seen. Instead, Günther is sitting in front of the TV, watching a rerun of Mitten im Leben. When Elvira catches sight of that scence, she loses it. “I do so not have any buck left for this behaviour any more!” she shouts as a greeting, meaning that she is very fed up with Günther.

 

The flagpole and its end

Hustysk Helens Adventskalender

helen-hustysk

Idiom: Hier ist das Ende der Fahnenstange.

Literal translation: This is the end of the flagpole.

Elvira is sitting in the lab with her colleague Sabine. They are working on an important project that is to be submitted before Christmas. Both have been working overtime a lot and come in even when they were not feeling too well. They are determined to deliver excellent results while Detlef, the boss leading the project, is not working too hard.

The end of the flagpole is the a limit of some kind, often also the limits of one's patience.

The end of the flagpole is the a limit of some kind, often also the limits of one’s patience.

At 10.30 p.m., Sabine is getting ready to go home after a long day when their boss steps into the lab. “I fear I will have to ask you to stay the night”, he says. Sabine and Elvira look at him in disbelief. “You have got to be kidding me”, Elvira says. Sabine shakes her head and grabs her bag. “We have been working more than 12 hours now every day for weeks on end. This is the end of the flagpole, Detlef! I’m going home!”

 

Male cat

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helen-hustysk

Idiom: Ich habe einen Kater

Literal translation: I have a male cat

You remember last Sunday night, don’t you? Elvira, Günther and Rüdiger partied with many glasses of wine and stayed up late. They even considered making blue the next day, but as dutiful Germans they did of course not put this outrageous idea into practice.

The next morning, Günther shows up to work. He works in an office with his colleague Gudrun, they are both employes by Helen Enterprises. Gudrun raises an eyebrow when Günther comes in late, with dark shadows under his eyes. He moans as he sits down on his chair. “My head hurts like crazy!” He explains to Gudrun. “We drank too much last night, I have such a male cat!”

Having a male cat means being hungover. Here you see a male cat chasing soap bubbles.

Having a male cat means being hungover. Here you see a male cat chasing soap bubbles.

Blue Mondays

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helen-hustysk

Idiom: Blau machen

Literal translation: to make blue

It’s Sunday and Elvira and Günther have invited their friend Rüdiger för dinner. Rüdiger is really fun to be with and makes every gathering a sucess. They eat a traditional North German Sunday dinner with green cabbage that is currently in season. The second light on the advent wreath Elvira’s sister made for them is lit and Günther pours one glass of wine after the other.

Illustration by Ingrid. She wants me to mention that these were done in passing and amateurishly. Fishing for compliments!

Illustration by Ingrid. She wants me to mention that these were done in passing and amateurishly. Fishing for compliments!

Soon, the friends are tipsy and reminisce on the times when they still studied. “Those were the days”, Rüdiger says with a melancholic smile. “Oh yes”, Elvira agrees. “Back then, we could drink all night and make blue on Monday!” What does she mean? To make blue means you are absent from work or school even though you are not sick. It is a habit Germans disapprove so make sure to just use it to say “I would never make blue on a Monday!”

Put in the sand

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helen-hustysk

Idiom: etwas in den Sand setzen

Literal translation: to put something into the sand

In Germany, the drawing of the lottery numbers on TV takes place each Wednesday and each Saturday. Many Germans play the lottery twice every week for years and decades. Elvira is frugal and sensible woman so she would never do that. Her colleague and friend Sabine, however, cannot resist when the kiosks put up posters saying “48 million euro in the jackpot on Saturday”.

sand

Not only can you put money in the sand, you can also put an exam or a relationship in the sand. It is not a good thing to do in any case.

 

She hurried to the shop across the street and bought her lottery tickets for ten euros. On Monday, Elvira asked how the Saturday drawing went. “Oh”, Sabine replies bummed, “I did not win a cent. I put ten euros into the sand!”