Santa Arrived Early This Year, But… Did He Get The Countries Mixed Up?

Santa Claus seems to have decided to start delivering Christmas gifts early this year.

At least that’s how Santa Claus, Inc. and Youth Enrichment Services (YES!) must have felt when they received a truckload of about 2000 (!) Scrabble games and 1000 Dice Games from their largest national donor Mattel.

Not only was this an overwhelmingly large amount of Scrabble and Dice games but they turned out to be all in GERMAN! Did Santa get the countries mixed up?

Unsure about what exactly caused this unexpected gift to their non-profit, Santa Claus, Inc. in San Bernardino decided to let Christmas gifting start early for German Schools all around Los Angeles and beyond.

Tirelessly Santa Claus, Inc. has been contacting several German schools since then, hoping to donate some of the games and to make some young German language learners happy.

To their surprise playing Santa has not been all that easy!  Gifting German Scrabble games has turned into a much more challenging undertaking.

Only a few of  Southern California German schools followed the calling. The German American School Association (GASA) had the right idea and chartered a small van to pick up a truckload of games at the charity and so did German Pacific School of San Diego (GPSSD). However, about 1000 games still remain begging to get picked up.

To all German schools out thereScrabble is a perfect game to help your students improve and learn German the fun and engaging way. It helps practice vocabulary and encourages conversation on top of it.

So what are you waiting for? Contact Santa Claus Inc. and get your German Scrabble games today!

Contact: karen.dicarlo@santaclausinc.com


Introducing Santa Claus, Inc. and Youth Enrichment Services (YES!) 

Santa Claus, Inc. provides critical assistance to children in the Inland Empire by supporting and strengthening the family unit through its community based programs. Through its 65 year existence Santa Claus, Inc. has dedicated its mission to over 1,000,000 children in need throughout local communities. Santa Claus, Inc. operates with a core group of approximately 300 volunteers, a staff of two fulltime and two part time employees, and through the generosity of local and national businesses and community partners. In 2016 Santa Claus, Inc. served over 100,000 children, over 500% more than in 2012. Mattel is one of Santa Claus, Inc.’s largest national donors.


Image: Pixabay.com

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October 3rd, Germany celebrates “Tag der Deutschen Einheit” – The German National Day

Today Germany celebrates its National Day, the “Tag der deutschen Einheit” !

Today Germany commemorates the reunification of Germany. After WW II Germany got divided into East and West Germany. A fortified wall made sure that interaction between these two Germanys was limited and especially controlled .

Many Germans never believed that they would ever witness a unified Germany again, but November 9th, 1989 should catch them by surprise.

On this fateful day in history the East German government declared that all East Germans were free to go to the West and visit West Germany and West Berlin. Germany and the world went wild! Impactful, dramatic images of that day still captivate us today.

So why don’t we celebrate our German National Day on November 9th after all?

November 9th happens to be a day for a variety of  historical events in Germany, and not all were such that they should be honored or remembered positively on a day that shall celebrate the National day of Germany .

November 9th was the day on which the German republic was proclaimed in 1918, and it was also a November 9th when Hitler’s first coup in 1923 was defeated. This ominous date however also marks the anniversary of the Reichskristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass) in 1938, the day of the first large-scale Nazi-led pogroms against Jews.

November 9th therefore did not seem an appropriate date for the German National Day.

October 3rd was chosen instead since this was the day in 1990 when the formal reunification took place.

October 3rd replaced the date of June 17, which used to be the date for “The Day of German Unity” during the days of the BRD ( The Federal Republic of Germany).

Images: Pixabay.com

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FRED

Fred

( A Drabble* von Merrill Lyew Emanuel)
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He was like the new kid on the block in downtown San Francisco. He wore his white suit, that did not have a single white spot any longer, it was sweaty and smelly. His sophisticated manners revealed his noble origin. Yet, striders avoided getting too close to him.

He roamed the streets as the displaced scrambling for food in the waste containers would haste away as he approached them. No one would dare defy his claims, though he struggled to get used to the unreceptive environment.

His hunting ground glided off the North Pole. He was Fred, a Polar Bear.

©Merrill Lyew 2017
Image: Pixabay.com
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* WHAT IS a Drabble?  – drabble is a short work of fiction of around one hundred words.
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Merrill Lyew EmanuelAs a recent retiree, Merrill Lyew Emanuel now has time for his old and new hobbies. Within his hobbies are writing fan fiction in German, solving chess puzzles, repairing things at home that are not broken, doing a little bit of social media, reading every and anything that looks like a book, traveling a little, and taking snapshots with his mirrorless camera.

Having lived in Germany, Costa Rica and the USA, he is fluent in the languages of these countries. As a professional geographer he traveled profusely throughout Latin America. He is living in Southern California for over thirty years. Find more of his work at http://www.merrillius.net

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Oktoberfest in Germany Versus California

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OKTOBERFEST IN GERMANY VERSUS CALIFORNIA

For many Germans, the most wonderful time of the year is back – the German Oktoberfest.  For two weeks, from September 16th till October 3rd, people from all over the world will be visiting the most well-known German festival in Munich.  From 1810, when the Oktoberfest was founded until today, the festival has become one of the most popular ones around the world.

Visitors in traditional Trachten (women in Dirndls and men in Lederhosen) can enjoy the atmosphere in various big and small beer tents that serve the notorious Mass, a one liter beer.  I have been to the original Oktoberfest once when I was 18. One of my best friends from High School and I decided to do a road trip to Stuttgart, where my friend had relatives.

Those relatives happened to have plans to visit the Oktoberfest that year, and so they invited us along.  Before that day, I only had caught glimpses and impressions of the festival from magazines and documentaries on TV.  Since I knew that a lot of German celebrities attended the event each year, I was intrigued to check out the hype myself.

My friend’s relatives luckily had a table reserved in the VIP area of one of the beer tents.  Unlike the majority of guests, we weren’t dressed up at all. I can still remember the anticipation I felt walking up to the beer tent, feeling somewhat special due to the fact we wouldn’t have to wait in line like the poor souls who weren’t blessed with a table reservation like us.

But once we entered the sacred inside, I felt a slight breeze of disappointment coming my way.  It was crowded.  It was stuffy.  It was loud.  Don’t get me wrong- of course I knew that there would be a ton of people, which would automatically result in a lot of noise.

But for me, it was just too over the top.  I didn’t catch a glimpse of any hot and poppin’ celebrities because there were none there (I guess our tent wasn’t really a hotspot for the stars) nor did I get into the German folklore music that was blasting out of the speakers.

Once we were seated at our table, I felt a little bit more comfortable since it was way back in the corner of the tent, and we weren’t surrounded by the immense crowds of people. The moment my mood improved for the better was when we decided to get food.

I have always been a foodie, so it was a no brainer for me to give the traditional Munich cuisine a try. I went with one of the typical Bavarian dishes: white sausage with sweet mustard and pretzel.  Once the food was served I started to enjoy the atmosphere a little.

The food was delicious, and I was fascinated by how the Oktoberfest servers managed to carry about ten Mass at the same time while squeezing through the tight crowds.   I personally declined to drink one of the famous one liter beers, but I was impressed by how others were able to chug them down. After a while, my friend and I had soaked in enough of the beer tent experience and decided to partake in the hustle and bustle outside.

Besides the many beer tents, the Oktoberfest also hosted a fair with carnival rides, games, and food booths.  While I am usually a big advocate for these things, I wasn’t feeling it at all that day.  It was just too crowded, and the fact that the side lawns were occupied by drunkards who were passed out on the grass just killed the vibe for us.  We eventually decided to take off and declared the Oktoberfest as a personal no-go.

I never returned to the original event in Germany, but I decided to give an American Oktoberfest in Orange County a chance. This time, I only went with Americans.  And what can I say; I ended up having a blast.  The event started out slow in the beginning, but we had arrived fairly early to avoid the entrance fee, and not many people had showed up yet.

But as the night progressed, the event got busier (not as crazy as the uber-crowded tents in Munich) and my friends and I enjoyed participating in activities such as the chicken dance and the polonaise.  I first was hesitant about joining in the dancing fun until one fellow German guy came up to me and asked me to dance.  It turned out that he was living and working in Irvine, and we had an instant connection.

The rest of the night felt like it was progressing in fast forward.  As they say, time does fly by when you are having fun.  The band that played German folklore kept an upbeat rhythm all night, and games such as beer chug kept the crowd entertained.  My newfound German friend and I enjoyed dancing and talking together, and we later on exchanged information to set up a date aside from the Oktoberfest.

I did return another year, that time with a couple German friends in tow.  They were all a little hesitant of what to think about the Americanized version, but we still had a good time together. As of now, that was the last time I attended any kind of Oktoberfest.  But I hope all of you who are going to the original one in Munich or here in the U.S. are going to have a wonderful time and get to experience this well-known part of German culture if you wish so.

A little fun fact: The term O’ Zapft is translated means “it’s tapped.  According to the Oxford Dictionary, “At noon on the first day of Oktoberfest, the Mayor of Munich traditionally taps the first keg of beer, exclaiming the above phrase, which marks the official opening of the festival,” (http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com)

Images: pixabay.com
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Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.

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German Cities with Different Names in English

by Kate Müser

A native German speaker might struggle with the pronunciation of Connecticut, Tucson or my birth city, La Jolla. And I often hear them say Chicago with Tsch- rather than Sch-.

And, thanks to all the Germans who helped build the US, we have borrowed a whole number of Germany-inspired city names, like Germantown, Tennessee, or Carlsbad, California.

But the German language doesn’t contain alternative deutsche terms for US cities. Sän Diego? Nüjork? You won’t see those written anywhere.

English, on the other hand, has its own collection of anglicized references to many – though not all – German cities. Usually the English versions conveniently avoid the most difficult letters in the German language: Ä, Ö and Ü.

Here is a closer look at some of the German cities that have gotten revamped names, or pronunciations, in English.

By the way, this video was suggested by my YouTube viewers. If you would like to see a video on a particular topic, leave a comment below the video and let me know!

©KateMüser

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Kate Müser, who grew up in Pleasanton, California, was surprised to discover that she feels even closer to her home state now than she did when she first moved to Bonn, Germany, over 13 years ago.

She is the creator of the successful YouTube series #thoseGermans and the portrait series #germany24. Visit Kate’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/katemuser and her website, justkate.de.

For over a decade, Kate has been a TV, radio and online journalist at Deutsche Welle, where she currently hosts the video series Meet the Germans with Kate and the TV show PopXport.

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