Tag Archives: Expats

Practicing German with Siri

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Practicing German with Apple’s Virtual Assistant, Siri

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Apple‘s  iPhone it turns out is not only an esthetic jewel but also a helpful source for practicing some daily German!

My husband recently upgraded his iPhone to the latest version, and gave his old phone to our 10-year old, who has eagerly been waiting for calling an iPhone his own. He happily grabbed his prey, and for the next hour or so he seemed to have completely disappeared.

Looking all over the house for him we finally stopped short in front of his room. Behind closed doors we heard his voice and someone else’s. Surprised my husband and I drew closer wondering who had come to visit him. We certainly didn’t hear the doorbell ring.

Listening in to the conversation we heard him speak German!! The conversation went something like that:

“Hallo”  – “Siri grüsst Dich ebenfalls.”

“Wie heisst Du?”  – “Siri. Es ist mir ein Vergnügen.”

“Wie geht’s?” – “Mir geht es prächtig.”

“Bist Du ein Mädchen?”  – “Ich verstehe nicht.”

“Bist Du ein Mann oder eine Frau?” – “Ist das relevant?”

“Was machst Du?” – “Ich mache die Hausaufgaben für meinen Weiterbildungskurs.” (eine eifrige Siri!)

“Was ist Deine Liebelingsfarbe” –    “Meine Lieblingsfarbe…, naja, wie soll ich das in Deiner Sprache ausdrücken? Eine Art grün , aber mit mehr Dimensionen”

“Was ist dein Lieblingsessen?” – “Ich rede nicht so gerne über mich”.                ODER  Siri antwortet vorwurfsvoll: –  “So was solltest du Deinen Assistenten eigentlich nicht fragen.”

“Wem gehörst du?” – “Entschuldigung ..das habe ich nicht verstanden.”

“Magst Du orange?” –  “Das möchte ich lieber nicht sagen.”

“Hast du auch mal Bauchweh?”  – “Das kann ich nicht beantworten.”

“Erzähl mir einen Witz” – “Zwei iPhones stehen an der Bar… Den Rest habe ich vergessen.”  

Manchmal hat Siri aber auch einen Witz auf Lager, dann klingt das so: “Auf der Wiese: Schaf zum Rasenmäher: “Mäh!” Sagt der Rasenmäher: “Du hast mir gar nichts zu befehlen!”

After having been somewhat reluctant to hand our child another digital device I had to revise my opinion. Apart from practicing his speaking skills, he also listens to Siri’s pretty well pronounced German, and he can improve his writing as well since one can also read the answers in German on the display.

Of course, should you like to go beyond the basic German Q/A s, you might still want to consider taking a real  German language course…  🙂

Granny Aupair – A Different Take on the Traditional Au Pair Concept

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Invite a German Speaking Granny to Look After Your Children

As expats we often miss that our children won’t be able to grow up with their grandparents. Not only does it make us feel at ease to have someone experienced to help raise our children but it’s absolutely precious to have someone look after them, who will also pass on some German traditions and values we ourselves most likely grew up with. Not to forget the nice benefit of having our kids be exposed to speaking German whilst they grow up far away from Germany.

Following the principles of an au pair service the German company Granny Aupair in Hamburg has been filling that ‘Granny void’ since 2010!

Have a German “Leih-Oma” Stay With You!

If you can’t have your own Oma stay with you, have a ‘Leih-Oma’ share in your family’s life overseas. That way your kids don’t have to miss out completely on the enriching grandparent experience. There is so much to learn from an older generation and Granny Aupairs come ready to share their generational wisdom while nurturing your children.

Granny Aupairs are active, adventure loving women aged 50 and above from all over the world but mainly from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. They offer a wealth of life experience and most often have raised families of their own. Child care, cooking and keeping a household in check is nothing new to them. They are experts in it!

An Enriching Cultural Experience For The Entire Family

“Since 2010 more than a thousand ‘Grannies’ have travelled to over 50 countries” with Granny Aupair, which was founded by Michaela Hansen (55) in Hamburg. Over the course of their stay many Grannies have become friends with the children and parents alike and have knit close bonds. Susanne, a mother in the USA mentions: “We had such a great experience that we had several Grannies over the last few years, and two of them have come back for a second stay. The children are really happy when a Granny comes again. We also had a “Granny Reunion” in Frankfurt in July this year with our family, my mother, and four grannies. It was wonderful to see all of them together!“

Many women, who choose to become a Granny Aupair are looking for a new challenge after they have retired or their own children have ‘left the nest’. They still feel adventurous, enjoy traveling and are in search for something granny-brigitte-in-kalifornien-2
meaningful to pursue. Granny Aupair Brigitte Köfler from Bregenz, who cared for a family of six in Los Altos felt very enriched by her Granny experience and puts it this way: “I got to know so many wonderful people during my stay…The family I stayed with was absolutely fantastic and they made me feel like a true part of them. The fun with the children and to feel so warmly appreciated was very fulfilling.“

According to an article in the British Telegraph and a 2014 annual survey by Nannytax there is in fact a trend that many families prefer hiring older, more life experienced women to look after their offspring. Granny Aupair offers just that on an international level.

I Am Ready For My Granny Aupair. How Does It Work?

Families and single parents all over the globe can now easily find their Granny Aupair. To get more detailed information and browse the database of Grannies, who are ready to be part of your family, you just simply have to register free of charge at www.granny- aupair.com . Once you have found a Granny you feel fits your family, you need to become a member to start a conversation…and you are on your way to an enriching adventure!

Granny Aupair – Jetzt oder Nie!Logo GrannyAupairwww.granny-aupair.com

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Granny Aupair – (+49) (40) 87976140 – info@granny-aupair.com – Facebook

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Credits:  Images by ©IlonaGehrke ©GrannyAupair
(Sponsored Post)
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“Fettes Schwein” – A New Food Truck on the Streets of Los Angeles

Fettes Schwein Food Truck

An Alternative to the almighty Currywurst is roaming L.A. streets

German Angelenos be on the look out for yet another new food truck! This time it’s Stojan’s Fettes Schwein truck in bold blue and pink colors, which delights with some Austrian inspired delicacies.

Stojan and Manuela, who left Austria for sunny Los Angeles, are including a traditional Schnitzel on their menu. From Schnitzel Platter to Schnitzel Sandwich,  you for sure will get your Schnitzel fix here.  Their salad bar lets you create your own salad and offers a healthy alternative to ‘all things meat’.

Even though the famous Currywurst made its way also onto their menu, Fettes Schwein has apparently a variety of sausages to offer its clientele as well.

Let’s hope they’ll include some Austrian speciality sausages, that are standard at every ‘Würstelbude’ (sausage stand) in Austria. I’d say, “It’s time for the Käsekrainer! ”

You can check out some of their menu and find out where their truck will be for lunchtime by visiting Fette Schwein‘s Facebook Page.


Photo Credit: ©Fettes Schwein

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Weihnachtsbäckerei – Part 5: Butterplätzchen

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Butterplätzchen – Butter Cookies

A classic in German Christmas baking is the Butterplätzchen (butter cookie). It’s a favorite for baking with children. They love using cookie cutters in all kinds of shapes to make these most classic Christmas cookie of all and decorate them later. The difference between American and German Christmas butter cookies might not only be the recipe but also the size. Usually the German variation is thinner and much smaller in size than its US counterpart.

Ingredients for the dough:

  • 250 g – flour
  • 200g – butter
  • 100g – Baker’s sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp – rum
  • grated skin of one lemon

Ingredients for the decoration:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • for decorating: chocolate sprinkles, colored sugar sprinkles or pearls, smarties , coarse sugar, etc.

Prepare a shortcrust pastry ( Knetteig) by sifting the flour on a board, adding the sugar and the butter cut in little flakes on top. Make a little depression in the middle of the heap of the flour mixture and add the egg yolk, rum and grated lemon.

Blend the ingredients by first chopping them with a large knife, then kneading them to a smooth dough with your hands.

Form a big round ball out of the dough, wrap it in parchment paper and let it rest for about 30 min in the refrigerator.

Dust your work surface and a rolling pin with flour and roll out the dough to about 3mm weihnachtsbackereibutterkekspixabaythin. Cut out different forms with your cookie cutters. Place the various cookie shapes on a lined baking sheet, and bake them for about 356-392 Fahrenheit in the pre-heated oven for about 8-10 minutes. They should look golden brown.

Before you start decorating your cookies, place the cookies on a cooling rack. Then whisk the egg yolk used for decorating with the 1 tbsp milk and brush the cookies with a thin layer. Decorate them with chocolate sprinkles, colored sugar pearls or coarse sugar.

…and you are ready to enjoy one of the most traditional German Christmas Cookies!

Happy Forth Sunday of Advent!

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Let us know your favorite German Christmas Cookie Recipe and send it to CaliforniaGermans(at)gmail.com !

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com


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New Language Immersion School in Glendale to Open Fall 2017

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In fall 2017 a new language immersion school is planning to open its doors in the Los Angeles area. 

International Studies Language Academy (www.islaca.org), a new charter school in Glendale, will have an:

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (K-5) that will offer immersion (90/10 model) in French, German, Italian and Spanish. All grades K-5 will be open to all students, regardless of language skills – no prior knowledge of the target language is required.
The MIDDLE SCHOOL will have two tracks. A Continued Immersion track will be open to students already fluent in their target language (25/75 model). An Acquisition track will be open to students with no prior knowledge of the target language (25/75 model), giving them an opportunity to become fluent in their target language by high-school.

The program of the school is designed according to the International Baccalaureate framework and is furthermore supported by the school’s affiliation with the International Studies Charter School in Miami, which is ranked #1 among charter schools in Florida.

The State has already approved the new immersion school to have its location in Glendale. The actual school building will be in Southern Glendale and is still in the process of being negotiated. The school model, similar to Benjamin Franklin Magnet School in Glendale, will also offer 6-8 grades, so that the students can continue their immersion education in German (and other languages) throughout middle school. In 2018, the board is planning to file a petition for a Language Immersion High School as well.

If you are interested in the school and would like to find out more, please visit the future school’s website at www.islaca.org . Questions can also be sent to info@isla.ca.org . 

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Image Credit: ISLA