It’s finally time for Christmas sweaters, jumpers, whatever.

Friday, November 25, 2011


I, an American, refer to the garment on my upper half – seen above – as a sweater.

My English friends, however, call it a jumper.

I have many confusing conversations with these friends.  The baffling part is not so much the misunderstandings in and of themselves but the fact that we are both speaking the same language and yet cannot seem to get our points across to one another. 

I recently had a conversation with an English friend who lives in Dresden, for example.  When she found out that I used to live in Nuremberg, she asked me, “How did you find Nuremberg?”.  I responded by saying, “Um…it wasn’t that hard to find…it’s a pretty big city”.  Puzzled, she looked at me and inquired, “But how did you find it?”.  I said something like, “I just….used a map”. 

Only later did I realize that she wanted to know what I thought about the city.  She wanted my opinion; not driving directions.

Welcome to the life of an American abroad; pretty much everyone thinks we are idiots (like when I write the word “color” on the chalkboard and my students tell me it’s missing a ‘u’), but that’s alright because it’s Christmastime and I’m about to have Christmas music sing-along, which, as we all know, makes even the worst trials and tribulations seem like snowballs and candy canes.  Now let’s all take a moment to ponder that sentence with deep appreciation.


P.S. I have 3 sponsorship spots available for December. 

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Thanks, bye!

RetreatingAndAdvancing said...

Oh your jumper (sorry, I call it jumper too) is so cute! That makes me wanna hug and cuddle you immediately :) I'm missing winter/christmas since march and listen to christmas music since october. Yeeeah, only one month left!

I haven't known that it's possible to say "how do you find that", I always thought it's "german english" (Wie findest du das?) Your language barrier let me think of "love actually", although it's not exactly the same:

- Stacey (American): [points to beer bottle] What do you call that?
- Colin (Englishman): Uh, bottle.
- Stacey, Jeannie, Carol-Anne (all American): [giggling, mimicking accent] BOHT-el!
- Jeannie: [points to straw] What about this?
- Colin: Uh, straw.
- Stacey, Jeannie, Carol-Anne: [mimicking accent] STROHW!
- Carol-Anne: [points to table] What about this?
- Colin: Uh, table.
- Stacey, Jeannie, Carol-Anne: [starting to repeat] TAB-oh, the same. It's the same.

I have to watch that movie for the thirteenth time! :D

Kim said...

Ugh, my British colleague once had a week long argument with some of the other guys at work on the correct use of "trunk" and "boot", and all the possible variations ("the trunk goes in the boot of the car" versus "no, the boots go into the trunk"). By the end of the week I was ready to strangle them all.

The "find" one I hadn't heard of before, I won't mention this at work I think :)

Jenni Austria Germany said...

@ R&A, i would have thought it was a poor german -> english translation, too!

L!$@ said...

I love Christmas time!! :D

Anonymous said...

I love this season!<3

sarah said...

I wish we could go back in time to that party! Remember why you had uneven hair?!

Alyx said...

So I was talking in German to my Betreuungslehrer today, and he was like, "Do you think you've lost your American accent?" I just sort of stared at him, because I didn't know if he meant my accent while speaking German, or my accent while speaking English. Either way, I would think that he would be able to tell better than I could...
And my students made fun of me yesterday for saying that my pants were dirty because I spilled my drink on them. Apparently in British English, pants are underwear....

Anonymous said...

i figured you put jumper for megan's sake...since she's all cool and UK-ish now. but i didn't even think about the language barrier over there. craycray.

and you look really pretty in that picture, my friend!

Megan said...

when i got here i thought jumper was a jumpsuit. wrong. people kept saying i needed a warm jumper for the winter..and in my head i was all "ya that makes sense.." picture a full on wool jumpsuit.


Wendy said...

But you probably call all soda "Coke", right? That's weird to us Californians :)

Linked up to you in my post today. Have a great weekend ;)


Unknown said...

We met some british friends in france here and experienced the same kind of problem!

ah, life is funny.

Anait said...

oh dahhhhhhhhhhhhhling, your jumper is just adorable. I do hope you find it warm ;) (written with a british accent, of course)

Megan said...

Hahahaha. I love this!! I bet it really is SO confusing!!

Sandy a la Mode said...

looove your jumper hunni!! ;)

Jenni Austria Germany said...

@alyx, i've definitely made the 'pants' mistake many times.

Anonymous said...

jumper! oh dear. but at least your hair is so glossy and pretty!

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