Monday, September 20, 2010

Slugs and Snails

Autumn is here and the rainy weather has delivered me a new favourite German word:Nacktschnecke.It means 'naked snail' and it's what you called a slug over here. We learned this word on a train recently when we were going to meet some friends for a camping trip. A little girl came and sat across from us and stared at Thieu. 'Nacktshnecke,' she said, meaningfully. 'Nacktshnecke, Nacktshnecke, Nacktshnecke.' We had no idea at the time what it meant. 'I think she's saying she wants a night time snack,' whispered Matt, although it was clearly daytime.

When we met our friends and the native German speaker translated the word for us. His English wife (who is also fluent in German) frowned. 'Is that the word for slug?' she said. 'I've been calling them 'snails without houses'. No wonder everyone sniggers when I say it.'

Mads is terrified of the slugs. In her defence they are huge over here - way bigger than Australian ones. I commented on this to our friends and they looked quite proud. 'You may have huge spiders,' they said, 'but we win when it comes to slugs.'

Perhaps Thieu still had snails on the brain the next day when he went to collect Mads from kindy. They were having their afternoon snack of crispbread known as Knäckebrot. Thieu likes practicing his German at the kindy. Generally if you try to speak in German over here the other person will sympathetically switch into flawless English. Kindy is the only chance Thieu gets for a decent convo.
'Are you enjoying your Schneckerbrot?' he said, cheerily. Schneckerbrot means snail bread. A number of the four year olds literally fell off their ikea chairs laughing.

Mads and I had a play-date with a kindy friend last week. The mother said 'I heard about the Schneckerbrot incident.' I assumed she'd heard it from her son, but no. The kindy teacher had told everyone about it at a parent night we didn't attend. Apparently there was much mirth.

Today it is sunny and I'm looking forward to going to the airport to pick up Fi, Peter and Thomas. Thankfully there are no Nacktschnecken to be seen.