27 November 2007

Learning a New Culture

This past week I have left the house only once. Most of the time I have been on the couch. The fever is finally gone as are the body aches and the other unpleasant, unmentionable symptom, but the exhaustion remains.

So, what have I been doing? Mostly watching television with the occasional bouts of laundry or half-hearted attempts at cleaning. (Note to Mom and Dad: The apartment will meet minimum cleanliness standards when you arrive on Thursday, but it will not exceed those standards.) I also brought the laptop into the living room for occasional internet browsing. That's about all I have had the energy to do.

Since we have Sky Satellite, most of the television viewing has been from the UK. (I know, I should be watching German television in order to improve my language skills. But German television is just so awful that I truly cannot deal with it for any space of time. No wonder the Germans are so outdoorsy!)

So the culture I have been learning about is the UK. And this is a sampling of what I have learned from the television programming...

1. The Brits seem to be as obsessed with food as the Americans, especially junk food. At least that is the impression you would get from watching British commercials. Which might help to explain the rising obesity rates in that country.

2. Apparently the British Royalty seem to believe that the American Revolution was just a tragic misunderstanding. If only King George III had been able to make a royal tour of the colonies, the colonists would have seen that he was a regular guy who just had their best interests at heart. Or at least that is what Prince Charles said in the documentary How Mad Was King George? Wonder what he says about the other colonies who broke away and declared independence?

3. It is alright to sue someone after an accident as long as it does some good for everyone. There is a series of commercials for accidental liability lawyers that always end with a line that indicates this. For instance, a woman sues her employer because she tripped on packing material? The commercial ends with the line: "And the packing material? Well that's sorted now." Or a man sues after an accident because his view was blocked by a large group of students at a bus stop. The final line is: "And they've resited the bus stop."

4. Based upon the fact that I have greatly enjoyed several Marion Chesney novels, I decided to watch an episode of Hamish Macbeth, a tv series about a Scottish police officer based upon her books. Must admit I didn't learn a thing about Scottish culture. Primarily because I couldn't understand the bulk of the dialogue. And I am pretty certain they were speaking English.


Greg said...

How long does it take you to figure out whodunit in the German Crimis? I don't think I've managed to get past the first five minutes yet. You might try watching "Wetten Dass?" if you can. It's somewhat okay.

Global Librarian said...

Even with my horrendous German I can figure out who the murderer is!

Which is one of the reasons why we signed up for Sky Satellite. Although strangely enough, the bulk of their programming seems to be delayed American prime time television. (It's about 3-4 months behind the premiere date in the US.) Or extremely old American television. Anyone remember Knight Rider?

Pointless Drivel said...

Old Charlie may be on to something there. The average colonist wasn't all that worked up by the whole taxation without representation thing (they had more rights than the average Brit). But a bunch of rabble-rousers got them worked up plied them with Madiera and, before you knew it - or, at the Brits might say, "Jack's a donut" - there's a new country.

A Librarian said...

I still say we had time to see David Hasselhoff in concert when we were in Munich!

Notice how far off point my comments are in relation to your initial blog? I have been doing lots of this on a friend's political blog and I think my skills are improving. By the way, be glad you don't write about politics. Comments over there get downright nasty.

Say hi to the folks for me:)

Debbie in Co for not much longer said...

I agree the Scottish accent is hard to understand. I remember eating in a restaurant in Scotland with my husband and asking him what language the couple next to us were speaking and he tells me it's English...

I also had a conversation with a little girl in the Stirling train station, but eventually we hit an impasse because no matter how many times she repeated herself, I just could not understand what she was saying.

Our visas have been approved! So now we are debating mailing them (remembering your fun adventures from a year ago) or paying for one or two round trip flights from Denver to drop off and pick up visas.

I'm glad you're getting better. My husband brought home a Zurich cold a couple weeks ago and it's still lingering.

Midsummer night's knitter said...

What do you mean'hard to understand?'....actually, I'll get off any form of high horse right now. When I had a hospital appointment recently, the middle-eastern gent stopped me in mid flow 'Why can I understand you?' he said in his PERFECT English. I was totally nonplussed until I realised that my east-coast via the south of England accent is nothing like the Westcoast/Glasgow accent.
And as for Hamish MacBeth - we were watching the series on DVD the other day - forget about learning about Scotland, just admire the views around the village (which is actually Plockton) and good old Hamish himself ;0)
PS - now you are really worrying me about the TV situation - we will have cable but no satellite...