Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Here are some things I can do in German:

(1) Order ice cream, preferably strawberry;
(2) Curse when I drop my new sunglasses over the edge of the walking path at Germany's highest waterfall (Mike rescued them for me); and
(3) Order Annabelle's spaghetti with the sauce on the side.

Here are some things I cannot do in German:

(1) Explain the theory of relativity;
(2) Solve the problems in the Middle East; and
(3) Hook up my DSL connection!!

As many of you know, my online time has been seriously curtailed since arriving in Germany. I have been accessing my AOL account through a dial-up connection, and every time I sign on, I get AOL's friendly "bend over and prepare to be surcharged" message. Needless to say, I remain online only long enough to download my email!

Getting my DSL connection up and running has been a trying (and thus far, fruitless) experience. As though the language barrier between normal earthlings and techno-computer-geeks were not big enough, I have the additional challenge of figuring out error messages auf Deutsch. My typical translating experience: "Please to connect the . . . um . . . hanging-tight-together device from . . . no, wait, to the . . . [insert sound of pages flipping in the world's smallest German dictionary] . . . chicken . . . ?"

This morning I decided to call technical support. My neighbor told me that I should select option 2 when the computerized voice answers, so that's exactly what I did. When the customer service rep finally answered, I asked if he spoke English. No, he said (in German, obviously). I should call this number and ask for an English-speaking rep. He gave me the number, which--ta da!--was the same number I had used to get him in the first place! If my German were good enough to say "But, sir, that number is answered by a computer," I wouldn't NEED to ask for an English-speaker at all. So I thanked him and hung up.

The day hasn't been a total loss though. After hearing it a couple dozen or so times while waiting on hold, I now know how to say "Please continue to have patience. The next available customer service representative has been reserved for you" in German.

I hope to get this straightened out soon. I've got pictures from Legoland and also a few of the house ready to post!

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