Wednesday, 24 January 2007

The Twilight Zone

I am composing this at 3 in the morning. Lots of crazy niggles are going round in my head. They are variously to do with all the German forms we need to translate and complete in order to settle in; plus worries about whether we'll ever be ready to be parents...

Of all the things churning round and round my brain are three bizarre things that happened yesterday:

1. Nuclear eggs
Yesterday I got quite a shock when I cracked open an egg to reveal a yolk which was an E-Number orange. Odd, I thought to myself. A bit worrying to make scrambled eggs that look like they have been painted by a two year old. A bit of web investigation reveals that some German farmers add carotenoids to chicken feed to encourage the production of brighter yolks, which their customers apparently prefer. Carotenoids being the chemicals that give carrots their distinctive orange colour.

2. iWash
Confident of my abilities with the washing machine on the 'Pflegeleicht' (combined fabrics) programme, I loaded up and pressed the start button. Slightly less confident an hour later when I pulled out the washing and some tangled iPod headphones. I was very surprised that a few hours later, once dry, they still worked!

3. Lost in translation
I am trying to find out from the German and British authorities what I need to do to register a birth around here and what documents I must bring. The British consular staff have told us to deal directly with the German authorities. All very well, but I don't speak the lingo, let alone to advanced bureaucratic level. All I can do is rely on Google to translate the pages of the local registry office for me, in order to get the gist. A bold venture, for which one might not be awarded any further insight into the topic, but one might develop new ways of looking at a subject. For example, on the subject of providing proof that the parents of a new baby are married, Google's translation tool advises:

'According to the Personenstand of parents and/or nut/mother the collecting main of different documents is necessary:
married nut/mother:
Family album or authenticated copy from the family album; with marriage abroad the marriage certificate with German translation' Google thinks that 'a married nut' and 'a mother' are interchangeable. At this point, having eaten my nuclear eggs and washed some micro-electronics on a 40 degree cycle, I can see how that might work...

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