Monday, July 31, 2006

You say toe-mato, I say tah-mato

A few weeks ago in the window of one of the camera stores in town we noticed that you can order "custom made" beer steins with your own personal photo on it. I made two silly photos with me, David, Greg, & Bryte on them as souvenirs of our European Road Trip.
Here we are in Venice as Goldoliers: And here we are in Vienna as the ubiquitous concert ticket sellers:

I brought in a CD with my pictures, and ordered 4 beer mugs, "vier Bierkrüge" in German. Then I waited 9 days for them to be ready, and excitedly went to pick them up...
The first mistake I made was NOT to open the package and check them out before I paid. I had my bicycle with me, and they looked so well wrapped up, I didn't want to risk them breaking on my way home. When I did open them I discovered that they were teddy bears! So, I figured the guy gave me the wrong order (I did not open them enough to see the photos). So I brought them back and explained this, only to have the guy tell me that, no, I had indeed ordered teddy bears. NO I HAD NOT!!!! It was a case of mis-communication, he just didn't understand me, and he ordered me teddy bears. Of course, he was not willing to accept responsibility. Even though "vier Bierkrüge" and "vier Teddybären" do not sound the same. I was so frustrated! I knew that if my German was better I could have reasoned with him, but he wanted nothing to do with me. I felt so helpless. So, I kept saying I did not order them, asking him to help me, and causing a scene in the store. He eventually felt sorry for me and said he'd see what he could do. In the end, it all worked out, and we got our beer mugs and returned the teddy bears. While it was happening it was a frustrating experience, but now it makes a good story and I've learned my lessons, and that's what the experience of living abroad is all about.
Here are the teddy bears:

Ahhhh... much better!