Ja, Voll? NEIN!

Posted on
Apr 28, 2009
Last week, the hubby and I found ourselves in Munich for National Beer Day (insert joke here about how every day is National Beer Day in Bavaria). The hubby had a beer, and I had Johannisbeer juice, which we determined, after a lengthy discussion that nearly involved diagrams, to be currant juice (clearly, I am a woman who lives on the edge). There was the prerequisite Oompa-oompa band, of whom I made the mistake of taking a photo. This sent them stumbling our way, requesting tips in drunken English. And of course, there was singing.

Lots of singing. Not that German is necessarily a good singing language. The only bits of German I know were from the time we learned to sing a translation of Frere Jacques in 6th grade, which mostly resulted in me and my friend Giselle sounding like we were coughing up a lung. Personally, I think we had potential, but we abandoned our interest in the German language roughly 15 minutes later.

But I digress. Back to the bar. After one particularly spirited chorus of “Helga is Sitting on My Pretzel” or something, everyone cheered, and my husband (who once studied in Germany and speaks enough of the language to avoid accidentally propositioning someone’s wife), shouted a hearty, “JA, VOLL!”

Our table fell quiet. When we asked what was wrong, one of our party explained that the expression “JA, VOLL” (yes, sir) had a bit of a “militaristic” connotation.

“It is something the Germans are a bit sensitive about,” someone explained.

“It’s okay,” I said. I pointed to my husband. “HE’S JEWISH!”

And with that, everyone cheered, and said, “Oh, it’s alright then!” and laughed.

A bit later, I realized how odd the whole thing was. Did my husband’s Semitic background just save us from committing some incredibly random faux pas? Is this the first time in history screaming “He’s Jewish!” has gotten someone out of trouble with the Germans? I’m still not sure. But I half expected John Cleese to pop out of the rafters screaming, “DON’T MENTION THE WAR!”

Leave a Comment

More from The Blog

On Instagram @theeverywhereist

  • Here it is, folks. The paperback edition of my book is out today. The hardcover came out more than two years ago, so it's wonderful to know that this story of mine still has life and is, gasp, still selling copies. Don't miss the book that Lauren Graham called "the travel companion you'll be happy you brought along" and that some guy on Twitter said was "immature and stupid." It's available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Indiebound. #bookstagram #summerreading #bookworms
  • This lady. ❤️❤️❤️ So proud of her.
  • HAPPY LAUNCH DAY!! I really want to curl up in bed with this amazing novel today, but I can't - for an amazing reason. Because I'm going to be at the Lake Forest Park location of Third Place Books tonight, discussing it with the author, my dear friend @andreadunlop. Lady, I'm so proud of you. ❤️ ❤️❤️ #bookstagram #summerreading
  • Baking in an AirBnB is always an adventure. I didn't have a measuring cup for the flour so I eyeballed it, and had to use a wine bottle as a rolling pin to make these handpies. Not my best work, but @demeritt and @randderuiter seemed cool with the results, so I'm going to accept that sometimes good enough is, well, enough. 🥧🍴
  • "I hit the jackpot." That's how I once heard Michael J. Fox describe his marriage years ago, and it stayed with me. I've never found a better way of describing our relationship than that. Bells ring. Lights flash. Coins spill everywhere. Now, where's my complimentary breakfast?
  • Someone sent Rand socks with his face all over them, and he's really bothered by this but I'm gonna rock the hell out of them.
  • I told him to stop looking at the camera.
  • Eating junk food on the ferry with this guy right before dinner is kind of the dream.
  • Does it still count as photobombing when you love it?
  • Some hardcore stuff happening in the studio today. #muglife #ceramics

All Over The Place

Buy my book and I promise I'll never ask you for anything again.

BE AWESOME. BUY IT.