It never ceases to amaze me just how many languages there are in a single language. If you’re going to the grocery store, you need grocery store language. If you’re eating at a restaurant, you need restaurant language. If you need a haircut, you need haircut language – however that has not yet worked out for me. And now with a baby on the way and the necessity of doctor visits, I need doctor language. Medical language. Baby language. All of my medical tests are in German which can quickly get confusing as I don’t yet know what’s good, what’s not good, the diseases for which I’ve been tested, the diseases for which I’ve tested negative… (All of them. Disease free!)
My doctor, who’s absolutely amazing, can speak English and does so very well. But Will and I try to conduct most aspects of our Austrian life in German and that now includes all things doctor, so we speak German with her instead of English. We’ve had a lot of fun learning new vocabulary and receiving massive amounts of pamphlets about having babies in Austria. A few weeks ago we went in to get an ultrasound (Ultraschall) and I picked up a pamphlet to read while we were in the waiting room. It wasn’t long until we were both stifling immature laughter from a new vocabulary word we had found. The word was “Mutterkuchen” which is a word for placenta. “Mutter” is the word for “mother” and “Kuchen” is the word for “cakes”. So very literally translated, a placenta is also known as mother-cakes. You’re welcome.
Once we had a 5 minute guessing game about a word with a substitute doctor who was helping me fill out my Mutter-Kind Pass (a Mother-Child Pass, contains medical information about mom and baby) and whose English is not quite as good as my regular doctor. She was asking me in German if I had ever had such and such diseases and most of the ones she listed were close enough to English that I could recognize them. Then she hit on one that neither Will nor I knew. So she threw out a different German word and we threw out a possible English translation. Then she guessed another, and we guessed another translation. She switched to English and said, “It’s when you’re little and you scratch.” While I’m sure all of you know already what she was talking about, it still didn’t ring a bell for us, so the guessing game continued. German – English – German – English. Mumps? Eczema? A rash? Finally we all agreed on Chicken Pox, laughed a lot and continued on. I still don’t know the word for Chicken Pox.
I’ve also acquired quite a bit of auf-Deutsch items. At my very first appointment, my doctor gave me a packet containing all the information I need to know about ultrasounds, hospitals in the area, dos and don’t’s, ways to contact her, and so many other things. I’ve read through it so many times I’ve practically translated the thing myself and I can refer to it like I know what I’m talking about. At my second appointment I got my Mutter-Kind Pass which I LOVE because it makes me feel very Austrian. Then at this last one, my doctor told me to take anything out of the special baby bin in the waiting room. Not going to lie – I had been waiting for this day to come since the first time I laid eyes on it which was way before babies were even being considered. I got to take home a cute “New Mom” tote as well as a smaller Penaten tote. Both totes contained infinite amounts of pamphlets, plus lots of goodies like baby shampoos, lotions, A GIRAFFE BIB, and floaties for the pool! One of my gift totes even contained a pacifier which was way too much for me to handle on the tram.
All of this is very new and intimidating especially since most everything is being said in a language that’s not my own. But I am loving the challenge of learning Austria’s form of baby talk and I hope to get better at it as the weeks progress. Plus, if I really master baby talk, then we can have an in depth conversation about mother-cakes.