i was reading a trip report by a friend from my germany grad school days (she’s on a 10-weeker through north america) on the past couple weeks that took her from san francisco to banff, canada.
in one part, she writes about how she saw a deer on her way back to the campsite from brushing her teeth:
Ach, und vorgestern, als ich vom Zähneputzen kam, sah ich von weitem eine riesige Hirsch [emphasis mine]
seeing that dreaded word again reminded me of a very unfortunate incident that took place 7 years ago — which still remember clearly. i had just recently moved to germany and my language skills were still quite shabby, yet i was so excited to have €1 scoops of gelato i pretty much wanted to go every day. there was a short line at my usual place and i used that time to rehearse in my head what to say.
when it came out:
ich hätte gern eine kugel hirsch, bitte!
what i said:
i’d like a scoop of deer, please!
so: kirsch = cherry, hirsch = deer. i knew the difference but in the heat of the moment i got flustered and the wrong one slipped out. the poor man behind the counter: O_o. me, innocently: “O_O hm?” he finally understood and i got my ice cream, but i will never make that mistake again!
p.s. my friend makes lovely observations about canada, like “canada is pretty much the optimal mix of american and european” and “canadians are very nice, but drive like italians.”