Milk products – a precious commodity?

There are rich countries and there are poor countries. Mohammad from Afghanistan is wondering how many tons of milk, yoghurt or other groceries that have already been bought are thrown away in Germany. And in Afghanistan and other countries, for example, people need milk that is not there. In Germany the supply is much greater than the demand, especially at dairy products. And a lot of other food is thrown away here because the best-before date has expired. Mohammad’s training in the grocery trade includes going through the store every morning and sorting out the expired goods. Every day he… Read More

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Migratory Birds: Billions of migrants without passports

By Michael Seifert Birds that we haven’t seen all winter have been back for a few weeks: first and foremost, the swallows, but also warblers, the cuckoo with its characteristic call or storks. Birds are the most active migrants of all living things on earth – and they do not need a passport. It is estimated that around 50 billion birds are on the move worldwide every year, that is a quarter to a sixth of all birds. The phenomenon that is responsible for this is called bird migration. But what is that exactly? “We understand this to mean the… Read More

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Earthquakes in the District of Tübingen? Yes!

By Michael Seifert Here’s something that many don’t know: between Tübingen und Balingen, we live in a region in which the earth shakes frequently. The last time an earthquake occurred was on Sunday evening, March 21st, at 6.38 p.m., and it had a strength of 3.6. In the region Tübingen/Reutlingen, you could hear a bang like an explosion and feel a short tremor. The mayor of a township on the edge to the Swabian Alps, where the center was, said: “It was as if a car drove into my house.” Only in December 2020, there was a similarly strong earthquake… Read More

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Small purchases

A customer comes to Mohammad in the greengrocer’s and wants to buy a banana. What does one banana do? Do people in Germany live and eat for themselves? Mohammad suspects that many go shopping here because they want to have fun. In Afghanistan, where Mohammad came to Germany from five years ago, people would buy much larger quantities of food. Instead of one kilogram of potatoes, they usually buy three kilograms that would be enough for a medium-sized family for a week. Rice would be fetched by the sack for a whole month. In Afghanistan, shopping is really something different.… Read More

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Attention horticulturists

Who would like to do gardening and is looking for a plot of land for this? Swabians say “Gütle” or “Stückle” to such allotment gardens. The city of Tübingen is now looking for sponsors who want to garden on urban land. The city also offers public areas such as planters or the area around fountains or playgrounds. The city’s “Stückle” can then be replanted and maintained, however, they can’t be used to plant vegetables or for commercial purposes. More information, contact details and an application form are available at: tun21041301 Viele Familien in Baden-Württemberg bewirtschaften in ihrer Freizeit ein… Read More

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What the heart symbol means

By Oula Mahfouz “The heart breaks”. This metaphor expresses sorrow, but doctors also acknowledge a “broken heart syndrome”. A “strong heart” may refer to a healthy heart or strong character. One with a weak heart may be sick or not resilient. Why does the word hold so many meanings? Many consider the heart a symbol of love, but the heart may also hold love’s opposites, envy, hate, and others. In fact, science shows all emotions originate from the brain. The current symbolic depiction of the heart originates from depictions of fig leaves and ivy leaves, explaining why the symbol bears… Read More

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About bulbs and grapes

There are customers who approach Mohammad at the vegetable stall and want to buy 500 grams of celery. He asks: Would you like a bulb? A big or a small one? He has been selling vegetables and fruits for four years now and still wonders: People don’t know the “package size”. It is important to understand one another. Because of this, it is also important how one says something. At his home in Afghanistan, one has to say exactly what they want at the vegetable seller: A bulb of garlic, not a piece; you ask for a stick or a… Read More

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Corona-crisis is changing the German language

The corona-crisis has also affected the German language: 1230 new words and words with a new meaning have been collected by “Leibniz-Institut für Deutsche Sprache”. One of these institution’s task is to study the changes in the German language. The directory of neologisms, as linguistics calls new words, features words from Alltagsmaske (community mask) to Zoom-Party. The best known are Lockdown and Shutdown.  Other words that are now part of the normal vocabulary are: Geisterspiel (ghost game, a soccer game without spectators), Klopapierhysterie (toilet paper hysteria), Covidioten (covidiots, a politician called people who thought the virus was an invention this), … Read More

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Carrots and field lettuce preferably with soil 

When customers currently say to Mohammad that the carrots or the field lattice are dirty, he gets annoyed. Right now, the apprentice in retail trade mainly sells these two fresh products from the region. Patiently, he then explains to the customers: “The carrots aren’t dirty, they are carrots with soil on them.” He then points out to them that carrots with soil are fresher and taste better than the pre-washed vegetables. He also knows the Swabians amongst his customers. Some of them fear that they have to pay for soil when the vegetables are being weighed at the checkout. This… Read More

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Let’s talk about the weather: Is there snow in Syria?

By Oula Mahfouz Due to the heavy snowfall in Germany, I remembered that every time, when it snowed, I got asked the same question: Does it snow in Syria? I am always very happy to hear this question, as it reminds me of the last winter I spent in Damascus. That winter, there was a lot of snowfall.  Syria is situated in the eastern Mediterranean and borders on Turkey, Lebanon, Iraq, Jordan and Palestine. This special position between three different continents and cultures is important. It shapes Syria and gave the country a diversity in many areas, including nature, climate… Read More

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