Assimilation is the process of becoming similar to a society’s majority group by taking in and using their customs, behaviors, values and beliefs.
We don’t live in a vacuum. Pretty much everything we do or think is deeply influenced by the society in which we live. But what happens when we move from one society to the next? You may wake up one day and wonder where bits and traits of past you went. You may realize that assimilation comes at a price, and that it’s time to build a more intentional version of yourself.
We are living through weird times, and sometimes you just need to scream.
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Just as Romania has vampires and Ireland has leprechauns, Germany also features a species of its own: the octopus cashier. These powerful creatures dwell in grocery stores nationwide under a humanoid disguise, but their true colors surface whenever a customer approaches the check-out. This cephalo-mammalian hybrid is highly trained to scan a bazillion items per minute by unfolding its multiple extremities and hurling produce in the air at ultrasonic speed.
The customers, subjected to their slow-paced human condition, have no other choice than to randomly shove the groceries into their bags. Woe betide thee if your money is not at the ready when the octopus cashier scans the last item. This last item indicates the finish line, and if you are still packing, you will be scorned by the other humans in the check-out line. They will start rolling their eyes impatiently while muttering “Das geht doch gar nicht!”. Avoid this situation at all costs by trying out these tips:
#1 – Team work: Drag your partner to the store. Four arms still won’t equate to the manpower of the octopus cashier, but if you train your team-packing skills, one of you will be ready to whip out the money while the other finishes stacking whatever is left.
#2 – Go green: Buy tons of fruits and vegetables. They will slow down the octopus cashier considerably, since produce needs to be weighed and have its code entered in order to be priced. Also, fruits and vegetables are good for you and stuff.
#3 – Screw it. Get a cart and shove absolutely every item into it as the octopus cashier tosses them past the scanner. Pay, leave the store, and peacefully stack your supplies into bags. Warning: do at your own risk. This option usually involves a couple of broken eggs and burst yogurts.
Good luck with your future endeavors in your next encounter with the octopus cashier. You know what? I’m feeling a bit peckish after all this food talk. Maybe I should pay our molluscan friend a visit.
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We try to keep all our languages in shape and, the more we practice, the more they wrestle for space. The eternal question: how can we keep our languages going while welcoming new ones?
This lovely illustration is available as print on the Linguist Gone Foreign Store!
Summer days will probably stay hot, but your fun activities may shift as you get older.