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News and views from the German-language region of Europe

April 28, 2009

"Schwein gehabt?"

Filed under Back in the USA

I haven’t been able to keep up with my blog these last four weeks – too much traveling! (Including today)

Since returning to Bonn four weeks ago I have traveled to Prague, Dresden, Berlin, Switzerland and the Netherlands, being on the road for about 8 days total. We have had beautiful spring weather these last four weeks, sunny with highs in the 60s and 70s. May will probably be rainy, to compensate. :-)

While I was in Bonn, Jesmina Allaoua and I worked on getting our German "Good News" magazine certified for the German postal system’s electronic correction system using matrix codes as part of the labeling. As of April 1st this is the only address correction system now being offered by the Deutsche Post AG for publications using its reduced rate mailing system.

Today I traveled to the USA en route to Cincinnati for the annual United Church of God General Conference meeting and a meeting of the Council of Elders. At the Atlanta airport I was reminded of the German saying "Schwein gehabt", which is an idiom meaning to be lucky. Literally, though, it means to "have pig (pork)". With the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico, the media has paid a lot of attention to developments. On the plane from Frankfurt to Atlanta I read the German daily "Die Welt", which questioned whether the new influenza should even be called swine flu, since apparently it is not been documented to have come from pigs. At the Atlanta airport I was surprised to see several people wearing those surgical masks you see people weaing in Mexico City on the news reports. I thought that was a bit of overkill, but Atlanta is America’s location for disease control (CDC is headquartered there). However, I did not mind seeing those masks on the members of a non-English speaking, non-Caucasian family that boarded the same small commuter plane that I did for the short connecting flight to Mobile, Alabama. When they occuplied the four seats in the row right behind me, I thought those masks might actually be a pretty good idea. Funny how your perspective can change within the hour. :-)

Paul Kieffer's blog with personal insights and news from the German-language region in Europe.


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