The adventures of a born-and-raised-in-Michigan girl (OK, woman) who's moved to Bavaria with her husband, kids, and dog.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Our Funny Customs Story

I think every international move needs a good customs story, and ours has been no exception.

As stated elsewhere (somewhere), Martin met our sea containers on the morning of December 1st to escort them through Customs (on the advice of the Audi relocation folks).

Naturally, our household inventory (detailed list of boxes and their contents) had been translated into German by someone, somewhere, on our behalf. Item number 493 on the English inventory of boxes, was "totes," referring to a stack of blue Rubbermaid storage bins and lids we'd used in the garage.

Well, what should have been translated as the word for "containers" in German, was instead translated as "tote" with a question mark following. So the Customs official told Martin right up front, "I don't have a problem with anything here, except I would like to see the 493 dead bodies you have," as "tote" is the German word for corpse.

Ooops. !!!

A pretty big translation error, and obviously the Customs official realized that couldn't possibly be correct (and at least she had a sense of humor about it). After explaining that we weren't trying to import any illegal immigrants, and describing what a "tote" (English) actually IS, Martin and our household goods were waved right through.

So that's one new German vocabulary word I'm not likely to forget anytime soon!


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