Nur bei Grün den Kindern ein Kreuzstich

So, everyone knows that Dove does lovely cross-stitching, but she is not the only cross-stitcher in this house. However, while hers are all lovely patterns based on books, or poems, or lovely concept albums, or friendship, mine are based on weirdly patronizing German street signs.

See?

I’m vaguely obsessed with this sign, and yet I’m actually stumped about how to translate that into English. The best I can do is “An example to the children, only when it’s green” (“den Kindern” being the dative of “die Kinder”, which why it’s “to the children”). German sentence structure is pretty loose which they take advantage of a lot when they want to emphasise part of the sentence.

But isn’t it great? Look at that guy, being ein Vorbild den Kindern (if it’s currently bei Grün). But of course he’s bei Grün, it’s right next to him in giant letters!

But more than that, it sums up something deep about German road etiquette. By and large, Germans will not cross the road when the light is red, regardless of whether anything’s coming. The crossings around Hauptbahnhof are something of an exception, but in general people will wait for da green man to come on the sine. If you believe this story (and to be fair, I think it’s spurious as all get-out), they’ll even block people who jaywalk it. Because they’re not being a good Vorbild.

So, that is my cross-stitch. If you’re good, perhaps I’ll post some of the others…

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