Sunday, August 15, 2010

Están Lloviendo Gatos y Perros

View of Simon Dach Straße
It feels like Fall and it's only the middle of August.  I have even noticed a few leaves turning color. It has rained all day, and the streets are quiet.  As I was walking down the street, I overheard a couple say, "It's been raining cats and dogs."  I haven't heard that phrase in a long time.

For the first time in a long while, it's pleasant to walk in the neighborhood.  The summer holidays are almost over and the high school students will be returning to school in a few weeks.  I, for one, am looking forward to quieter nights. The bars and the restaurants will be less crowded, and I won't be awakened in the middle of the night by drunken loud mouth kids. In fact, I frequently see kids stumbling along the streets in the early morning hours when I get up.   

The drinking age for beer and wine is 16 and for everything else it is 18.  The age of consent for sexual activity is 14 (13 in Spain).  As a result, European young people tend to mature earlier than Americans. The USA tends to be more protective, and I'm not sure "that's a good thing" as Martha Stewart use to say.

Two days a week, I take a German conversation course. The course participants are mostly Europeans trying to improve their German, but there are a few Americans in their early 20s. When I see how the young Americans act compared to their European or South American contemporaries, there is a big a difference. For the most part, the Americans are still kids while the Europeans are adult in every way. With the non-Americans, I can have an have an intelligent conversation. With the Americans, I'm limited to topics revolving around Lady Gaga, the latest action or romantic comedy, or where a person can get drunk. Of course, this is an exaggeration, but from my observations, the Americans are still immature.

As my mother use to say, "You only live once and youth is fleeting; you need to enjoy life while you can." Her common phrase was, "You need to make hay while the sun shines."  I'm not sure her use of the phrase was appropriate in this context, but I understood her meaning.  It's like the title of this post, "Están Lloviendo Gatos y Perros." Despite having heard non-native Spanish speakers use this phrase, I doubt whether a native speaker would, especially when referring to "it's raining cats and dogs." 

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