"One day it occurred to me that it had been many years since the world had been afforded the spectacle of a man adventurous enough to undertake a journey through Germany on foot. After much thought, I decided that I was a person fitted to furnish to mankind this spectacle. So I determined to do it. This was in March, 1878." Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad


My Little Cantelope

Every day I plop Penelope in the stroller, and we go somewhere around the town together. It never fails that we have an impromptu encounter (or two, or three) with perfect strangers that come up to Penelope and strike up a conversation. Whether it be at the bakery, grocery store, bus or in the park, and whether it be with an elderly gentleman, store keeper, or young mom, the conversation usually goes like this:

German Stranger: blah, blah, blah (some form of 'baby talk' in German of which I only understand a few words)

Me: smile and nod and act like I understand

German Stranger: Ist sie eine Maedchen? (Is she a girl? --which by now I understand because of how many times I've heard this same annoying question. Come on people! She always has her bright pink coat, hat, and mittens on and is wrapped in her pink blanket. Do people really think I would dress my son like that?!!!)

Me: more nodding and smiling

German Stranger: blah, blah schwarz Augen! (basically, "She has such black eyes!")

If you look around, just about every German baby has light blue eyes and light hair. Penelope basically has no hair, but she does have very oddly colored eyes for Germany. And every single person I enter into a conversation with remarks how black her eyes are. Every. Single. Person. I'm never quite sure if they're implying that my child is weird because she has such dark eyes, or that they think it's cool and unique. But, for the record, I am so tired of people bringing up her eye color. Yes, Penelope has dark eyes. The end.

German Stranger: Wie heisst sie? (What's her name?)

Me: Penelope (I pronounce it "puh-NEL-luh-pee")

German Stranger: quizzical look

Me: Penelope (puh-NEL-luh-pee)

German Stranger: Ah! Pen-uh-LOPE-uh

Great. Not only does my child have strange eyes, but the Germans think my daughter's name rhymes with cantelope.

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