Ok at this point this post is completely out of chronological order, but I'm still going to write about it because I feel like it is either funny or just contains some useful advice, depending on your current situation.
Anyway, the first night we decided to cook in Germany was the Saturday after we got here. I was making bratwurst, because pig products are basically all you can get here.* Anyway, I cut up the sausage, put it in a pan, got it to heating, then went to do something else for a few because I didn't just want to stare at meat cooking. I went back every few minutes to stir it a little and whatnot but I wasn't keeping a super close eye on it because why would I do that? I never just watch the food change colors before my eyes.
So anyway I had left the kitchen and was sitting around, probably talking to Hunter or something, just waiting for the food to finish cooking when WAAAWAAAWAAA!!!
Yes, the fire alarm was going off. I quickly ran into the kitchen to turn on the Siemens ventilator hood over the stove but I could tell it wasn't going to do much good. I also tried opening a window which didn't solve the problem. I'd also like to point out that the sausage wasn't actually *burnt*. It was more just slightly browned at some parts, but apparently enough to cause smoke to wend its way up to the detector.
So anyway, we couldn't figure out how to turn the thing off. Obviously in America you can just take it down. Here, there is a separate detector and alarm. We attempted to take the detector down at one point, and it stopped briefly, but then started up again. Eventually, Hunter just stood on a chair and held up his hoodie to the alarm to make it slightly less loud.
After a bit longer, we heard a commotion in the hall. Yes, the firefighters had arrived. Just like in the Sims, where the alarm going off automatically summons emergency personnel. So Hunter opened the door and explained that we had just been cooking. I sat on the couch, unable to understand a word of what was going on. Hunter apparently could understand more than I could, although not quite as much as the firefighter seemed to think. He said they were more laughing than angry about it; I had been afraid we would be fined or something. Here are a few of the things he was able to catch:
1. They thought the food smelled good.
2. If you take off the detector, it sets off another alarm.
3. We should keep the door to the kitchen closed when we cook so the smoke (if there is any) doesn't get out.
I looked out the window and saw what looked like a gratuitous amount of fire trucks and police cars and such, and they seemed to take an awfully long time to leave. But ultimately we didn't get in trouble or anything so I guess it's all ok. I was a little afraid to use the kitchen after that, but so far just keeping the door closed and monitoring the food more closely has worked out.
*Seriously I ate sausage 3 or 4 times just the first WEEK we were here. I really don't want to eat it again for awhile but pretty soon I won't have much of a choice.