I have been confused all my life by what “five of” means. My mother used to say it all the time, and I was never sure whether she meant “five to” or “five after”.
“half eight”: When visiting my almost-native-sounding Czech girl in England, I gave up and started making her tell me the time in Czech, so I wouldn’t be confused by “half five” and think it meant 4:30.
Amy, if you thought the German halb acht was bad, think of a language where they say things like “after ten minutes half eight” to mean 8:20. Anyway, I always took halb acht as meaning that eight o’clock is half full. It helped me to think of each hour as a container that could be filled halfway. Of course, that didn’t stop me from showing up an hour late a lot.