Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Observations on Germany
My time here in Germany is coming to an end. I've been reflecting this morning on some of the things I've learned about this country during the past 3 and a half years.

I thought I'd take a minute to type up some of these observations before I forget them.


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1. Once you know something, you see it with different eyes. At first everything was so strange and alien to me. Now it's simply Germany, nothing special. I've gotten so used to this way of life. I think America will feel strange to me now when I return home. I discovered that Germany was NOT like the black and white footage I saw from the 1940's in history class. Everything falling apart, women walking around with puffy sleeves, men with Lederhosen and Nazi's running through the streets.

2. It's quite safe. People walk around a lot and ride their bicycles over the bike paths.

3. The windows swing open like little glass doors and there are no window screens.

4. Germans smoke... a great deal. Ashtrays are located in all the public bathrooms, in the video-stores, the cafes and in some stores. If you ask to be seated in the "Non-smoking area", they'll just laugh at you. If you're not a social smoker, you're liable to become one in Germany.

5. You can't shop on Sunday and good luck finding a party on a Monday night.

6. Bars only close when the customers leave. There isn't any 2 A.M. "last call for alcohol" rules. You can easily party until 6 A.M., and then move on to the breakfast buffet. People are allowed to drink on the street and in their cars. (just not the driver, naturally). The drinking age is 16 but I've seen 13 year olds ordering a beer with their parents.

7. Germans eat A LOT of breadrolls and cheese.

8. Thomas Gottschalk (wetten Dass) is the most beloved and hated showmaster. (he also has a foot fetish)

9. If you turn on a random German television station, you're likely to find a group sitting in a circle discussing something. Eric finds this fascinating. I just can't watch 6 old men arguing about politics for 3 hours straight without falling asleep. They just go around in circles.

10. Germans complain a lot about the state of affairs. They're very educated about politics and history. (Particularly regarding America). When you say "How are you?" to a German, It isn't going to equal "I'm fine, and you?". When you say "What's up?", you'll never receive the response "Oh nothin". You get a long spiel about everything that is occuring in their life, health problems, relationships and full mental state. So don't ask, if you don't really want to know. They aren't familiar with the American way of saying "how you doin?" as simply a standard polite greeting. This is an aspect of the culture I like, I've had the most interesting and thought-provoking conversations with my German friends.

14. There are a lot of different nationalities living in Germany, but you wouldn't think there is so much diversity..at first glance.

15. Not all Germans have blond hair and blue eyes. In fact, many don't.

16. Almost every German (under the age of 40) LOVES to speak English, but at first they will claim that they can not. The line I've heard most often ="My English is not so good" -- a massive lie in every case. All of Eric's friends speak to me in perfect English. My boss sometimes comes downstairs just to talk with me in English because it's so much fun for him. As an American, you will become a novelty item because most Germans have the English language skills, but no one to use it with.

17. You have to bring all your bottles back to the store. EVERYTHING is recycled.

18. Bavaria (a.k.a. "It's a small world after all") isn't Germany. - so they claim (?) Might as well be it's own separate country. Interesting.

19. Carefully cut off the top of a boiled egg with a sharp knife, then scoop they contents out of the shells with a tiny little spoon. They have special little fancy egg holders and even decorative Egg mittens so they don't get cold. Eating an egg is an event.

20. Good friends (same sex or not) hug and kiss - often times on the lips when greeting eachother. The first time Eric's Aunt did this to me, I was very confused and it was an awkward moment.

21. Germany DOES have a beach...but the water isn't always there! The tide can go out for miles and than comes back in so quickly you can drown.

22. Germans don't bathe in the ocean but mostly in the lakes and rivers. Preferably in the nude.

23. German cities are very green compared to America. You can find a boar wandering in the middle of a city. (locke could go hunting)

24. In Germany you can get millions of different kinds of beers, cheeses, cakes and breadrolls.

25. Germans like to break out singing loudly in masses. (especially after a few beers). They know quite a few American country songs. For example: Play "Sweet Home Alabama" and watch them get down! The old folks like to listen to something terrible, I have no words to describe it but it is called "Schlagger music".

26. German squirrels are creepy.

27. Dogs are EVERYWHERE. You'll trip over them while you're shopping in the stores. They train their dogs to an extraordinary degree. I've begun to suspect that they are robotic dogs and not real.

28. Every apartment has a "HausOrdnung" - It tells you when the garbage has to be taken out, when the stairways need to be mopped, How long and how loud your parties may be, When the front door has to be locked, Who has the shovel the curb in front of the building, when you have to clean the apartment basement (creepy..creepy place) and when music is allowed to be played. If you get confused and slip up on these rules..Your neighbors will hate you. FOREVER.

29. Church bells are ringing all the time - every fifteen minutes

30. All the taxi-cabs are Mercedes Benz.

31. German cars look like go-carts. The Smart Car is so tiny that they actually have mobile homes with a built-in garage for it.

32. Germany doesn't have doorknobs! If you see one, trust me -- It doesn't turn. If you insist on trying, you will only succeed in spraining your wrist. Every door has a lock. Every room has a door (even the livingroom) . If you see a door without a lock, it's probably a closet.

33. Winter stretches on forever. You might not see the sun for months. It's hidden behind a blanket of clouds.

34. For an American woman,, a trip to the German OBGyn might be traumatizing. I'm not going elaborate -- but you've been warned.

35. Every town has it's castle.

36. If someone offers you Bauchspeck, Mett, Schweine Pfoten, Kuddeln, Sau Magen or Eisbein I highly recommend you politely decline.

Bauchspeck = The layer of fat from a pig's stomach

Mett = Raw minced meat, half pork. Half beef. It's usually scooped out of a container and spread on a bread roll.

Schweine Pfoten = Pigs feet

Kuddeln = cow stomach

Saumagen = Pigs stomach

Eisbein = A complete pig leg including the hairs - which get eaten as well and stuck in-between your teeth.

37. The first time I went to a German fair and saw that in the center they had an entire cow twisting on a stick, I felt queasy. When they started cutting off chunks of it's body and began feeding it to crowd, I nearly passed out.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head, the weather today was irratic. It was sunny and than dark clouds moved over the horizon. There was a loud thunder storm and harsh rain. Than 20 minutes later it cleared up. I took a walk into town to get lunch during break and snapped a few photos.





****

By the way..

It was fun waking up in the middle of the night for a glass of water, logging online and seeing a group of friends just hanging out in the chatbox and shooting the breeze last night. It's nice to be able to join in for a few minutes before heading back to bed. Lately I've been so worried about this move, that I wake up a few hours before the alarm goes off and usually flip through the channels for 10 minutes until I feel tired enough to crawl back into bed. Now I can log on and chat, which is pretty cool. It's much better than letting my stresses run on repeat in my head. Thank you to everyone that's been dropping in to say "Hi", it's been great meeting you.


*3 Bubbles has been Temporarily removed - Be back up soon*


*******

Sad news of the day: I called Dr. Frankenstein and the only available appointment for dental work was April 21st.

But I'll be back in America by then..

A pity. Really.... I was so looking forward to it.

oh well

Das ist schicksal....

Alright, I have to log off. late afternoon Break is over and I have a meeting to go to. Lately putting aside 15 minutes to write an entry is the most relaxing part of my day. Too much stress.
 
posted by Clarity25 at 10:45 AM |


17 Comments:


At March 28, 2006, Anonymous alice 

For some reason I read "millions of types of beers and cheese cakes" and I automatically thought..."what the hell am I doing in Canada?"
I really love when you put up photos of your town, its so beautiful.

At March 28, 2006, Anonymous alice 

oh yes and it is such a shame that youll be in the US on the 21st, you should think about staying just for that! Obviously someone somewhere was like "okay well give the girl a break."

At March 28, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous 

Cool list! I want to move to Germany now!!

I don't know about the food:(.

That's so sad that you can't go to dentist, I'm sure you were devastated by that news. hahaha

At March 28, 2006, Anonymous yelayna 

The most frustrating thing with 3bubbles is hanging about for ages waiting for someone, and when they turn up, nothing I write appears. Ho hum...

Good luck with the move and things - I have everything crossed for the whole green card thing. I know I'm accross the water but if there's anything I can do to help, let me know.

At March 28, 2006, Blogger Kathleen 

Okay, I'm an idiot. I can't get the chat to work. ;-( Or it's the firewall here at work. I'll have to try from home.

Some aspects of Germany sound fabulous to me - walking everywhere, but then others make me thank God I live here - smoking everywhere!

Oh yeah, lit a candle at church on Sunday for the Green Card. I hope it works! ;-)

At March 28, 2006, Anonymous Hamish 

Man, I wish I had this list before I moved to Germany. Sounds like you're ready to head back.

By the way, your photos are amazing.

At March 28, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous 

I think Germany would be awesome to vist

At March 28, 2006, Blogger Crystal 

I always love looking at your pictures from there. It's so beautiful. I don't think I'd ever tire of them.

It was cool chatting with you yesterday.

At March 29, 2006, Anonymous jane 

wow. an hour and a half of constantly refreshing. maybe next time.
and that last bit about the cow? WOW. i nearly cried. how gross and cruel.

At March 29, 2006, Anonymous Vicola 

Morning Clarity! In some ways Germany sounds great. The bar closing times would suit me fine and here in the UK smokers are getting an increasingly hard time (although I've made some lovely smoking buddies while stood in doorways of non smoking establishments having a sneaky one). Not sure the food would be quite my thing, I'm not a great believer in raw meat, in fact the thought of it is grim. Also not sure my dog would fit in, as we've never done much training. He has a lot of character but can be a menace, not sure how robodogs would react to Geoffrey launching happily at their ears!

At March 29, 2006, Blogger Mike B 

Love the list ... #10 was one of my first experiences here, as I made the mistake of asking someone how he was doing and then had to listen to nearly 5 minutes of misery. I might have preferred a visit to Dr. Frankenstein.

At March 29, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous 

When I read you mentioning Schlagger music I nearly had a heart attack with laughter. My Omi would CONSTANTLY have a schlagger program on the tv. You know, the lederhosen, bad dresses, middle aged people singing duets. I always watched it with her as a kid because it got me free chips and gummi bears. And you know, I was never so traumatized by meat-related things... I, for example, have not seen an entire cow be roasted. But I'm willing to bet it's not as bad as sitting in a room with a block of HandKaese in it.

At March 29, 2006, Anonymous Amy 

A couple of weeks ago, I was in the store and I thought of you. I was walking through the kitchen department and they had these little things that looked like chicks with feet, except the chicks were only half-round. Avocado asked me what the heck they were. I told him, "Those are EGG CUPS!" They had special little spoons as well. It reminded me of your photos that you posted once of the eggs in the cups.

At March 29, 2006, Blogger Just another American Expat 

Hey, Love your observation about Schlager music. Truly horrid stuff.

So you won't end up be a picture on a German wall after all.

Good luck back in the States.

At March 29, 2006, Anonymous kristoli 

HA! it took me three visits before I was tempted into trying the raw minced meat on bread thing....yummy, seriously, I love it :) Also the german thought egg eating was an event in germany until he moved here and experienced the true event of boiled egg and soldier men :)

At March 29, 2006, Blogger khya 

Much of what is on your list makes me think of belgium, well, food is a bit different, but we also have raw spiced minced meat called... American préparé (prepared american...) and blood sausages, intestine sausages etc etc... Beer flows like water here. I have a question...

26. German squirrels are creepy.

What is wrong with german squirrels, got a pic?

I love the first pic of your post. Ok, take care, bye!!!

At March 29, 2006, Anonymous grace 

awww 3 bubbles is gone. i had fun ther day, although it kicked me out at one point. and wouldn't let me back in for a while. wow i guess it would be weird for you adjusting to america again. how long have you been in germany?



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