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.1.
Once you know something, you see it with different eyes. At first everything was so strange
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
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
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
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.
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
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
German squirrels are creepy
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 minutes30.
All the taxi-cabs are Mercedes Benz
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
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
= The layer of fat from a pig's stomachMett
= Raw minced meat, half pork. Half beef. It's usually scooped out of a container and spread on a bread roll.Schweine Pfoten
= Pigs feetKuddeln
= cow stomachSaumagen
= Pigs stomachEisbein
= 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.