I have (somewhat) successfully survived living and working in Germany for five months now. My German is still shit and I still don’t think I’ve figured out how to properly sort my recycling, but all in all, I am pretty proud of myself–gold star, me.
As I near the halfway point for my time in Germany (I get kicked out of the EU at the beginning of July), I just wanted to take some time to reflect on my time here and my observations about this strange and wonderful country:
- Germans always walk like they just committed a crime or are training for a speed-walking competition. I swear, I walk at an average American speed. Hell, I get pissed with slow-walkers back home all the time. But here, grannies pass me on the sidewalk like Usain Bolt being chased by a cheetah.
- Finding good avocado is a real challenge. I don’t know if it is just the grocery stores in my town, but they rarely have avocado.
- Oh, there’s a blizzard… school is still open. Two weeks ago, there was probably almost a foot of snow on the ground (maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much), and I still had to go to work. Coming from the southern US, where entire cities shut down for an inch of snow, this was a shock. I kept waiting for a call telling me school had been cancelled… still waiting.
- Plus, winter here is no joke. I woke up the other day, started getting ready for school, checked the temperature: 3 Degrees. “Oh, silly me” I thought, “must have my phone in Celsius for some reason.” Nope… that was 3 Fahrenheit (-16 Celsius).
- I really do love being able to hop on a train and get to about anywhere in Europe, but (and I never thought I would say this) sometimes I miss having a car and being able to drive. [Not that I would be able to drive on the roads recently–throwback to my wreck in Iceland].
- “Geil.” This is a German word I have yet to truly understand. Literally, it translates to ‘horny,’ but I hear it all the time and was so confused as to why the students were talking about being horny so often. Finally, I asked and someone explained that it can also be used for ‘cool’ as well. My question, why? I just can’t understand who thought that was a good idea.
- The beer here is stronger. I did not realize this at first and assumed I could handle the same number of beers as back home… I was wrong.
- Germans never cross the road when the Ampelmann (pedestrian crossing light) is red–even if there is not a car for miles. They will just stand and wait. Which is super awkward for me when I would like to cross, but there is someone on the other side waiting patiently. (Maybe that’s why they walk so fast… making up for the time spent waiting to cross the road).
- Sundays in Germany are the worst. Everything is closed! And I mean everything. Restaurants, malls, grocery stores: you name it, it’s closed. Sure, I’d probably stay at home and watch Netflix in my sweatpants all day anyway, but I want that to be my choice and not because there isn’t anything else to do.
- NicNacs are the best. They are peanuts that are coated in some crunchy shell things and then flavored like BBQ. Probs super unhealthy, but I tell myself it’s just peanuts and how bad can they be? #denial
- Also, the chocolate here is better than in the States.
- If you are planning on trying to hitch a ride on a train without buying a ticket, Germany is not the country to try it. Also, if you try and buy the cheaper ‘direct way’ ticket, rather than the ticket you actually need and they notice, you will have to pay the difference. (Ridiculous if you ask me. I’d love to go the direct way, but your damn train service doesn’t give me that choice).
- The stereotype that Germans are unfriendly or angry is just not true; they really are super helpful and friendly people–I have only made one arch-nemesis since being here. (I do think the stereotypes concerning beer and sausage consumption are true though).
The past five months living in Europe have been truly amazing. I cannot wait to see what the next five months have in store.
(Spoiler alert: It’s travel. The next five months have a lot of travel in store. So stay tuned to see where I’m off to next).