Friday, November 2, 2012

The Germans

Written by an Aussie expat living in Germany, this is a great list of what she knows about Germans after being an expat here. While I don't agree with all of them, it is a very entartaining list to read, especially for all of us who are or ever have been expats ourselves.

Some of my favorites are, with my own reflections noted in italics:
28) They love the breakfast meal. - They do love their breakfast, I just find it greatly inferior to a good old American breafast. Where's the french toast? Or how about just something original. A basket of bread (albeit fresh and delicious) with cold cuts and cheese just isn't exciiting to me. I guess it is the wrong county for a breakfast burrito.

32) Germans don’t tend to jay-walk. And they judge those who do. - Really. I know people who have multiple jaywalking tickets, and people who have been yelled at by other Germans for setting a bad example. I also want to be clear that this applies to a scenario where you would be able to see cars approaching from a great distance and you are basically in the middle of nowhere. The Germans wait. That said, I really appreciate it as a driver. Pedestrians are never in your way.

55) They don’t tend to go to the shops in trackpants and slippers. I do. I think they suspect I am a homeless person with a penchant for Quark. - I hate this. I am not one for getting dressed or putting myself together. Yet I feels svery self-conscoius walking out of the pants in sweats, or even yoga pants. They are getting to me!

59) They are similarly distrustful of any bread in a sliced-form. This is relegated to the toaster (‘toast brot’) and sandwiches made with sliced bread enjoy a disproportionately small section of the bakery display. - Oh how I  miss delcious soft sandwich bread. It was actually in the "pro" list for moving to Amsterdam. They are all about bakery fresh soft sandiwch bread. I once went to a bakery here and asked for sandwich bread, and they looked around at the bakery ful lof freshly baked (hard) breads like I was crazy.

78) Germans are bizarrely wary of drinking tap water. - I find it so frustrating when you ask for tap water at a restaurant and they simply won't give it to you. They might even tell you that they don't have any. Bottled water seems like huge waste of resources to me, especially when the standards for tap water in Germany is that it must be safe for a baby to drink.

98) Germans actually, largely, respect ‘Quiet Time’ on Sundays, when they don’t vacuum, use lawn mowers or other loud appliances and generally keep noise levels to a bare minimum. In some parts, an unspoken evening Quiet Time is enforced, via disapproval or neighbourly note leaving. Please note church bells are exempt from all Quiet Times. - Yeah, well, I have written about this before. Same goes for holidays. It has its charm, and its inconvenience. We'll see if we miss in Amsterdam.
I wish I had time to add some of my own to the list...Maybe I'll get there in the next week or so before we head out. When you are an expat, your life experiences suddenly take place in a culture and (maybe) language that is not your own. It is hard to not always reflect on how life is different from the one you are used to. I have found living abroad to be mostly fun and exciting, but definitely filled with challenges and frustrations. But we're doing it again - and that's saying something!

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