Ew, I’ve been so horrible at posting since I’ve been here. To be fair, I’m kept very busy, and when I do have down time I spend it talking to my roommates and otherwise socializing. We’ve even had Robin Williams movie nights in the living room of the house.
But since I’m here now, I thought I’d share with you a few observations I’ve made thus far of German life in general. Remember, this is the product of me having been here only a week and a half, so those of you who have actually lived here may have different thoughts. I’ll also be making a separate post about German singing culture.
First of all, German rainstorms are not to be taken lightly. The sky could be perfectly blue, and all of a sudden out of nowhere, you’ll be soaking wet. This is especially likely if you’re out and about in town in your concert attire and dress shoes, and if you don’t bring your umbrella everywhere you go, well, then it’s guaranteed to downpour.
Germans also really love their carbs. This one probably comes as no surprise, but I don’t think I’ve eaten a single raw vegetable since I’ve been here, or a meal that didn’t include meat and some type of bread or pasta. I love carbs more than the average person, but if we didn’t have a lot of walking to do every day, there would be problems by now.
When it comes to sit-down meals, the timeline is much slower here. You can sit down at a restaurant and wait twenty minutes for someone to begrudgingly show up to take your order. The food comes out fast, which is nice, but if you have any sort of deadline at all, you better ask for the check (Rechnung), and don’t be surprised if the server rolls their eyes before meandering off to fetch it. In fact, most people who work in customer service are about as cranky as can be. On the other hand, German public transit is absolutely punctual and very efficient, so I’m all confused.
When you walk around a public place in the States, it’s pretty easy to find a trash can. That’s not so much the case here, so the cleanliness of public areas is particularly impressive. I don’t think I’ve seen any trash on the ground at all, even with the lack of trash cans. Dog poop is another story.
Sundays are pretty dead around here, which can be a little bit of a shock if you’re not used to that (and I’m certainly not). You have to plan ahead with groceries and errands and such. That said, Germans don’t just stay at home on Sundays, oh no. Several friends and I stumbled upon on a wine festival last Sunday that was clearly the place to be. And by the way, the wine here is just as good as the beer.
Unlike what I experienced earlier this summer in London and especially Paris, fashion is, shall we say, not a high priority in Germany. One of my colleagues pointed out that people here dress like they’re still in the 90s. We’ve seen a lot of interesting fashion choices, which is ironic since there are several chic clothing shops in the immediate vicinity.
In terms of language, it’s pretty easy to get by with minimal Deutsch skills. Most customer service people speak enough English to help you out if you get stuck, which is refreshing after having been to Brazil earlier this year. They’re not always pleased about it, but if you at least try to speak German first, they’ll smile and be nice to you, especially if you look like you just got off a 10-hour flight.
So there you have some of my initial observations. Stay tuned for more!