April 08, 2014

Life In Germany So Far, What I’m Loving And Not So Much Loving; Part 1.....

Well…It’s hard to believe it, but we’ve now been living here for three months. We’re settled, the house is 95% complete and we’re back in a routine which for us, after six months of living apart in different countries is heaven.

Knowing that my blog has been in the pipeline for some time, I’ve slowly been writing about previous trips and the long awaited ‘this is our new home’ blog post. In all honesty, I’ve been holding off on writing this post purely because, as time goes on it’s funny how as you adjust to living in a new culture and get used to things.

Some of the aspects of life here that really surprised (read: really, really, annoyed me) me have now fallen into the "Argh! That’s how Germany roll’s" box. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still the little day to day aspects of life that really give you the you-know-what’s, like receiving letters from the bank that we can't read and having to ask someone to translate them for us as google translate isn't ideal for translating formal documents. BUT, I feel like we’re now at the point of some understanding with how this country works. 

There’s no denying it or hiding from the obvious, it’s completely and utterly different from life back home. And considering the language barrier, it’s a given. At times whilst reading my blog entries, you might feel that I’m just whinging the whole time or that I’m being ungrateful about what I’m experiencing. But please stick with me here, I’m not. I am completely grateful and appreciative of our current circumstances and all of the wonderful experiences we’ve had to date (and are coming). However, I don’t think you are ever truly prepared for living a life in another country where english is a second language and the culture is A LOT different, until you are fully immersed in it. 

So here’s a few items on my list about what I’m loving about Germany at the moment and what I’m not so much loving (to be continued…..) 


We are fortunate enough to live in a lovely part of town filled with delicious backereis and deli’s, bio-food stores, florists and restaurants; close to the river and the city. Because the city only a 15-20 minute walk and quite compact and easy to navigate around by foot, this is my usual mode of transportation! You can read more about Sachsenhausen here

Another tick to add to the list. An hour, hour and a half max by plane and we could be anywhere in central Europe. Paris is about three and a half hours by train, and we can be in Berlin in just under four. The train is one of my favourite ways to travel, they are so comfortable, fast, affordable (most of the time) and it’s a really enjoyable way to take in the scenery. Chris has a company car and now that we are settled, we have started exploring parts of Germany and France on the weekends. It’s exciting, discovering villages that we may not have visited if we were relying on trains. 

I know, I know. You are all thinking, wait this is one of the highlights? But it IS! It’s so cheap, the French, Spanish, Italian, you name it. And another fabulous thing that falls under the wine category is the different size wines you can purchase by the glass in restaurants. Yes, I’ll have a large one please! 


Queue hopping
I think this is my biggest one. This one really bothers me, more so due to the fact I don’t have enough of a grasp of the language to tell someone what I really think if they push in front of me (partly because the Germans love using the same word in many different scenarios and not only does entschuldigung mean excuse me, it means sorry). There’s no chivalry or etiquette in this country when it comes to queues, it’s every man and woman for themselves. In the deli’s, people will just push in front of you. In shops, if you’re in a long queue and a new checkout opens, before you can even react, people just zoom over and are out of there before you’ve even had time to gather your thoughts about moving. At a luggage carousel, if you have one inch of space between you & the carousel, someone WILL stand in front of you, completely blocking your view. And think nothing of it. Recently, in two separate occasions, I’ve been waiting patiently in a queue with about 10 items. Both times, I’ve had women with one items start firing off in German what I assume to be them saying ‘Can I please go in front of you?’. I’ve been so aggrieved with all of this queue hopping business and not being able to communicate that, and I’m a little ashamed to admit this, I’ve pretended I don’t know what they are saying (technically, I really don’t. But yes, I have the gist). Because they can’t be bothered having to explain in English that they want to effectively, push in front of me, they leave me alone. Hey, I’ve got to take my kicks any way I can get them! God knows what they are muttering about me, I’ll just stay blissfully unaware! 

The banking system
Germany fared quite well out of the GFC as the banks are very tight on consumer spending. Ridiculously small daily cash limits, along with ridiculously small weekly limits. Credit cards are difficult to obtain and aren’t widely recognised. Once you do have a credit card, you only receive a line of credit for 30 days so come the end of the month the entire lump sum is taken out of your account. Does this really make it a credit card?! 

The in-flexibility and love of paper
I booked a train ticket a few weeks ago & accidentally chose to have a paper copy to print off instead of it being sent to my mobile. Do you think it’s possible to now have it sent to my mobile? Nope. In no uncertain terms, IT MUST be printed out. ON A4 PAPER. And the paper MUST be white. And the ticket MUST be presented to the ticket master.

There is a blog post from a fellow Australian, Liv Hambrett, who also lives here in Germany and she sums things up nicely. To read "What I Know About Germans", click here

No comments:

Post a Comment

Pin It button on image hover