Saturday, March 9, 2013

The weirdest thing about Germany...

"It's the little differences. I mean they got the same shit over there that they got here, but it's just, just there it's a little different" - Vincent Vega

I've decided that the weirdest thing about Germany is that they get so much of their media and culture from America. As a kid I always imagined that other countries and languages just had mostly their own music, movies etc. but it seems like in Germany this is not the case. You go into a bar and you hear American rock music and it's just totally normal. In America if you went to a regular coffee shop and they were playing Rammstein or Die Aerzte people would definitely be very confused and maybe even annoyed. It might be because Germans downplay their nationalism so much, but it always catches me off guard.

Unfortunately it's because of all the similarities that the "little differences" catch you off guard all the time. Most things are the same, so you get really confused when they aren't. The recycling, for example, is always divided up by the type of material it is. They are VERY intense about it, and I really don't understand the system at all. Usually I just awkwardly stand nearby and wait for someone else to put something in the trash like the socially awesome person I am.

In other news, I'm considering perhaps putting a sign around my neck that says: "Langsam, bitte!" (Slowly, please) because while I've become quite adept at nodding and smiling convincingly, 50% of the time I have no idea what people are saying.

Bis Bald!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Hallo aus Deutschland!

I'm hijacking my politics blog to document all of the fantastic things I do in Germany! I still write political things, but generally I don't show them to people because only people who study politics would actually be interested. Hopefully Germany is much more fun.

So yeah, I'll just talk about what's different from the states.
1) A lot of people don't speak English that well, or about as well as I speak German. I know this seems a bit redundant, but everyone, including the Germans, acts as though anyone can get by with only English. You can, but you won't be able to actually interact or become friends with people and it makes even simple tasks like buying a bike very difficult on your own. My German is getting better slowly but there are a lot of nuances of the German language like gender and word order that make little grammar mistakes inevitable.

2) Smaller portions. Since I'm used to being in an all you can eat ding hall or at home, this part is really difficult. I'm literally always hungry. I'm hungry right now and I just ate a whole pizza. I constantly crave a continental breakfast with eggs and pancakes and bacon. Between the portions and bike-riding, which pretty much everyone does here, I'll probably lose any extra padding I might have.

3) Beer is cheap and everywhere. This is pretty stereotypical, but it's true. This place would be a true utopia for anyone under legal drinking age in America. Unfortunately, I'm already 22 but cheap beer never goes out of style. Also, when I say cheap beer, it really tastes like imported German beer that you would get for about 9 dollars in America. I don't think that Germans are huge fans of ale, which is my favorite kind of beer, but somehow I'll muddle through.

That's all for that list right now, I'm sure if I walked outside I could think of like ten more, but that's all that comes to mind at the moment. Mostly Germans have been ridiculously and unnecessarily nice to me, so everything is going alright. I just need to ACTUALLY learn how to communicate with people who don't speak English because the language barrier is killing me. Anyway, I have to go pump up some bike tires now, also aufwiedersehen  and hopefully I will write some more over the next week.

PS - I'm really perplexed that it's actually snowing in America and not here, I feel a little bit jipped