Happy Hump Day friends! It’s definitely been a busy couple of weeks! I enrolled in a couple of German classes – one of which is 4 hours/day everyday – and I’m really hoping doing this puts me on a path to fluency or at least to know enough to be able to work in a pub or biergarten (gotta dream big right?). I also registered to take the GRE so I can apply for graduate school programs and since standardized testing is not one of my many talents, I’ve been studying my bum off for it.
All this learning is causing my brain to melt so I felt it was time to take a break and bring you another episode in my “Observe and Report” series where I ramble on about random things I find amusing about living here. Enjoy!
Spice: If you like spicy food, Germany may not be for you. I need to do more research about the local Thai and Indian restaurants to be 100% sure, but I’m fairly confident spicy food just does not exist here. You can buy some spices at the stores for when cooking at home, but in general, if you are grabbing a bite to eat out and it says that it’s spicy or the doner kebab place asks if you want “the hots,” don’t be afraid. Even folks who think Big Red gum is spicy (you know who you are) would be able to tolerate it. I may need to start carrying chili powder in my purse.
Metric System: I’ve been able to switch from Fahrenheit to Celsius pretty easily but still have a little bit of trouble grasping the metric system, especially when cooking. This is primarily because all my recipes are generally in cups/tablespoons/etc and old habits die hard. I’m not one of those people who can naturally cook a dish so I end up throwing amounts that sorta look like they are in the general realm and hope for the best. Fortunately, food is fairly forgiving when it comes to being off by a little of this or that. However, when purchasing yoga mats via Amazon.de, one might want to look up the measurement conversion to be sure one knows what size they are really purchasing…
Dogs Off Leash: Not only do people bring their furry friends with them everywhere (which I love – puppies make everything better always), but it’s rare to see them on leashes. I don’t know if every German dog owner has enlisted the help of Cesar Milan or what but they are so well-behaved. They don’t bark at or chase me as I run and they actually listen to their owners. It’s kinda unsettling.
Professional Power Walkers: I’m generally a fast walker (Jerry yells at me to slow down all the time), but Germans take it to the extreme. It kind of feels like you’re on the Autobahn but with walking. You think you’re moving along at a brisk pace and feeling good about yourself and then all of a sudden, here comes a German on your tail who easily passes you and rides off into the sunset. That’s what walking around the city feels like. Stay to the right.
Crates of Beer: You can buy beer by the crate instead of by the box and for some reason that amuses me. You get a better deal but you also get your very own recycling container to put your empties in — as if we needed yet another receptacle to keep up with…
Olympic Park: I’m seriously in love with the Olympic Park here. Home to the 1972 Summer Olympics, it quickly became one of my favorite places to run for several reasons: 1) It’s beautiful, well-maintained, and has a ton of different paths you can take 2) How can you not be inspired while running down the same roads as Olympians 3) You can buy pretzels and crepes right in the middle of it and 4) It is the only area in the city that any sort of elevation. We did some research, because in a city that is flatter than a pancake, a hill that big doesn’t seem natural. Turns out, the hill was built on rubble from destroyed buildings from WWII. Nuts right?
Mailmen: This is how the postmen deliver mail…
Forced Rest Day: Other countries in Europe are similar, but Sundays here are essentially forced rest days. With few exceptions, everything is closed entirely or only open for a few hours in the morning (primarily bakeries, naturlich). It’s pretty great because you can be lazy and not feel bad about it. I would do soooo many things but I just can’t so might as well binge watch Arrested Development again.
Gotta Be Outside: Germans seem to practically live their lives outside the house. From what I’ve gleaned based on observation and conversation, Germans don’t watch much TV and instead prefer to be outside, regardless of the weather or temperature. It can be 3 degrees Celsius (~37F) but people are still found eating and drinking outside pubs and cafes. I personally prefer to not freeze my balls off, but I still love them for it.
This has nothing to do with the list above but Jerry finally mustered up the courage to get a haircut last weekend. He had been stressing because the little German he knows does not include advising a stylist how to “fade” or “slightly trim my pompadour.” But he finally went and it wasn’t nearly as traumatizing as he thought it was going to be. It would appear hairdressers in Munich are more capable with less instruction. He didn’t say anything more than “I need a haircut” and was out of there in 5 minutes looking snazzy.
I’ve included before and after pictures for your viewing pleasure. The Before is on the left (seriously look at the size of that thing) and the After is on the right. Looking good Jerbear!