Monday, August 24, 2015

Impressions of a Kentuckian living in Deutschland

Hello all!! I know I have been absent a while, but moving overseas is quite a time-consuming venture. I am officially living in Germany now. I made the move in mid-May :) I am often asked about the differences between America and Germany, so after living here for 100 days I am ready for my analysis.

There are castles EVERYWHERE. Large castles, small castles, castles on hills, castles in the woods. They're amazing pieces of history. 

People in Germany love their bicycles! In the city, you see as many bicycles, if not more, than automobiles. In fact, I would venture to guess that there are more bicycles that automobiles in Germany overall. It's rather amazing and impressive.

Speaking of automobiles, the cars are much smaller in Germany. You rarely ever see an SUV.

Rain or shine, hot or cold, Germans love being outdoors. Germans love going on walks and city strolls. And if the destination is less than 2 miles away, they shun their automobiles in favor of a bike ride or a walk.

This also applies to eating. Almost every restaurant and café has as many tables outside as they have inside; and in spring and summer almost everyone is eating outside.

The murder rate in Germany is extraordinarily low. In fact, anytime a murder is committed it becomes huge news because of how rare it is.

If you want to go shopping on a Sunday in Germany, you can forget it. Virtually everything is closed. Out of milk on a Sunday? Well, you better go find a cow ;)

Almost everyone in Germany gets about 6 WEEKS of paid vacation per year!

Also, Germans love their holidays. There are 13 paid holidays per year in Germany.

Spoiler alert: Germans love beer.

In Germany, there is a bakery or a café every 50 feet. They are everywhere. Pastries and cappuccinos galore.

On a related note, coffee is much less expensive in Germany. The average cappuccino is about 2.50 here.

Many more people smoke in Germany than in the states. So although people are in better shape physically here due to the bicycling and the walking, the smoking probably cancels it out.

Germans love their paperwork! If you want to get anything done in Germany, be prepared for a barrage of paperwork and documentation accompanying each and every task.

College tuition is free in German. All public universities in Germany allow students to attend without having to pay tuition. Universities are financed and subsidized by the state, so they are able to do this. The only exception is private universities, but there are only a handful of those anyway.

Water is almost always served at room temperature in Germany. Many other drinks are as well.

The architecture in Germany is amazing. In the states, there are subdivisions everywhere in which each and every house looks virtually identical. You never see that here. No matter how large the city or how small the village, they are full of a variety of colors, styles, and personalities.

The roads are crazy narrow in the cities and towns. It's like they were built for horse and buggy. In fact, I think they were.

Women can take A YEAR of paid maternity leave in Germany, and can even take 3 years (the last two of which would be unpaid) if they wish - and their job is still fully-protected.

Men can also take paternity leave in Germany. The labor laws are incredibly family-friendly.

The people in Germany are little more reserved than in the states. The Kentuckian in me loves to start conversations with strangers. When I do this over here, people are initially a little surprised, but then they immediately become very warm.

As far as friendliness though, there is no difference whatsoever. I find German people to be incredibly friendly and helpful.

Germans love American culture. Almost every radio over here is tuned to English music stations. And you see American flag T-shirts everywhere.

Random observation: David Hasselhoff is a God over here. For the life of me, I cannot understand that. I mean Knight Rider was a good show and all, but c'mon. 

Virtually everyone recycles in Germany. In fact, you get about 25 cents back for every plastic bottle you recycle, so there is a financial incentive!

Germans are much more open with public displays of affection. I like this.

Pastries are an acceptable (and recommended) addition to every single meal over here :)

Stores close much earlier here in Germany. Most grocery stores close at 6 or 7pm.

Most Germans under the age of 35 speak English fairly well.

German chocolate is out of this world. In fact, out of this universe. Anyone who knows me knows that this makes me very happy.

Living in the states, I thought were maybe 10 kinds of bread. However, living in Germany I've come to realize that there are approximately 2 million kinds of bread. It will take a while to sample them all.

Germans love to toast their drinks before a meal.

Germany is an incredibly advanced country in terms of environmental awareness. You see solar panels everywhere on roofs, solar-powered farms, and huge windmills everywhere utilizing wind's energy.

Overall, living over here is fascinating. There are some things I like better about the states, and some things I like better about Germany. Neither is better than the other, they are just different :-) each in their own way.