Every culture has its own specifics and obscurities. I thought that I already know everything about the German culture because I was growing up watching German TV programs, but while living there I realized, how wrong I was. There were still some things, that triggered a cultural shock, so here is my list:
- beer – of course, Germany is known for its beer, but… I didn’t suppose to see it so often and everywhere. You see it on every step you make, during the day, either in hands of consumers or emptied on the floor. During the evenings is usual to go for a beer in a pub or to have it while watching television. But seriously every day? It sort of felt like one beer per day keeps the doctor away, does it really?
- rents – if you want to buy a flat or a house in Munich, then you need to be a millionaire 🙂 . So instead of owning a flat, people live on their own in rented apartments or in WGs (Wohngemeinschaft = shared flat). The prices for a room in a WG start from around 450€ and up, depending on which part of the town you live.
- Bavaria is full of money – the work market in Munich is booming, so there are more jobs then rooms! Getting a job here is easier than getting a roof.
- Stau – you do not know what this word means? Go to Germany and drive a car there… you will soon get the meaning 😉 .
- insurance – there are all kinds of insurance types for everything. If there is slightly a chance of a risk, then this means that something can happen, so that is why you need to have an insurance for this. But on the other hand what if that doesn’t happen?
- recycling – Germany is for sure the land of recycling. Buying plastic bottles has Pfand, so you get the money back if you bring back the plastic bottle. But other plastic waste goes into Gelber Sack (yellow bag), which is taken every two weeks… What I noticed was, that the bag was getting bigger and bigger every day and in two weeks it was totally full. It made me think how much plastic waste we produce… It was just terrible to see this massive bags lying on the street and waiting to be picked… Insane!
- working hours – usually the work starts at 9 o’clock and ends at 18. During this time you need to take at least 30 minutes to an hour of a break, which is usually used for lunch. This means you come home in the evening, so you need to organize yourself if you want to do something for yourself.
- flatland – if you want to see the mountains, then you need to drive for an hour to do that 🙂 .
- trains – are the most convenient way of transport. Germany has a great train net, the only downside is… construction work! Sometimes to reach your desired destination will take some more time 🙂 .
- sports – Bavarian people are really active and in shape. If you want to climb in the gym, you will need to get used to the crowd and waiting for your line…
- football – if you’re not a football fan as me, then you will find it difficult to keep up the football excitement here…
While living in Germany I realized, that the North is in comparison to the South more organized and regulated, but on the other hand also more limited. For sure the South is a bit chaotic, but exactly this creates room for spontaneity and breaks the routine. But nevertheless, it is all about the balance 🙂 .