Neighborhood Street Party

This past weekend the annual Street party in our neighborhood happened. This is basically all the neighbors on our street get together and have a BBQ and just hang out. Well, Toblerone and I have been here for 2.5 years but this was the first time we were invited. HA! Still makes me giggle a bit. People know I’m American but because I speak English I have the plague but I was happy for the invite regardless. I think it’s safe to say the chances of me ever getting my “Welcome to the neighborhood” gift basket are slim.
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I made my ever popular broccoli salad (thanks mom for the recipe!) and brought our giant American cooler and our grill down to the street. We were introducing ourselves to our neighbors for the first time. Literally, the people who live next door. How crazy is that?! We did our introductions quickly and then the rest of the night sat with the only two people we know. Everyone else still avoided me completely. Toblerone got a few people speaking with him about soccer and what not but still, I had the plague so they didn’t linger too long. Huge difference between the US and here, in my opinion, when it comes to being neighborly.

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Later on at night after we ate the kids all gathered around a fire pit with their sticks. I started to get excited for marshmallows or S’Mores (even though they don’t know what that is here!) The next thing I know they are twisting dough around their sticks. At this point in my mind, I’m thinking this is a special kind of crazy! Then they explain to me that they are simply just making little breads! So of course I had to get in on the fun…until I realized I had to stand in front of a fire for 45 minutes! Joke is on the American! But it was fun and cool to try something different. A far cry from the sweet marshmallows in the US. Leave it to the Germans to make bread at a camp fire! I had to laugh!

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I was home and in bed by midnight. Do I think my neighbors might actually say “Hi” to me now that they’ve seen me up close? Doubtful. But, I put in the effort! I said I would do all that I can to fit in to this country and it’s not up to me to teach people how to be friendly. I’ll chock it up to a culture issue and move along! There are 2 families that we are friends with so that’s enough for me! At least I have someone to go to in case of a sugar emergency!

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxoxo

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11 thoughts on “Neighborhood Street Party

  1. Germans, especially in small towns, are slow to warm up to strangers. And you will always be a “Fremde” (stranger) no matter how long you live there. But it helps to smile and greet them everytime you pass them, or ask them a question (everyone always wants to be helpful, a good ice breaker).
    Your experience reminds me of the first few yrs of living in Appalachia, here in VA. “Native” people in stores who saw me over the first few years hardly acknowledged me. Now, after 8 yrs, I have actually gotten more than a tongue-tied “hi”. But I won’t ever have the fantasy of being anything other than a flatlander with a funny accent.
    I noticed that most of the people who moved here (the “Come-heres”) band together and form their own cliques and communities based on common interests.

    • Oh indeed, I will always be a Fremde! I still smile and do the typical politeness garbage but it gets old when I say hello and ask them how they are and they just stare at me blankly! My German isn’t perfect but is comprehendible! Ah, it’s ok! I like being the girl everyone is afraid of! 🙂 This year I’m hand delivering Xmas cookies 🙂 because at the end of the day, I’m a fantastic neighbor, dammit!!!

  2. I think it also depends on the area and the village itself. I have found people in the area I live in now to be super friendly however this was not the case in the village I lived in previously. It also helps when you attempt to speak the language. How’s your German? 🙂

  3. I’ve never even met half the people in my building, never mind the house next door! But that’s what you get for living in a city… no street parties here!

    • Its pretty common I guess! I mean granted when I lived in Apartments when I was younger I would say a passing “hello” to the neighbors but was often able to carry on a friendly conversation for a bit. I don’t need to hang out with this people, I just want them to say hi back, is all!

      • Hello. Sorry to barge into the discussion like that 🙂

        I find this really strange, your neighbors not saying hello back. OK, Germans are perhaps not the fuzzy-friendly type of people, but they are at least very polite. I live in a small town and even strangers greet me, nod, smile. Perhaps it’s some local mentality. Try to not take it personally.

        Greetings,
        Eva

      • No! Please do join the conversation! The more the merrier!

        I think it could be a “region” thing. I did learn that many neighbors here are from other countries like Spain, Poland, and Russia so one would think that they would be open to other “Auslanders” but for some reason…with me they are just so stand-offish!

  4. I am sorry to hear your neighbors seem to avoid you for speaking English. I have heard that in Germany it is up to the newcomers to go and introduce themselves. I think it may depend on where you are. I have heard of people living on the economy where their neighbors were friendly and then others where they seem to go out of their way to avoid and/or be rude to Americans. I have never lived off post here though so I don’t have any personal experience in that area. Knock on wood I’ve never been anywhere on the economy where people were rude to me for needing to speak English, although I have had a few blank stares when I’ve attempted German.

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