I Live In A Place That…(Part One)

….is very different from my own.

I decided to make this into a two or three part post only because there are just that many differences but I didn’t want to overload your minds from the craziness! How thoughtful, right? These are in my opinion what makes Germany different from America. I’ve been compiling this list since November of just random things I see and that happen. After two years of living here I tend to forget all the things that are so different and it’s always fun for me when people come to visit and I show them around and they point out all the little things that are so bizarre! Here we go!

I Live In A Place That…

…Takes pride in farmer’s local goods.
There is a farmer’s market usually in the larger towns a couple days a week. This is a year round thing and the people selling their items all come together in the town center, set up their trucks of fresh foods, and await the masses. 10686809-vegetable-stand-at-a-marketplace-in-mainz-germany-farmers-market
All the people bring their hand baskets and fill them up with veggies, fish, noodles, eggs, breads, and flowers. The Germans reallllllly love their food to be fresh. Every week we buy fresh baked bread and fresh lunch meat from the butcher. For Toblerone, this is his heaven.

…Lets kids play outside without worrying about them.
This is something really special for me to see. Granted, we live in a small neighborhood but the children all get together and play outside until dusk. I’m not just talking pre-teens either. There have been numerous times I’ve seen children around the age of 4 or 5 walking up the hills behind our house and sitting in the flowers for hours. Not one adult around them. playing_1441912c
They are free to be children and somehow the parents are free of worry. I think as a whole, the neighborhood keeps a watch out for the kids (at least I do!) but I just love to see that they feel so safe and so free. Not like in the US where you have to worry about kidnappings and shootings constantly. This, my friends, is what a world is like where guns are not allowed. But the other thing, this reminds me of my childhood. We didn’t spend hours inside in front of computers and the kids don’t do that here at all. They are ALWAYS outside. So nice to see.

…Plays Mmmm Bop on the radio like its a hit song of the moment.
Ha! So true! The radio in Germany is horrendous. SO, SO, SOOOOO bad. I’ll do a post on this another time but they literally will play Hanson, then switch to Bon Jovi, maybe a little Rihanna in there and then back to some outdated Whitney Houston. Young-Hanson-01
And this is all coming from the station that is supposed to play hits from today. But they mostly play the songs made by Americans that never made it in the US (aka. David Hasselhoff…lol) Hence, why I’m currently making more CDs for the car at the moment. Aside from the bad music they think is cool, they also listen to music from all countries such as Spain and Italy. The list goes on but it’s really funny to see them all singing to a Spanish song. Cute little Germans. But I mean, what kind of country am I living in and they don’t even know who Dave Matthews is?!?! Preposterous!!!!!

…Eat meat sandwiches for breakfast.
When Toblerone and I first became an ‘item’ (in America) we used to bring breakfast to work. We worked for the same company so he would meet me around 9am and we would have our morning snack. This consisted of a pretzel roll, tzaziki, and ham or turkey. Looking back at it now, that was his way of doing the “German” breakfast in the US. Poor guy trying to live his German life in the US. Anywho, back on topic!
Here, it’s absolutely normal to sit down for breakfast with rolls, different kinds of bologna (you can see those here), cheese, butter, and jellies. This is a typical German breakfast. I think the idea behind it is to eat as much as possible, then you don’t eat so much for lunch and you have a normal dinner. This could very well be the secret behind the “European” diet. Afterall, Breakfast is the most important meal! Eating sugar for breakfast like pancakes, waffles, and cereal is not allowed here.

…Still smokes in bars/clubs and have cigarette machines on street.
It hasn’t been that long since America stopped smoking in bars and in some places they still do but it’s been long enough that I notice it. Not every bar allows smoking either but many do and it’s so gross. I forgot how gross it was to go home smelling like a giant ashtray! Yuck!! And not to mention there are several cigarette machines in each town. Granted, you need a drivers license to prove your age but it surprises me how many younger kids are smoking. I’m talking 14-16 years old. branding_geldkarte_zigarettenautomat3
May be a little too accessible and a little too accepting if you ask me. People smoke here…the typical European way! When I was younger and I thought about Europeans…I imagined them way posh and smoking cigarettes. Guess that’s kind of true!

So that’s it for part one but part two…and possibly part three will be coming soon!! Stay tuned!!

Until next time, Readers!!! xoxoxoxoxo

European Way of Life

I’ve officially been here three weeks and a day. Can’t believe I’ve survived this long without knowing much of the language. Gooooo me! There are some vast differences (obviously!) between the US and Europe but adjusting to the Europeans way of life has luckily come easy to me. I’ve come to love the way they live and now understand why they are healthy, yet more vibrant and carefree about things. When we were in the US, Toblerone adjusted to our way of life and he loved it at times but there were definitely moments, I could see it in his eyes, he missed home. I now know why.

Going to the Deli section in the US is good but you get your ham, turkey, or bologna. You might get some pre-marinated steaks or chicken and call it good. Here in Germany, the meat section is a place of pride. It’s like a candy store…in a fleshy kind of way! I’m not a huge meat eater but I don’t knock it either. I can remember over the years every time, Toblerone asking me,  “One day I want the meat right off the animal, completely raw! Can you taste how fresh that is???”  Actually, I can’t…or should I say couldn’t. Now that I’m here, all I ever eat is meat or bread that is prepared that day or at that moment.

There is this butcher that was kind of enough to talk to me in English and he explained what each of the meats were that I pointed out in curiosity. He also told me that he comes from a long line of butchers in his family. I asked him how long they had been in business. Wait for it….wait for it, Americans. Since the 1400’s. That’s a LONG time. Can you imagine, first of all, knowing where your family came from and then being a part of this family business that has been around for hundreds upon hundreds of years! Thats amazing to me. We don’t have history like that in the US.

Mmmm…Breakfast!! 🙂 ——————————>

Along with eating fresh meat and fresh bread, these people are some of the most active that I’ve ever seen. I’ll be the first to admit, I’m lazy. Give me a day off and all I want to do is lay down in bed, watch movies, do a puzzle, nap…but not here. Everyone has the mentality to get up and do things. This isn’t a place to sit around and be lazy. There are walking trails EVERYWHERE and they connect into each town most times. There are always people – old, young, families, couples, teenagers, etc., getting out and getting active! Most times I see a lot of people rollerblading, biking, or using their very questionable Nordic trekking sticks. Shown here:

If you don’t have these fancy walking sticks, then you’re a nobody here. Also, it you aren’t active, then you’re pathetic and a waste to society. Ok…thats me just rambling and my feelings about what they think of me when I’m still walking around in my bathrobe at 3pm, inside, cleaning…lol. Whatever, I enjoy my workouts via computer, for now. Thank you very much!

Alcohol is clearly a big thing here, but they don’t make it into a big thing. Americans do. We freak out if a 16 year old is chugging down gallons of vodka but here it’s so casually accepted. You can have a glass of wine with your parents when you’re young and as you get older, you choose your own path. I’ve noticed that no one is excessively drinking or what we know as “binge-drinking.”  I kind of get it now. I think had we grown up in a culture where you aren’t desensitized from alcohol then you learn to control urges and not feel as if it’s some taboo thing. When I was younger, I drank to fit in, then when I hit the drinking age, I drank to have a good time, now I drink with dinner or socializing.

I do know many younger people here 21 -23 years old and they aren’t talking about drinking or getting out to the nearest club to get smashed every weekend. In fact, they prefer, at that age to sit and talk and have a glass or two of wine. If only I was that sophisticated at that age.  They are all also VERY serious about not drinking and driving. They have insane laws here if they catch you drinking and driving. Tobi and I drank a beer in the car, thats legal, but if your blood alcohol level gets past a certain point and you get pulled over, prepare to suffer SERIOUS consequences. Whenever we are out drinking, we always decide early who is not drinking and you get the finger pointed at you if you drink more than two beers without water in between. Alcohol free beer is also quite classy here.

I think this may be where all these crazy mixing ideas came from but they mix everything together here and it’s actually quite good! Here’s a few items that I’ve come to love and order on the regular:

Spezi – It’s cola with orange soda mixed. Quite amazing and is my new favorite!

Apfelsaftschorle – Apple juice mixed with carbonated soda water. It’s pretty good, although it’s the closest I can find to apple juice which is my favorite thing in the US. Not too big on the carbonated crap.

Radler – This is a lager beer mixed with lemonade. It’s actually pretty good and a good summer drink.

Gespritzter – Cola mixed with beer. This is seriously SO good. For those of us that want to drink beer and don’t actually prefer the taste, this is amazing. I tried it after a long day at the Christmas markets with Toblerone’s Tante (aunt) and couldn’t get enough! It’s like drinking coke!

Wine – they mix everything from cola to sparkling water or sprite with white wine. It’s pretty good, but not a favorite.

Along with the crazy drinks, there are crazy cakes (we’re talking 12-14 layers people) and amazing family get togethers. I can not let this one go without being mentioned. When you get invited for dinner, you are with the entire family. Everyone crowds around the table, talking, wine, great food served by course rather than all at once. Dinner finishes and dessert is licked off the plate and you don’t move from that point. You sit for another 2 hours or more and talk, tell stories, laugh, get angry, laugh again. It’s a cool set-up. I cherish these moments because this is not a custom in the US.

Spending time with the family is good, however, going to the Spa with them is NOT ok! I have yet to experience this, I’m terrified of seeing Uncle Frank wagging his willy around. Yes, my friends, nudity is accepted…and also co-ed in spas. You sit down for a nice relaxing moment in the sauna and BAM! men and women, all shapes and sizes are flaunting their goods like there is no tomorrow. Maybe I’m a prude, but growing up, this is not a custom we are clearly used to. Toblerone is dying to go to the spa with me every day and I can’t bring myself to go. I’m shakin in my boots to think about the idea of having to see this! Oh these Europeans, they never cease to amaze me…which I thought would be impossible. I’ve done it all, I thought, but oh how naive I truly am!

The Architecure is amazing but not whats inside. I’m sure eventually, I’ll get over my body issues and insecurities and give it a try….blindfolded. This place shown below is amazing. It’s in a town called Bad Aibling near Munich. You can participate in many very interesting attractions such as listening to underwater instrumental music, hot chocolate massage, 20 minute water symphony (a water show) from the comfort of a bean bag, or a scented sauna. How could I not want to make naked friends at this playground? I forgot to mention…it’s CHEAP! It’s just not fair….not fair at all.

More on my first German lesson later. Stay tuned, readers! It was quite interesting! 🙂