January 2, 2013

Life in Germany - The first Three Months

After three months in Germany, we have gotten settled and even gotten our feet wet a little. While we will have the opportunity for many more travels and experiences, here is what we have learned so far.

1. ALWAYS carry Euro on you, coins and bills. You may need to use a restroom, and the restroom attendant will give you an ugly German stare down if you don't put a coin in her bowl. And nowhere takes our coveted Visa check card!

2. While I'm talking about Euro…the conversion of Dollars to Euro is NOT 1:1! I'm still learning this lesson!

3. Build up your walking endurance. Seriously! The first few weeks here, I seriously thought I was going to die! Germans walk everywhere! Parking and traffic can be horrific, so walk walk walk!

4. Stairwell Apartment living has its benefits and disadvantages. We like living on base because of the huge convenience for all of us. It allows us to only have one vehicle, Brandon can walk to and from work and come home for lunch. Miles can walk to school. And I can drive, uh walk….lol, Marley to school. We have access to all the U.S. luxuries that others living off base don't.

Now we also get to hear all the things that are going on above us, and I've already been told that our downstairs neighbor can hear us. :) And hiking up three flights of stairs with a screaming child and 14 bags of groceries is not fun!

5. Layers are a necessity! I'm Texan, okay Texican! I'm from the part of Texas that used to be Mexico…I'm FREEZING here! I'm not used to dressing in 5 layers and wearing wool socks. Burr!

6. Run down or get run down! Brandon hates it when I say that, but it's so true. There are no lines or common curtesy. You have to push your way through trains, airport lines, coffee shops and bakeries. If you don't, you'll be there for hours as young and old push you out of the way!

7. Ausfart means exit, very important!

8. Children aren't always allowed or appreciated. My first experience with this was in Ikea. A little girl was sliding down the bunk bed slide of a display. A woman quickly ran over and told the family to take the girl to the kinderzimmen.

9. Kinderzimmens are your friend! Most large shopping malls or stores have FREE childcare while you shop. LOVELY!

10. iTranslate can be your friend. I almost ordered Haggis (a pudding of sheep blood, and organ meat), thankfully I figured out what it was before ordering.

11. Packing snacks, water and meals is a must. Fast food is not available like it is in America.

12. Germans like their rules.

, they are very serious about them! For instance, Germans will stand at a cross walk forever until the light changes. Their standard for rule following can also be a great thing. I left my purse in a changing room, went home and realized it. I drove back, to find several people in the changing area and my purse left untouched. Nice!

13. Warming up your car is a no no. It's actually against the law. A car cannot be running and parked for more than 3 minutes. I DON'T LIKE THIS LAW!

14. Sundays are fun days! Literally, all stores are closed. The Craigslist equivalent is shut down. Sundays are meant for family time. We are adjusting.

15. Personal space. Hmmmmm, how do I explain? There is no personal space. Thats that!

We are loving our new home. Lessons have been learned and I'm sure there will be more to come! For now, Auf Wiedersehen!