Wednesday, December 4, 2013
embracing life in Germany
A little while back, I wrote this post on what it's been like for me to move across the world. Sometimes I feel that, unintentionally, I focus on the negative side of this experience. All the things I have had to give up, all the things that are different here.
Recently, everyone has been talking about this list. This got me thinking about my own experience here in Germany over the past year, and how many good things have happened. Most of my adjusting has been to the language, but there were some cultural surprises here for me as well. (like being served lunch for breakfast). I may never like Sauerkraut or ever get used to capitalizing every single noun but there are many elements of German culture that I love. And there are many things that I know I would miss if we were to move again soon.
1. Hausschuhe: This was on the list mentioned above, and I couldn't agree more- Germans love their house shoes! And I am completely on board. I now even have separate house shoes for summer, winter, and Christmas (see above). I also am no longer surprised when visiting friends and relatives in their homes to be offered a pair of their's to wear.
2. Incredibly long compound words: One thing I love about the German language is how simple it is to create new words...by stringing the old ones together to make one word. This awakens the poet it me, as it's possible to use one word to describe what takes an entire sentence of English.
My favorite example of this: Waldeinsamkeit. (translation: the feeling of being alone in the forest)
3. No jay-walking: I'll just admit, jay-walking makes me nervous. (this was a problem for me in Dublin, where no one seems to even pay attention to the lights). Here in Marburg, no one looks at you weird, if you wait patiently for the light to change despite the fact that there are no cars around.
4. Christmas: Germans do Christmas excellently. I love how many traditions there are here that don't revolve around shopping. And of course, who can visit a Christmas market and not fall in love? (again, see photo above)
Related to this is the fact that since living here, I have fallen in love with snow. In Vancouver, I was never a snow person. (I mean, let's face it. In Vancouver, the best place for snow is on the mountains. You can look at it often, and even visit it if you want, but you don't have to walk through the dirty mess every day.) However, I think Marburg shows it's best side when there's snow. It's hard to live here and not fall for it's charm!
5. Bread: I am a bread person. And lucky for me, so are most Germans. There's a bakery walking distance from pretty much anywhere (a bit like Starbucks in Vancouver I suppose).
And while we're on the subject of food, let me just say that I have had a bit of an up and down relationship with German culinary traditions. However I do appreciate a good Auflauf and I like that people here seem to eat with more regard for what's in season than at home. (the classic example is of course Spargel, (asparagus) which everyone goes crazy for in the spring.) Also, Glühwein is now a Christmas staple for me and I prefer sweet popcorn to salty.
so there you have it. just a few of the things I love about living here!