Friday, November 20, 2009

Germany vs. America

Nooo...I am not going to compare which is BETTER!

I have, however, been compiling a list of Differences between America and Germany. I feel like I have seen many different places in my life, I have LiveD in Utah, Florida, Illinois, Georgia, and Idaho, driven across the entire USA twice And been to the majority of the other states traveling with basketball or just vacations...HOWEVER- after moving to Germany and living here for ONE WEEK, I think I experienced more different things/people/customs/way of life than ever in my life before that. Who ever knew one culture could be SO completely different from another, yet similar in a lot of ways too. I often times find myself comparing American things to the German people, and I am not doing it to be prideful of my country, I am simply doing it because I am fascinated by the differences/similarities.

I do, however, believe that Americans (because of the many cultures we do have) are very open to new ideas, and are interested in new ideas/people/things, whereas here in Germany not so much. They have been doing these things for thousands of years, why would they change??

Ok- So here are a few from my lovely little list of differences:

1) Wearing tights/scarves/socks is a MUST. No flip flops :)

When we first moved here, it was probably 80 degrees for the first couple of weeks, so, naturally, I didn't put socks on Colton's feet. I can't even count how many people came up and rubbed his poor little cold feet. Little do they know that his feet are Always Sweaty!!! Even now when it is cold, I take off his socks and they are wet from his sweat.

Also, if you are not wearing tights or a scarf, you are probably going to catch a cold.

And my favorite of all, when we were in Berlin it was about 45-50 degrees and sunny. Yes, I wore flip-flops ( my feet don't get cold) and we walked out of the store and my mom overheard someone say, "That lady, she is wearing flip-flops!" (yes, they said it in English). We could not stop laughing. I guess everyone is very concerned here about other people's toes staying warm! :)

2) Shopping Trip

Okay, so grocery shopping is Not the same AT ALL as we are used to. First of all, many people walk to the grocery store (even if they are very old) I see old couples walking to the grocery store every day, in the cold/rain/sunshine/whatever they are walking. We live 50 yards from the grocery store, and Uh, normally I would drive, but seeing all these people walking motivates me to make the journey on FOOT!
Also, everyone brings there Own grocery bags/baskets. You have to buy them at the counter if you don't provide your own.
I am pretty sure they SHOP daily for their groceries, because we look RiDiculous with our basketful of FOOD.
They do not begin scanning the food until everything is placed on the belt, I MEAN EVERYTHING! This is fine for most people, because they only have a few items they are shopping for. The Stucki's however, NOOO, the cashier has to wait about 10 minutes for us to unload every last item. It is, however, a rrreally good thing that they wait for us, because once they start scanning, Oh my, I have never seen someone scan food so fast. There is about a foot of space and if you don't load your stuff into your cart quick enough- it will be pushed off the edge. It's really quite funny actually.
One more detail about grocery shopping, DO not put your own debit card in the machine, or you will get chewed out in German- wow. I actually said, "Calm down" in English to the woman.

3) As I said before, People walk everywhere, no matter the weather, or how many kids they have. They have the COOLEST kinderwagons (buggy strollers) with pillows piled on top of the children, and when they get older- sleeping bags that strap into the strollers. We Did invest in one of those. I have often contemplated why we don't have these in America..hmmm, no one walks in the winter with their children, or the summer- we are lazy!

4) Double-beds. No, they don't share a king/queen size bed with their spouse. They have two twin beds connected. Sepearate sheets/separate blankets/and pillows that are twice the size of a normal pillow. I really kind of like it, but do miss the good old King Size bed with HUGE blankets :)

5) No one wears their shoes in their house. Now this one, I like, but mainly because we have hardwood floors and you can see every little thing. They have a rack by the door where they take their shoes off, leave them, and put on shoes "only to be worn in the house." I have made Matt follow this German tradition, and we have our own little shoe rack outside the door. I'll have to take a picture when I get my camera :)

6) So..Matt had a birthday a couple of months ago, and everyone kept asking him if he was going to bring cake to practice. What? I thought the cake was provided for you if it was your birthday? Not IN germany!

7) Okay, more on the walking- A girl came over to visit us and I asked her how far away she lived, she said, oh only 30 minutes. But-- She lives in our town, and I am pretty sure from one end to the other is NOT 30 minutes. I kind of forgot about the comment, and as she was getting ready to leave somehow I found out she had walked over. So, I said- YOU ARE NOT WALKING, if you live 30 minutes away- that will take forever! She said, oh no, 30 minutes walking! I guess here you have to specify if it is by car or foot? oops.

Well, I could go on and on with the stories, but here are a few others in brief:
They have 1 and 2 euro coins, so you have an extra lot of change-no bills for those!
They arE GREAT about recycling, and often times have numerous garbage cans.
They wear their wedding ring on the left hand when they are engaged, and the right when married-- I guess Matt and I are only engaged here :)
The Eis Cafe's are still going strong in the winter, and I see people walking down the street with an ice cream cone in hand-- love it!

Okay, I am going to have to wait for another day to continue my list of differences. It's not better or worse than what I am used to, Just different. (maybe just a little bit less convenient though)


Stacy said...

I liked this post Chelsey! We might be moving to Germany after Hawaii - but I don't know how long you guys will be there. Anyways, it is so fun to live in different places with different cultures! Hawaii is so much more different than what I expected, but not as different as Germany I'm sure. So glad you are getting to live there for a while!

karrie jo Winder said...

I love it! I wear flip flops all winter long so I am sure I would get some strange looks from people. I am glad to see you guys are doing so good. I hope you have fun when Mikkel comes to visit!

Taylor and Lyndsi said...

Wow...crazy to think how different it is! I talked to your mom today at Josh's thing and she was telling me that no one uses phones over there and it was wierd and then she landed in Chicago and everyone was on thier phones! Crazy about the ring thing! I didn't know any of this stuff about Germany!

Selina said...

Hey! I just recognized your blog and I think it’s really interesintg what you write! I hope you don’t mind that I added you to my reading list on my blog. I’m a German exchange student in Memphis and write about the cultural differences between America and Germany. I think the readers of my blog could be also interested in your topic. It’d be cool if you have a chance to link to my blog on your site, too. (
Have a good week and a happy holiday!

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