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Calm Down, We All Live On The Same Planet


Have you ever seen such a huge snail? I knew I had three choices when I saw the snail. 

  1. Kiss it to see if it'd turn into a prince like frogs do. But I'm actually kinda anti-kissing animals. 
  2. Eat it. Because that's what Europeans do, right? But I'm kosher, so I passed on that, too. 
  3. Take a selfie with it. Ah, that was easy enough.  
I'm not sure what I was expecting when I flew into Germany, but I wasn't expecting it to look ... normal. 

When flying from the Netherlands to Germany, I remember looking out the window and thinking, "Wow. It looks just like America."

I guess landscape is all the same from the sky ... huge masses of green and brown and blue, swirled together. 

Once I landed, I was mildly disappointed to see that Germany was still not all that different, and in fact was quite dirty and modern, reminding me a lot of Las Vegas. Or maybe that was just all the graphite. 

But, once I got past how much alike America and Germany are, I was able to start seeing the differences. 

Badezimmer (bathrooms)
I haven't seen very many dirty bathrooms, and their mirrors are actually clean (all the better for selfies!). And I really love how there are no cracks in the bathroom stalls, but they actually shut and you actually have a complete stall that no one can see into. I'll be honest, our American bathrooms have always bothered me. Like, are they trying to save a couple dollars by not connecting the doors that half-inch, or what is it? But ... I never knew there was actually something better. 

The commodes are shaped different, and flush differently ... for most, there are huge white buttons the size of a woman's purse. It took me forever to realize that was the button for pushing for flushing. 

Also, the toilet paper is different. Thicker and sturdier and overall better. 
And some of it is every prettier. This bit actually has flowers on the paper!
Steckdosen (power outlets)
I knew that Europeans have different charger adapters and wall plugins. I found that out when friends gave me adapters for American-German charging. But, even so, it took me forever to figure it out. 

First, I couldn't figure out how to connect my American charger to the German adapter. Took tons of reading. And then ... how to put it in the wall? So, the one on the far right was easy enough to figure out as it had two open holes. But most of my bedroom outlets look like the one in the middle. 

I finally asked. There's a child protective cover on it, and it doesn't come off. You put the charger against the two indents on the cover, then twist around and it eventually opens up and the charger can slip into the correct holes. 

I'm sorry if that was confusing for you. It was for me, too. If you need a better explanation, email me and I'll give you detailed instructions for plugging your phone and computer into the wall.

But for those of you that don't need to know, suffice it to say that once I got the hang of it, it's not simple enough.
Die Strasse (the streets)
Road signs are different, and the streets are narrower. Also, stoplights are at the corner nest to you, not across the street. 

The main thing, though. Streets are really narrow. I know I already said that but it's very important I say this again because it causes a lot of differences. Such as two-way traffic on streets that can barely fit one car. So that means people have to look and pull over to the side quite often when cars are coming from the opposite direction. 

The funniest thing to me though is that it's not uncommon to see cars parked on the curb. 



I'
Mein Zimmer (My room)
My room actually isn't that different. Though it does remind me a little of my room in Tennesse when I was a Ruby girl.

I have a nice desk that my host family provided me for writing, a white wardrobe for my clothing, a huge bed that has an American flag quilt on it, and a window that slants with the attic-styled ceiling. I also have my own bathroom.
Window selfie in my room
I have no idea why I brought three poison ivy essential oils ;p
Speaking of good bathrooms, all doors are good, too, in that they have the doors overlap when they close, so there's no gaping seam. But ... the keyholes are ginormous. An eye could literally roll right through if there's no lock on the door. And my room has no lock. So yeah, I don't really like that ;p 
Bibliotheken und Gebäude (libraries and buildings)
I'm in a huge town, so maybe that's why things are so big (and white?). But don't you love all the stairs?
Also, the ceilings are so different than ours. Many, especially in libraries, look to be unfinished. There's all this heavy metal stuff (I have no idea what it is) hanging in weird ways everywhere. It might be heat and lighting and such. Or electrical stuff? Though it's not so much wires as metal things.




Feeding fish with little ones
Reise (Travel/ transportation)
One can get anywhere very easy by subway or bus. I can also use the car here if I need, or I have a bike. Often I just walk everywhere though.
I've been finding that I quite enjoy walking, too.

My first longest walk was going to the bank to exchange USD for Euros.
There was also a bit of rain for the first half-hour of walking, so I brought along an umbrella. Total, I walked an hour and a half to the bank.

Besides seeing the snail, and passing many interesting places I want to go visit later, I saw a bit of scenery that really captures all the different layers of Stuttgart.
 Sky+vineyard+graphite+ groomed grass+weeds+brck wall with ivy+busy highway on the other side.

When American money becomes German money ... I had to pay $10 to exchange, but at least I can actually spend money here now ;p 

I walk about an hour and a half to church. I go to an international service since I'm still not able to understand German services. I take the subway home as I don't like walking in the dark alone in the city.

I also bike ride with the children occasionally, which is always a fun way to burn energy for all of us.

I always keep my wallet and passport on me, as it's illegal to be without identification here. So far no one has stopped me and asked me for it, but it's always good to be safe rather than sorry, I hear.
The family I'm with gave me a phone (the blue one) with a german number so I can get around easily, and also a pair of keys so I can come and leave the house as I like.

I like to walk every morning. At first, I just kept spreading out more around where I live so I could be comfortable with my surroundings, but now I google close hikes and walks. Here I'm about to climb a bunch of stairs to walk through a vineyard.
Interessant Zeuge (Interesting things)
The school E goes to has a standard backpack for everyone. The one on the left is E's and the other is a friend's of hers.  The Rucksäske are a little heavier and sturdier than other backpacks, and I'm sure there are other special things about them. There's no school uniform, so I think it's interesting they have a backpack requirement.

Also, schools here actually teach religion as part of their required subjects. Germany has quite a few rampant socialistic threads, but I find it interesting that their schools still have religion while ours don't. True, they teach it but most of Germany doesn't seem to actually take it to heart, and evolution and leftist politics seem more important to them than God, but it's still interesting.

Another thing of interest: on top of their income taxes, everyone has 10% taken out of their income and given for their tithe to the church.
International foods and services here very much English, and sometimes American. Two foods that are supposedly not German goods and one must buy specially are peanut butter and jerky.
 The washers and dishwashers here run for about three hours rather than our forty-five minutes. At first, I thought that was terribly long. But when I washed my first load of laundry I decided I quite approved. My nightgown had been looking very dingy for some time, and no matter how much I washed it, I couldn't get it to look nice and I was seriously thinking of throwing it away and buying a new one.

But one run through a German washer and it looked nearly brand new (you can tell it's not new because the fabric/ washing instructions tag is threads).
 There's no difference in words between cake and pie here for Germans. It's all Kuchen. Though a cake with layers is Tortekuchen, I believe.

This is cheesecake the family I'm staying with made, and it was quite good.
After being here a few weeks, the family went picking apples, and so I made an apple pie. I didn't use a recipe, and some of the ingredients were a little different, but I went into it hopeful. Until I realized I didn't know how to turn the oven on, and that the heat is in celsius.

I texted and googled, and got my pie in the oven, now wondering just how well this pie would turn out.

 Well, it came out a little weird. I didn't turn the oven on correctly after all and it cooked a bit too much up top and too little under. I was disappointed, but it did taste all right, and the family all loved it. So, I'm going to allow myself to say it was a success, even though it was just barely passable.
Geburtstag (birthday)
One of my longest friends used to live in Germany when she was little. She told me her favorite food was Spaghetti Eis—ice cream that looks like spaghetti. 

So for her birthday, I went and bought myself some of this and got pictures for her. A bit of an untraditional birthday gift, but I think it was good, because of how we both view birthdays.  
  
Isn't the lamb in the background so cute?
So yes, as you can see I've managed to find that Germany isn't just like America. 
But then, what a silly thing to say about any place. 
Montana isn't the same as Missouri. 
Alaska isn't the same as Hawaii. 
California and Alabama are about as different as Iran and Israel. 

So, yes the world is full of different people, but overall it's really not that different, is it? We are all humans living with the same sort of resources (or same sort of needs). Some people might think it's more fashionable to wear red than white or to eat cake rather than pie, but that's now really that different. 

I've heard of this thing called culture shock, that's supposed to happen to one when they travel. 

I don't believe in culture shock, especially if you know a wide variety of people.

I do believe in culture disagreement. There are many things I admire about Germany, but I've also learned I really appreciate certain things in America and I'm more on fire to fight for those things than ever before. 

So far, I haven't experienced culture shock, though I can tell you I'm not a city person. Give me a cabin in the woods and a reliable car to go to town occasionally and I'd be much more content. At the same time, I'm good at keeping busy and haven't grown homesick, though I can already tell you I will be glad when it's time to go home. 

But first I must enjoy the months I have here. And by enjoy, I mean purposefully live life so that I learn and share and give. 

Have you heard of any of these things I've shared about? Have you experienced culture shock? What are some assumptions you've had about other countries ... maybe I can answer them for you ;) 



Comments

  1. This post was so interesting! I hope you continue to have a good and enlightening time in Germany!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, That! I think I shall at least try my best ;)

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  2. This is so cool, Keturah! I know I've been slacking on comments lately but I have been eating up these Germany posts. :)

    Seeing German currency made me weirdly happy. I get tired of the American currency since I work at a bank :P

    That's so interesting about the required backpacks. And also the school-taught religion. It makes sense to me that a country can be both required to learn religion and super lax about religion, cuz...I mean, the state wanting you to learn something isn't exactly the recipe for getting all gung-ho about it. :)

    So true about how people are people, no matter where. Honestly, the most culture-shocked I've ever been was when I started working locally and realized that the world I'd grown up in had a local flavor all its own that was NOT what I'd always imagined it to be. :)

    Lovely post, m'dear! Keep enjoying life in Germany!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If anyone's been slacking at comments, it's me ;) I've been too busy walking and exploring and learning German to read much.

      Haha, German money is so pretty! It makes me happy too, so not silly at all. Though I don't think I could ever tire of money even at a bank 😂

      I'm pretty sure the back pack thing is only for that school, not all schools. Though don't quote me on it.

      Yeah . .. Where we get culture shock is always the craziest of places. And can happen in our own town as you say ;)

      Thanks, Megan! I'm glad you're enjoying my sharing!

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  3. I learned SO much from this post, Keturah!! I loved reading about all these differences, and your pics are adorable. ;) The family you're staying with sounds so sweet, just like you! <333

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    Replies
    1. Ah isn't it so fun to learn? Both of us together. Thanks .... the question is, am I actually sweet? ;)

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  4. This is so cool to read about the differences and the similarities! The pictures are all awesome. I'm glad that you're having a good time!

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  5. This is so fascinating, Keturah! I don't think I knew ANY of this about Germany. Also I really want to try all the dessert mentioned in this post... *drools* XD

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    Replies
    1. I didn't know any of it until this last month either ;D I love especially how their stuff isn't as sweet as our American stuff.

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  6. I love hearing about other countries and the way you describe it makes it sound less intimidating.

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    1. Oh does that mean you're coming over too!! But yes, it's much less intimidating now that I'm used to a few things.

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  7. This is so interesting!!! The basic things you wouldn't even think of--like how to turn on an oven or how outlets are different--that you have to navigate when moving to a different country! Can't wait to hear more about your journey.

    Also, that spaghetti ice cream dessert... do you know how they make it? It's so weird to think that's ice cream, but it's also really cool.


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbosityreviews.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, totally ... who'd think such basic things would be able to be different?

      I think they put starch in the ice cream to thicken it (or sometbing) then they put it through a machine that shoots it out into spaghetti (so if you have a spaghettix machine you could probably make it), and then it's topped with a dressing.

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  8. This was a fascinating post! I love your detailed descriptions + all the food looks really yummy. :D

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  9. Super interesting! Your room looks cool. Hope you keep learning lots. ;)

    astordetective.blogspot.com

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    1. Yeah, it is a pretty neat room! Definitely trying to learn all I can ... though sometimes it fills I've stiffed so much into my brain that THAT everything is squeezing right back out ;b

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  10. love how you contrasted the washrooms ok exactly how I felt when I was overseas a week ago XDD

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah it's pretty amazing isn't it ;) oh, that's so neat! Hope you had fun.

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