Lots of things in Germany are similar to way of life in the US. Everybody eats, sleeps, talks sometimes, goes somewhere etc. Of course there are the big differences too, ie LANGUAGE. But the little things have started creeping up on me, making an impression of their own.
Little thing number 1:
Shopping carts drive differently. All 4 wheels of the shopping carts here swivel. Sounds crazy, but my first time with a full shopping cart swiveling at both ends was a bizarro experience. It was sliding all over the place on me, giving my forearms a good workout. Of course it is with good reason, in a crowded aisle or small space you can easily move the entire cart aside for someone to walk past you, instead of picking up the back end to move it.
Little thing number 2:
Trust. You are expected to purchase tickets for whichever mode of public transportation you choose whether it be by train, underground, tram, or bus. However, there is no gate requiring proof of your ticket before you are allowed on. They simply trust that you are the upstanding citizen/resident you look to be. (They do employ persons to randomly monitor the public transportation system, and if you are caught riding without a ticket its a hefty 40euro fine.)
Little thing number 3:
The have a soda here that is a mix of coca cola and orange cola. Never seen this combination before in my life. But the little pizza shop down the road from us hands it out when you buy a pizza.
Little thing number 4:
They do not de-claw their pet cats. It has been observed by some with shock that Tank-of-the-World does not have claws in his front paws.
Little thing number 5:
Refrigerators are little. This means instead of once a week spending 3 hours in the grocery store. I go instead every other day for maybe 20 minutes. No more of those veggies that I bought on Saturday going bad because they were forgotten in the back of the fridge. I think we are wasting less food this way. Plus it allows us to eat more in the way of what we are in the mood for now, instead of what I thought we would be in the mood for last Saturday when I bought all this food.
Little thing number 6:
People drink juice. Not just kids, and not just at home. Every menu in every restaurant has a selection of juices for drinks. Mauricio has really enjoyed this as it is more similar to his home where fresh juice is abundant in selection. I remember my bartender days, and always being surprised when an order came in for a glass of juice without alcohol for an adult. I don’t think I ever ordered just juice to drink in a restaurant back home. Hmmm…As of late, my favorite to order is Maracujasaft. No idea what this is in English, maybe still Maracuja, but its DELICIOUS.
Little thing number 7:
Not everywhere takes a credit card. We’ve learned the hard way to ask before eating in a restaurant. I sat in a restaurant one time for almost an hour alone, AFTER eating, waiting for Mauricio to find an ATM and come back to pay for our meal. People carry cash here. But hey, this is good for budget purposes. Lot harder to go over your budget when you’ve got nothing in your wallet.
Not-so-Little thing number 8:
Nothing is open on Sundays. So maybe this isn’t so ‘little’. But truly, people are required to relax on Sunday. No grocery shopping, no clothing shopping, shoe shopping, nada. Get it all done ahead of time. We had a few hungry Sunday’s before getting adjusted to this. Now that we’re adjusted though, we love this.
**In personal news, I have recently passed my level A2 exam and have now moved on to B1. Still a long way from being fluent. But it’s a big step up from where I was just 5 months before!