In the short time I’ve spent in Germany, the differences from American life have been blatantly apparent. So if you’re considering living in Deutschland, there are a few things you ought to be aware of:
1) The streets are NOT lit at night.
You’ve heard of the Autobahn? The freeway where you can drive super fast? Yeah, it’s awesome, but it is also terrifying at night when you have to rely on headlights and shiny stickers on the side of the road. The worst part is coming into a town, where you have to slow down to 30km/hr and turn off your lights. Then of course there are the rolling hills through the woods (which apparently house killer pigs). I was shocked to say the least when I figured out it was a two-way street up the side of the mountain.
2) TINY washer and dryer.
At home, laundry is pretty simple. I can get away with doing one load every other week. Here it’s a different story. The appliances are SO small. Try splitting that one load into four. Not to mention the magic dryer, that drains all the water into a drawer at the top of the machine, which then must be emptied into a bucket, and dumped down the sink.
3) Speaking of sinks, the kitchen sink is a JOKE.
Let’s suffice it to say that it is about the size of a bathroom sink, and there is no garabage disposal. But hey, at least you can drink the tap water.
4) Roundabouts are a BEAUTIFUL invention.
Imagine there were no traffic lights, you could drive a realistic speed, and you could avoid confusing intersections. That’s what the main roads here are like. I never liked roundabouts at home, but here they MAKE SENSE. I suppose it also helps that Germans take their traffic laws seriously.
5) They play American music on the radio.
Part of why most Germans speak English is that all the music they listen to is in English. I loved being able to sit in a reastaurant for lunch and hear classic rock songs playing outside. They don’t edit lyrics here, but that’s not a problem depending on what station you listen to.
6) Houses are really as cute as they look in the movies.
When I first got to the country, and was driving to my sister’s house, I could not believe the little towns. The houses seriously look like fairytale cottages. Obviously there are different styles depending on where you are, but old architecture can be found all over the place.
7) Baking is a frustrating endeavor.
I’m the kind of person who likes to make at least two dozen cookies at a time. Usually more like four dozen, and I make decent sized cookies. So you can imagine my despair when I attempted baking here, and found that I could only fit six cookies in the oven at a time. Ridiculous. Needless to say, I am losing weight from the lack of my sweets.
8) If you are lucky, your house will come with AWESOME blinds.
At least in my neighborhood, the streetlamps are super bright. But the windows are equipped with Alaska-worthy metal blinds, that create complete darkness. The only problem is that if I don’t set an alarm, I have no way to tell when it’s daytime.
9) Wood floors bubble when it gets cold.
It hasn’t been a problem since we turned the heaters on, but when it’s cold, you have to be cautious walking around. Spots on the floor will bubble up, and worse case scenario, a board will pop out. I just found this to be odd.
10) Recycling is taken VERY seriously.
We use four different trash cans. One for glass, another for paper and cardboard, one for all other plastics and food wrappers, and finally one for food waste. If recycling is ignored, you can be subject to a fine. I’m not sure what happens to all the trash, but the air is really clean here.
And there you have it! A few things you may or may not have known about life in Germany. I have no clue if these things stand true for everywhere in this country, but they have been true for me.