Diane over at Martini’s For Two has tagged me for a Random Facts German Version Meme. I hope my answers are as interesting as hers 🙂
Random Facts About Me (German Version)
#1 When I heard my Hubby wanted to take this great job in Germany I was totally scared and excited. I bought books on the language and culture and even taught my son the numbers up to 20 and a few polite things before we moved. Now that we’ve been in Germany for 2 years and 3 months… I still only know those words and a handful more (Boo knows more than I do). I have tried to pick up more but German is such a difficult language (to me anyway) that I have given up even trying. But I am more than happy to improve my fairly decent French and even started a Gaelic course. But German? No thanks!
#2 I am in better shape now than I was before I moved. I often feel healthier. I walk so much more here than I ever have. I guess it’s the lifestyle of everything being located in a shopping square and the outdoorness just makes me want to be outdoors more. I am going to start walking along the river a few days a week and have even persuaded another mom to join me. Back in Maryland I walked from the garage door to the car, down the street to get the mail and not much more. We did go and walk some but you had to get in your car to get there first. Here I step out my door and go. I feel far more comfortable walking here in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language than I did in the US. I feel safer somehow.
#3 I have discovered I am a lot more open to different cultures than I imagined. Where we live there is a large population of people from the Middle East, there are even two Muslim schools nearby. Before in my ‘WASP-Y’ community this would have made me a bit nervous (I guess because even though it’s not supposed to, the US news makes us wary of those who we don’t know). But now, they are just people on the street who may wear coverings and believe different things. But they are people just like me and you. I am so happy I can say I now know people from all around the globe – Iceland, Sweden, England, India, Ireland, Russia, Belgium. It’s one of things I have loved most about being here. And my children have been exposed to the richness of different cultures and can truly appreciate that we are all just people whether we are white, black, olive skinned or purple.
#4 Even though my allergies go crazy in Spring it is my favorite time of year here. Sometimes when it is still technically winter you see tulips and daffodils pushing up, even through the snow. The flowers here grow wild and beautiful. There are so many roses and so many flowers I have no idea what they are but it makes me yearn to try to have a green thumb. I love that I see the rolling green hills out my window every morning and can hear the coo’s mooing in the fields. And yet in ten minutes I am in the city. It’s the best of both worlds.
#5 I have discovered how to just let things go. This place is not perfect by any means and I don’t think we’ll be staying in Germany after our time is up in two years but I think we are up for anything after this. I have learned that the small inconveniences really aren’t that big a deal and I can find a way to do without what I am used to and find other things to compensate for it. I think our family is bound to be on to another adventure in two years and I look forward to the challenge.
#6 I’ve become addicted to some nice items I swore I never would have cared about or wanted back home. I am addicted to my Blackberry, I don’t know how I survived the last two years without one. I am also addicted to my navigation system, with it I am not afraid to explore because it will always help me find home again. I am also addicted to my car (to the point where I’ve named her!). I have gotten used to driving a ‘luxury’ vehicle and having the best responsive steering and the dreamiest acceleration this side of the autobahn. I will miss her most sincerely. Beats that old Mazda I was driving back home!
#7 I think the German people have so much to be unhappy about (and it seems maybe a lot of them are). The tax rate is astronomical and lots of things I took for granted at home don’t translate here. It is normal to wait three hours to see a doctor even when you have an appointment and no one here complains. It is normal to be taxed monthly for owning a radio or a tv (even if you don’t have cable) and to be taxed a percentage of your income for declaring yourself affiliation to a religion. It is normal to separate your trash into four bins and still have to visit the recycling center for other things as well. It is normal to never receive a smile in return when you say hello to someone on the street. It is normal to not receive customer service when you have a problem.
All of these things and more have opened my eyes to a possible reason why Germans (to me) seem so unfriendly and unhappy. It has made me appreciate how wonderful the people of the good old USA have it.
As for tagging people, hmm. I don’t think I read enough German blogs to do that!