Tuesday, September 3, 2013

10 things I like about living in Germany

Despite yesterday's burst of negativity, there are some things I like about living in Germany. They are unfortunately not that funny, but anyway, here they are:


1) People like to send postcards when they go on vacation. This is always a nice little surprise.

2) People like to bring each other little gifts when they go on vacation. See above.

3) There are a lot of rules, and they tend to be followed. At first I thought this was a bad thing, and I can still envision many situations where it could go wrong. However, it makes the bureaucracy relatively transparent, and individual bureaucrats have less discretion than they often do in other countries to act on their personal feelings or views. Thus, in today's world, I think it is by and large a good thing.

4) Husbands sometimes take their wives' last names after marriage. I don't think this is an extremely widespread practice, but in my two years here, I have met three people who have done it. This leads me to believe it is significantly more widespread than it is in the English-speaking world, where I have met zero people who have done it despite having lived there the entire rest of my life. For couples who would both like to have the same last name as their children or would like to take on a family name to signify a new stage of life, I think it is great to decide together and with an open mind whose name is nicer/less common/easier to spell/preserves a cultural identity/whatever is important to them, and it seems like in Germany, they are moving in that direction.

5) Yes, German food is disgusting. However, the Germans do seem to have a great fondness for Italian food, which is a big improvement.

6) They have very efficient and reliable public transportation, including in small cities.

7) Every supermarket, no matter how small, has a bakery at the front. Good idea!

8) Among the various skills everyone seems to have are direction-giving skills. I, of all people, basically never get lost for more than five minutes.

9) They love museums and don't really care what the subject of the museum is. For example, there is a museum in my neighbourhood about potatoes.

10) Even though they are practically the only part of Europe that isn't going to economic hell, they never work late and are really into work-life balance. So I guess they must have figured something out!
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