Freitag, 27. Juni 2008


German pillows are . . . a letdown, literally. They aren't very puffy, rather, they let your head fall to exactly where it would be without the pillow there. So I'm not sure why they even have them. Oh well. Whenever I visit other people, I use a sweatshirt wadded up as a pillow. Luckily, an American couple here gave me an American-style pillow they bought, so in my apartment I'm good to go.

Donnerstag, 19. Juni 2008

*Walking and Biking*

This could be several posts, so count yourself lucky. ;)

Americans may get in the car to drive down the street to drop something off, or to check the mailbox. Not Germans. Germans are not afraid to walk. If it's less than a twenty-minute walk, you should walk.

Furthermore, bikes here are used for transportation, not exercise or recreation, thus the bike lanes all over the place, and thus the weird look I gave the first guy I saw smoking while he was riding his bike. To an American, it looked like two opposing things: healthy exercise with unhealthy smoking. I thought it was hilarious.

One of the very first things I noticed the first time I was in Germany was that the bikes here are different. They look like bikes out of 1950s America, like people here forgot to update the style.

Every now and then, you may see a German with one pant leg rolled up. Despite what you may think, this is not a fashion trend. I asked about it and was told it was to protect their pants while riding their bicycles. I asked why they didn't roll up both sides, and was told that that the chain is only on one side. It took me forever to figure out why that wasn't a problem for Americans. I finally realized not everyone here has a cover for the chain that rolls by the pedal, but they all seem to have covers for their tires, which seems soooo old fashioned. Don't be surprised to see baskets on the back of bikes (yes, even of young people), and all bikes in Germany are required to have lights on the front and back or the rider will be ticketed. Don't forget to notice there's a bell too. This is really the typical bike in Germany.

Mittwoch, 11. Juni 2008

*Microwaves and Tupperware and Leaving Food Out*

Since my roommate moved out and took her microwave with her, I've been having some major troubles. What do you do with a bag of already-cooked rice in the fridge? I've been heating it up in a pan using some oil, but I don't think that's the healthiest. How about with pancakes you put in the freezer? Meat? Cheese? (Which, by the way, is shockingly odd to Germans, as shown by the tiny size of their freezers.) It's got me wondering why she took the microwave with her.

I'm the only one who ever used the darn thing. Call me American, but I like my food warm. I don't leave old pots of vegetables or pieces of pizza out to eat later (cold or hot, no in between) or buy them that way (okay, I did once, but only because I thought the lamps on them were heating lamps, and never again).

The first few weeks I was in Germany, I thought my roommates were leaving out their food because they either didn't want the rest or they were just being slobs. Come to find out they like it that way, even the resulting rock-hard bread that you could kill someone with more quickly than you can say "David and Goliath." Once again, I'm the only one who uses Tupperware. I'm not sure why we have it if no one else uses it, but I do have to say that yes, Mom, even Tupperware that is supposedly not used by anyone, has mismatched and missing parts.

I'll make a big pot of rice and save it in the fridge to reheat and eat for a week. Others make a small pot of rice and whatever is left stays there in the pot, on the cold stove, to be eaten some time within the next week, even if there's meat or something in it that can go bad quickly (like cheese). I just don't get it.

Even rouladen is left out over night so the fat can consolidate and be scraped out of the pot. It is, however, one of the few things that is reheated before served. Thank goodness.

Dienstag, 3. Juni 2008


Since last time I talked about a meaning-filled sound in Germany, I thought I'd share another interesting thing I noticed: when people are trying to get others to be quiet, in America they say, "Sshhh." In Germany, it's "Psshhh," which may seem like it would be more effective, but after being around a lot of students and seeing the chaos that is primary each week (I play the piano for the kids), I'm not so sure.
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