Mittwoch, 27. August 2008

*Environmentally Aware*

I read a post giving advice to Americans on being better to the environment, and in evaluating my life in Germany, I think Germans might laugh because these things are so obvious to them. Read my reply:

Reading over your suggestions, I think I'm about as green as the Emerald City.

I have one energy-saving lightbulb but mostly rely on daylight. This threw me at first when I'd go to public offices and they wouldn't have any lights on. 2. I always use re-usable water bottles that my roommates bought. (I like to replace now and then because of those studies about plastic wearing down and causing cancer.) 3. I never let the water run (even when brushing teeth, and I take short showers, no baths). 4. We, like everyone in Germany, split garbage into a. packaging, b. paper, c. biodegradable, and d. leftover stuff. Even the bags that hold each of those categories is separated into the packaging bin. 5. I use cloth grocery bags or simply a backpack to carry groceries.

1. German apartment buildings are made of super-thick stone. 2. My window isn't old or leaky and it takes care of the fact that 3. we don't have air conditioner.

1. I use a bicycle/public transportation (and not just because I'm a poor student), which is better than a hybrid vehicle and which hopefully makes up for the lack of personal involvement for the next two. 2. I personally don't have solar panels. But Germany is all about wind and solar energy. 3. I vote for people who like the environment.

So, Germany. A+. Or should I say "1,0"?

Donnerstag, 21. August 2008

*Handys and Landlines*

Cell phones, or "handys" as they're called (yes, it's an English word), are on funny systems here. I think it's proof that companies have made things up to make more money--calling a cell phone costs more than calling a normal landline. This threw me off when I was in Kiel and I ended up having to mail money to my roommates. There's no reason it should be more expensive. Landlines can call landlines free-of-charge, but most handies are on a per-call charge unless they want to pay exorbitant amounts for monthly plans. I find the whole thing ridiculous, so I just try to never call anyone. I'm a bigger fan of internet communication anyway, as you hope people will give your writing the benefit of the doubt for having a positive tone. My handy is purely for people to call me who find it worth it to pay for it. Maybe that's a double standard, but it's not my choice if they call me, is it?

Dienstag, 5. August 2008

*Wedding Rings*

In light of me being at a wedding recently, let me point out that Germans wear their wedding rings on the right hand. A ring on the left hand means they're engaged. And wedding rings are very plain. They can't be described as "rocks." They are bands, sometimes with an itsy bitsy diamond in the band--no setting, it's that small. Of course, to make things more confusing, a lot of younger Germans are doing it the other way around.
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