Tag Archives: Shower

Culture Shock: Five (More) Things That Suck About Living in Germany


“Go sports team! Score that goal! Make that touchdown! I mean, wait…” — Photo Credit: Stewart (https://www.flickr.com/photos/stewied/) — Image subject to Attribution 2.0 Generic License

Once again, let me begin by saying life in Germany is awesome. I absolutely love it here! I have, however, learned a thing or two about the realities of life abroad. What follows is the next list of discoveries, oddities and annoyances revealed in my first months as an expat American living in Hannover, Germany:

  1. Shameful public artwork is everywhere. It seems like every corner is home to a bronze sculpture featuring a pair of naked Germans, heads hanging in shame, mumbling to one another, “God we suck.” Yes, I understand the travesties of the world wars. I totally get the need to remember, to learn and to honor the dead, but I’d like to take at least one leisurely stroll around town without feeling like I just took a shower in dog poop and shame sprinkles.
  2. Soccer fans are scary. There are few things I enjoy less than being surrounded by drunken soccer fans, hooting and hollering as they stumble through the train station after the big game. Hell, any game. I’m not convinced the fans I’m seeing even go to the games; I think some of these guys just put on their team jerseys and scarves and go watch whichever team happens to be playing on TV at their favorite watering hole. And there’s something about a big German man wearing a scarf striped with his local team’s colors, swaying as he walks toward me with an empty beer bottle about to tumble from his fingers, which I find — on an instinctual level — absolutely terrifying.
  3. Germans are downers. This may have something to do with point #1, but a great many of the Germans I’ve encountered are depressing as hell. Nothing is ever awesome. Even if something is mostly awesome, like having a job as a wealthy, internationally respected beer taster, the average German will focus on the one part of that job which blows, and feel the need to tell me all about it. “Yes, I have a good job as a beer taster, but there is only one electric car charger at the brewery; it is indicative of a larger problem within our educational system and our government as a whole, and demonstrates the fact that our entire country is about to implode in a morbidly depressing vacuum of apocalypse.” I mean, sure, Germans have been through some crazy ups and downs throughout history, so maybe even now they’re afraid to get their hopes up, but Jesus; let’s turn those frowns upside down, Deutschland! Look, you have dirndls and beer all around you! Dirndls and beer, God damn you.
  4. Everybody is tall as hell. I’m sure someone out there can explain the correlation between height and colder climates, but all I know is here in Germany, I’m like Frodo Baggins in the land of the Silvan Elves. I’m about 5′ 10″ (or 5′ 11″ — when I’m totally lying), and I always thought my height was pretty average. Not here. In Lower Saxony, I’m surrounded by these elongated, angelic beings with wonderfully straight hair and wings sewn of Jack Wolfskin polyurethane.
  5. Even in Germany, there are assholes. Of course I am aware there are jerks in every country, but I’d hoped Germany would be different. Yes, this was my own cultural bias, but I didn’t want to let it go. Not even at the immigration office (Ausländerbehörde), full of snorting pencil pushers, who calmly lost my residence application and then told me not to worry about it. Or that sad little beer tent at Oktoberfest, where the waitress shut down my attempts to order in German, advising me, “Just speak English, it is the language of business.” Or those drunken soccer fans on Georgstraße, who passed my wife and I, asking, “Is this your boyfriend? No? He’s your husband? Are you sure?” But finally, reluctantly, I had to admit there are a few jackpipes in my beloved Germany. Luckily, for each one I meet, there seem to be 10 warm and wonderful Germans just waiting to brighten my day here in Deutschland.


If you’d like to read more of our Things That Suck About Living in Germany lists, check out our previous posts:
Five Things That Suck About Living in Germany
Five (More) Things That Suck About Living in Germany
Even More Things That Suck About Living in Germany


Culture Shock 3: American Man Experiences Blind Rage Using Shower in Germany

Shower stall in a bathroom in Hannover, Germany

“Look, Mr. Shower, you don’t like me and I don’t like you. Let’s just play nice in front of The Wife, okay?”

Let me begin by saying I love our apartment here in Hannover, Germany. I love it! My wife did a spectacular job finding us the perfect living space in the perfect neighborhood. I’ve been living here since September and I have no complaints whatsoever. No complaints, that is, except one: the shower.

German bathroom ventilation

Neither one of these holes are into ‘fresh’ air.

There is no fan in our bathroom. You see that window in the picture above? It doesn’t open. See that fan-looking hole on the right? That’s not a fan; it’s a simple duct connected to each apartment in our building from the ground floor all the way up to the top. It is the reason we catch whiffs of cigarette smoke drifting into our apartment from time to time. (I suspect it comes from those old, sour-faced cancer-donkeys living beneath us.)

Without proper ventilation, our bathroom fogs up something fierce whenever one of us takes a shower. To compensate, The Wife and I plug an oscillating fan into the wall and set it precariously on top of the medicine cabinet. It doesn’t do much for the condensation on the mirror, but it does a fantastic job of reminding me I will someday be electrocuted as I scrub my pink parts.

I suspect this design stems from the Iron Maiden.

Not only is our shower stall tiny, but it has no shower curtain; only the cold, unforgiving sliding glass walls you see in the picture above. Before arriving in Germany, I never realized how much space I really need in order to cleanse my American body. I mean, I knock my elbows into everything. The sliding walls, tiles, mirror, bottle racks, shower handle… I’m like the Tasmanian Devil in there.

And there is this one special moment — it happens during every shower — when my vision goes red and I experience a perfect, poetic sort of blind rage. It’s after I have managed to smash my extremities into every single object around me. After I have dropped my razor for the third time, bent over to retrieve it and knocked a bottle rack from the wall with my forehead, sending my wife’s girly hair products clattering to the floor. It’s right when I am standing back up, about to take a deep breath and count to ten… when I bonk the back of my head against the hot water controller.

Instantly, scalding hot water sears my flesh and sends me up to Rage Level: Bill O’Reilly (Warning, video contains awesome swearing). That’s when I slap the lever back toward cold, which hoses me down with an arctic blast so cold my plums shrivel up and let me know they won’t be making another appearance until spring.

German shower stall

German Shower: 1, American Body: 0

There is one good thing about German showers, however; the shower heads are mounted on handles. I haven’t seen too many showers with handles in the States — mostly in fancy hotel rooms — but Germans love ’em. And I am forced to admit it is quite nice to direct the flow of water wherever I want it, even though the rest of the shower makes me so angry I could flip off a box of kittens.

But let’s not kid ourselves here; shower handles are unnecessary. The only reason Germans like shower handles is because they let you spray warm water directly on your cinnamon ring.

Click here to learn more about the term “Culture Shock.”

For another great article complaining about German showers, check out The Adventures of Heidi Hefeweizen.

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