Culture Shock: And Still MORE Things That Suck About Living in Germany…

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“Okay, we get it: you LOVE your soccer team.” — Image Credit: Erich Ferdinand (https://www.flickr.com/photos/erix/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

As always, I must begin this post by saying life in Germany is awesome, and moving here was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. I love the cities, the culture and the people. Especially the people. They’re so unintentionally hilarious, it just kills me. I have, however, discovered a few harsh realities about life in this fine country.

What follows are 6 oddities and annoyances revealed to me as an American expat from Portland, Oregon, now living in Hannover, Germany:

#6: Germans have an irrational fear of all things cold.

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“I’m sorry, I can’t come into work today. I felt a chilly draft for a second.” — Image Credit: the italian voice (https://www.flickr.com/photos/desiitaly/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

Now, I’m going to have to generalize a lot on this one, but I have noticed the average German person, young or old, tends to shy away from anything cold. (And by shy away, I mean wince like a bitch and then complain about it endlessly.) Cold drafts, cold floors, cold chairs — hell, anything which isn’t warm to the touch and slathered in pork products — is apparently the cause of all disease and human suffering in this country.

Sitting on a cold floor? Surefire way to contract a urinary tract infection. Back of your shirt untucked and exposed to a cold breeze? 100% chance of kidney failure. But then, at the same time, they love their fresh air, and will leave their windows open in the dead of winter to receive that sweet, cleansing breeze. It’s downright baffling.

Man, for such a logical, science and engineering oriented society, you wouldn’t think they’d be so prone to superstition, but oh no: Point an oscillating fan at your brother-in-law during one of the hottest summer evenings on record, and not only will he not thank you for it, he will ask you to turn it off and then look at you like you just tried to hose him down with frozen AIDS-filled cancer gas.


#5: You have to pay to listen to the radio.

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“Oh thank you so much for letting me hear that one 80s song for the ten-millionth time…” — Image Credit: Martin Krolikowski (https://www.flickr.com/photos/martinkrolikowski/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

I don’t know if this is just a Lower Saxony thing, but I’m dead serious: If you move to Germany, eventually you will get a bill in the mail for basic radio and network TV services — whether you use them or not. Now, if you don’t use either — and you can prove it — you can go ahead and type up a formal letter to get yourself excused. But what are the chances you’re rocking the Amish lifestyle in Germany?

For Americans like me, this is appalling. Holy shit, it’s like having to pay someone for the privilege of blue sky above your head or breathable air in your lungs — you just don’t do that. And yet every month, we cough up the money and pay our bill. (To be fair, my German wife also thinks this is completely retarded, but we do it anyway because we’re pussies.)


#4: Online banking is maddeningly complicated.

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“Wait, I gotta stick my bank card WHERE?” — Image Credit: Justus Blümer (https://www.flickr.com/photos/justusbluemer/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

If you open a bank account in Germany, you will quickly discover an online financial experience about as smooth as a sandpaper handjob. See, in the States, when you want to pay a bill using your checking account, you just enter your card number, punch the Submit button and go back to that violent pornography you were just watching. But in Germany, you have to make an Überweisung; a hellish bank transfer with so many security precautions you might as well just slam your fingers in a car door now and get the pain out of the way first.

These bank transfers require you to enter the recipient company’s name, a 22-digit IBAN number, an 11-character BIC code, the exact euro amount to be paid, and then a bunch of notes regarding the date and other details about the transaction. Once this is done, you then have to find your bank card, stick it into a TAN-Generator, then use this apparatus to physically scan the flashing bar code on your computer screen. If successful, this will produce a pin number, which you then enter into your bank’s webpage in order to complete the transaction. Now, you’d think this security system would be tighter than Fort Knox, but it’s been hacked with the exact same frequency as any bank in the States. So all this pain and suffering is for nothing! Absolutely nothing! Welcome to Germany!


#3: Unofficial rules and regulations run rampant.

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“Look at that asshole, just mowing his lawn whenever the hell he feels like it.” — Image Credit: Tony Alter (https://www.flickr.com/photos/78428166@N00/) — Image cropped from original. Subject to CC 2.0 License.

In Germany, there are lots of neighborhood rules, especially in small towns and suburbs. Here are just a few:

  • Absolutely no mowing your yard on Sundays or holidays, or on weekdays between 1:00pm and 3:00pm. (This goes for any electrical appliances which are loud enough to wake the curmudgeonly old bastards napping next door.)
  • BBQ grilling may not be done at all on the patios of apartments with neighbors above them. For houses, BBQ grilling should be kept to a minimum, and never within stink-distance of your neighbors.
  • You are expected to keep the sidewalk in front of your house clear at all times — including raking leaves and shoveling snow — because if you don’t, and some halfwit eats shit on the ice in front of your pad, you’re the one who gets to pay for his ambulance ride.

In short, there are rules for everything in Germany, and you’re gonna have to follow them unless you have a strong capacity for both formal and informal complaints. (And do you really want to be that one American cock mowing his yard with a BBQ chicken wing in his mouth and a pending lawsuit in his mailbox?)


#2: You cannot send a letter from your own mailbox.

deutschepost-german-mailbox
“Where’s my tauntaun, Luke? I gotta send a letter to the wampa.” — Image Credit: J. Triepke (https://www.flickr.com/photos/piro007/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

Speaking of mailboxes, you can only receive mail at your home — you can’t send anything unless you go to the post office or find an official mailbox on the street. Oh sure, some nice postal employee may take your letter to Grandma back with him to the distribution office as a one-time favor, but it’s unlikely. Most of the time, they’ll just ignore it and leave you to confusedly check online for the current postage rates and mistakenly assume you can solve this problem by just slapping another stamp on that bitch and calling it a day.

Oh, and if you’re an expat like me — even if you have your residence permit which very clearly proves you have a valid passport somewhere at home — you cannot pick up a package at the post office without showing them your actual passport. This means you have to haul around the single most valuable piece of identification you own just so you can pick up your Black Stallion from the Dildo-of-the-Month club.


#1: Germans walk as if wearing blinders.

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“What’s the problem? I’m the only one here, aren’t I?” — Image Credit: Emilio Labrador (https://www.flickr.com/photos/3059349393/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

Now this one is a BIG ol’ sweeping generalization — and I know for a fact there are exceptions — but for the most part, German people walk around like they’re the only motherfuckers on this planet. Like there couldn’t possibly be anyone else walking directly behind them. Seriously, they will stop dead right in front of you at the end of an escalator just to stare blankly into a store window full of artisanal soaps.

They will also cut you off or step in front of you from the side without the slightest hesitation, even if you’re carrying like 10 adopted babies in your arms. They don’t mean to be rude; they just don’t see you. It isn’t personal. It’s some kind of strange mental focus — some kind of single-minded, goal-oriented intent — which causes them not to pay much heed to the human traffic around them.

Sometimes I imagine actually confronting one of these tunnel vision nerds, and I imagine the conversation going something like this:

ME: “Excuse me, but you just stepped right in front of me and then stopped.”

GERMAN: “Yes, because I had to go there.”

ME: “But I had the right of way! I was already walking there!”

GERMAN: *Speaking to me as if I’m retarded* “Yes, and I had to go there.”

ME: “OH MY GOD, THE NEXT GERMAN TO STEP IN FRONT OF ME IS GETTING KICKED RIGHT IN THE HEMORRHOIDS.”


So that’s my latest list of gripes! But seriously, if you ever get the chance to move to Germany, go for it. These people rock. For being unintentionally hilarious and just all-around awesome, I award Germans a solid 5 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds:

Merkel Diamond from Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany
But before you move here, you should also check out my previous 3 posts regarding things that suck about living in Germany.

Thank you for reading and have an awesome day!

~ OGM

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76 thoughts

  1. Holy Moses! The cold thing drives me bat-crap crazy! Two examples: One day last summer, we arrived at my husband’s grandparents’ house for lunch. The first words out of his grandma’s mouth were “Es ist so heiss!” But here’s the thing… there was actually a pretty nice breeze that day which made the heat somewhat bearable and she had all the doors in the house closed and each window only cracked a little. I went around and opened all the windows and doors and she then scolded me for causing a draft! She was completely certain I was going to cause all of us to get deathly ill. My husband also once got aggravated with me for opening the sunroof on a blazing hot day (because, of course, using the A/C is just sooooo inefficient and unnecessary). His reason for being annoyed: He had sweat on the back of his neck and the hot-as-hell wind coming in through the sunroof felt cold on his neck which was sure to send him to the hospital with pneumonia.

    Before coming to Germany, I had never in my life met people who were so horribly uninformed about the human body. But like you, I do very much love it here.

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  2. SOO true about walking like they have blinders on! I’ve often thought of playing chicken with on-coming pedestrian traffic, but I always blink first. As for on-line banking, Sparkasse will just send your 6-digit TAN to your Handy (aka, cell phone for you Amis). But, GOD!! the IBAN/BIC numbers are wretched — and so many zeroes in a row and I’m old and half blind so it’s hard to see them. And, yes, we pay for radio/TV here in Berlin and I think it’s a nation-wide thing. My favorite rule is putting re-cycled glass in the public bins – never on Sundays or holidays (which is OK because I drop stuff off en route to the grocery store, which, of course, is closed on Sundays and holidays anyway), nor before 7 am (which I can understand) and after some time in the evening, which I also understand. But ALSO, NOT between 1:00 and 3:00! Is it NAP time?!! I’m rarely out of the flat before 1:00 so I blissfully ignore it — tempting fate and living on the edge that someone’s going to shout at me about it. Don’t recall if you’ve done a post about Father’s Day/Men’s Day, so if you haven’t, that one’s a rich topic — especially since it falls on Ascension Day and involves men going out with each other and getting drunk (rather than pretending to be thrilled with a new tie and eating a big meal with the family).

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  3. Also — what things do you miss about being here? My evil Ami friends are always posting things like photos of things like root beer floats and saying how much they enjoy them. Damn! Have you even seen root beer here at all? And real, fresh, affordable seafood?

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  4. I really enjoy reading your blog, it is quite entertaining. My fiance is from Coburg (dreaded Bavaria), and we now live in PA. I am from NC, so I had my own culture shock just moving here. Speaking on item #1 on your list, when I visited Germany in September of last year, everybody FREAKED OUT that I walked around barefoot. In the house, not outside. And it wasn’t that cold. I was told I would get sick, asked where were my shoes, am I not cold, lol. I told my fiance to tell them I have Native American blood, we didn’t have shoes, I would be OK. I enjoyed the trip though, and being able to meet his family, even if I couldn’t talk to them much. I am trying, but as you know, learning German is no easy task.

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  5. Much fewer rules in Mexico. None for the volume of music in the grocery store, pharmacy, your neighbor’s party. Will make your ears bleed. People think nothing of cutting in front of you and holding the door open is nonexistent in our area. I feel your pain and wouldn’t live anywhere else.

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  6. They are upset at things cold, but for some ridiculous reason they also think you will get sick if you don’t air out the house with your bed blankets hanging out the wide open windows in mid winter.

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  7. American online Banking is easier??? Is that a Joke???? Once I was in Germany and noticed my husbands checking account ( in USA) getting too low, so I wanted to send him a few $ from my account ( same bank). What happened was, that the central office of this bank wrote a ( computerized) check, sent this check to our house ( vie USPS), my husband had to drive to the bank and deposit it ( We do not have I-phones). All of this took 5 days instead of 5 seconds, what it would have taken in Germany.
    Also you cannot just send money to someone, you have to enter the biller and if this company is not in your bank’s list or is a private person, they again will sent a check via mail, how antiquated is this??

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    1. And now you can simply use Paypal ;D Although it’ll take up to three days until PP transferred the money to the bank account. However, you don’t need to step outside.

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  8. Hey OMG,
    I am a German living in America and can’t help to comment here. (Great post, don’t take my answers too seriously, they are meant to be funny – well, German-funny;)

    #6: FULL Agreement, I actually wrote an entire blog post about Americans running around in T-Shirts and Flipflops in February. NOOOO, Germans believe in the rule that you cannot wear summer clothes in any months between October and April! And yes, cold air will make you sick!
    #5: Yes, it’s annoying to pay, but: At least we have proper public broadcasting not financed by parties, so we actually get some decent information not biased to either side…
    #4: Well, I can’t believe an American dares to criticize the European banking system. You still write checks to pay for rent in the US and you have to remember every month to send it by mail or physically take it to your landlord versus free bank transactions across whole Europe with a few clicks!
    #3: Haha, when I told my husband that if you don’t remove the snow you will pay for the medical bill if someone falls and breaks their leg, he was shocked. So I agree, Germans have ridiculous rules – however, I discovered many useless rules in America… I always thought it’s the land of free, but actually in most states bureaucracy is sometimes worse than in Germany…
    #2: Agreed, the Postal Service of picking up your mail at home is great, however sending anything larger than a letter or even dare to send it overseas costs a fortune in the US, I’d rather bring my letter to a mailbox and pay less for sending some gifts to Germany…
    #1: It is hilarious – my husband noticed the same thing when we visited Germany a few years ago – must be true;)

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    1. I’m totally with you about the banking system. It took me years to convince my American relatives to not send checks by mail anymore, but just make a bank transfer like everyone in the modern world. Really, the looks I used to get at my German bank, when I wanted to deposit a check…

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  9. I know what you are saying about Germans and being cold. We were in Miltenberg in October 2013 and it was 23 degrees Celsius. I was starting to wish I brought shorts and the locals were wearing heavy coats! Then in Bamberg, we were sure they were trying to cook us. Most of the restaurants we went into were way too warm. We didn’t have to worry about our food getting cold. The beer was another matter.

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  10. Hahahaha, love it. #4 & 5 sound like France — except it’s a TV tax, radio is free. It’s so baffling sometimes how a modern culture can be so ass backwards with relatively simple things. In the same vein as internet banking, just internet ANYTHING is a pain. Just this weekend I was trying to navigate my town’s website to see if the dump was open on Sunday (a holiday) so we could drop off our lawn clippings. It took 10 minutes for me to even find the page for the dump and OF COURSE it hadn’t been updated for a year so no mention of the holiday hours. My husband went and it was closed. Of course it was.

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      1. This is SO true. I just tried finding information on a restaurant’s brunch offer for mother’s day. They had a nice little picture on their website that basically said “click here for more information on our mother’s day brunch” and then when i did it just sent me to a website that said they’re going to spoil us for mother’s day. What the hell does that even mean? I want to know what food they offer, how much it is and what their hours are. Is that so hard to put on a restaurant’s website?

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  11. Some of these are the same in France—for example the mailbox thing. Americans are really lucky with the US postal service and I do miss it. I think the French have less respect for rules like not mowing your lawn on Sunday—but I could be wrong—but they DEFINITELY think breezes make you sick. It boggles my mind. It’s funny for how different the French and Germans pretend to be there are some striking similarities…

    Also, in lots of places in the States you are liable if you haven’t shoveled your sidewalk free of snow and someone wipes out! (I went to college in Minnesota, try to imagine four college roommates being on top of that…)

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  12. Quite frankly, I think the language of this blog are insulting. Apparently the author does not know that m…f is an insult to German and Americans alike. There are also other expressions in this blog which are very questionable. If the author thinks he’s funny, I’d like to disabuse him of his notion.

    Somebody should have edited his stuff.

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  13. Hey,

    The afternoon quiet rule depends on where you live. Here in Bochum, it’s no longer law. Anyone can cut grass or whatever between 7 AM and 7 PM on weekdays/non-holidays. If that rule really irks someone, I’d encourage him or her to check their local regulations.

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  14. The TV licence fee is here in Ireland too, and the UK, no matter how bad the TV is. It used to be a TV and radio fee but they changed it to just TV. And we have to go to a postbox to send mail too (but who does that anymore? ;) )

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  15. I would love the rule about lawn mowing in the US! These crazy people who live to mow every day drive me nuts! My husband likes your expressions..and is how I got him on board reading your blog;) Men…

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  16. Love the Merkel Diamonds, had never seen them before hahaha. I also think Spaniards are worse for their tunnel vision because it includes just not giving a fuck about anybody else on the sidewalks. They’ll take every inch walking 4 wide leaving you, only one person, to spiderman that wall to get past. Great read though, very funny and true!

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  17. Twenty-two IBAN numbers “geht doch?” In Greece and France people wrestle with 27 numbers. In Hungary even 28. Although, in Belgium only 16. Who does not love European diversity?
    And even if you can proof that a TV or radio is not in your house or car(s), they simply send you a mail, Which is proof that you can use digital radio and TV on your computer, laptop or on your ‘handy’.

    Another surprise, surprise!, is that churches are allowed to withdraw church taxes from your bankaccount without your approval. The data about your religion is relayed to the church administration by the tax authorities. Of course all neatly embedded in new legislation.

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  18. I sometimes find more cultural differences in the British Isles than within the continent despite the numerous national and regional languages, past conflicts and current tensions. Your commentary on their irrational fear of the cold and adherence to various confusing and often conflicting rules is spot on and applies to most of these fine countries, most notably France. Once, anticipating yet another lecture on how the gentlest breeze through an open window equals man made epidemic, I said my friend (smiling while opening said window on a nice sunny day) “Welcome to the 21st century, milady. It is my pleasure to inform you it has been discovered that moving air is no match to your fair but vigorous figure on its own and that there is no sorcery involved in ballpoint pens”. We laughed and enjoyed some crisp, fresh air and a glass of nice French wine. Ah, the simple pleasures in life.

    To be fair though, in the USofA 1.You do have to keep sidewalks and driveways clear in many towns and even states lest one man’s laziness becomes another’s jackpot, 2. The banking system has a likely pro-paper lobby induced dependence on checks which limits what you can do online, and 3. Sending mail from the mailbox or with the mailman has been discouraged the past few years since they can’t just slip it into the sorting system nor can they cut to the front at the office meaning they waste time lining up with the peasants and that grandma isn’t getting her Christmas card any faster.

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  19. Speaking of paying for sky or air, wait until you own a home. Then you pay for rain, sort of. There’s a charge on the water bill for the square meters of your lot that are covered with concrete (walkways, driveway, patio, house, etc.), because rain water falling there ends up in the sewer system rather than in the ground/grass. I’ll be writing a blog post about that just as soon as I’m sure I understand it. I realize there’s a sewer charge on US water bills as well; maybe it’s the same thing.

    Other expat women have written about this before, but it happened to me for the first time a few weeks ago – Germans are apparently convinced that sitting on cold stones brings on a bladder infection. I was sitting on the steps of my husband’s company talking with him, and a woman I didn’t know left the office. As she walked past she warned me against sitting on the cold steps. If she had waited for a response I would have told her cold stones don’t affect Americans – especially not those from Wisconsin.

    These quirks or very minor annoyances don’t make a darn bit of difference, though. I still prefer Germany and will never willingly move back to the US.. :-)

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    1. I cannot tell you how many times my German husband has pulled my shirt down when it has ridden up my back and warned me that if I don’t keep my kidneys warm I will get an infection. Ummmmm… Pretty sure my constant 98.6°F body temp will be sufficient, but thanks. He also firmly believes that drinking cold liquids will give you an infection. My husband is well-educated to the point that I am often humbled by his intelligence, but never have I ever met a person who is so ridiculously misinformed about the inner workings of the human body. And he CANNOT be reasoned with about it. A draft makes you sick. Period. There is no room for discussion about it. I’m honestly thankful to know it’s not just him who’s a total lunatic about the cold. It seems the majority of Germans are equally cooky about it. Ugh.

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  20. a funny post. In response to each point as a fellow expat (I’m Australian) now living in Berlin.

    6- I was in hospital recently and the fear of cold was upsurped by the deutsch love of gesund luft. It was freezing with the windows constantly open, especially at night!

    5-the tv radio tax is a big pain felt by all expats, particularly considering the appalling quality of deutsch tv ( I’ve never owned a tv and my two week stay in hospital made my convinced this was a good thing). The tax also somehow includes owning a computer, making it impossible to escape the tax unless you have a sensory disability.

    4-We use number26 bank after many difficult attempts at Postbank in Leipzig, Banking is hard when you first move to a country and don’t speak the language, nor do any of the old ex-DDR staff.

    3-We vacuumn most sundays after 1pm. Fuck em

    2-no idea, I never send letters actually!

    1-so very true. Berliners will smack into you, especially children on fecking scooters.

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    1. Most Germans struggle with the GEZ (the “tax” for tv, radio and internet). It used to be a fee that only needed to be paid when used. But then by every person that uses it.
      It was disliked even back then.
      Then it got changed to that every household (not person anymore) has to pay wether those media are used or not. The household change is nice but the other change is not. GEZ is more hated than ever now.
      There’s also much discussion about how that money is spent, as it is still a fee and not a tax. Tax money can be spent on anything (a school, a park, whatever), a fee is to cover the costs of the certain thing (public broadcasting service here). And when the public broadcasting pays millions for an exclusive license to broadcast soccer/football matches then people like me are mad that the money gets thrown into a money sink like that.

      I don’t watch tv anymore but I think the public broadcasting channels are okay (those were the ones I watched last, I stopped with the private channels first). The stuff that lets you doubt the sanity of mankind runs on the free private channels (e.g. RTL). Unfortunately with success.
      However, they don’t get any money from the GEZ, they finance themselves via ads breaks.

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  21. Hahaha! Merkel diamonds!! An Australian in Italy here, and I have a German mamma…I laughed so hard at the comment about keeping kidneys warm – I thought that was just Mum. Do they ‘die of tired’ too??
    Also a few parallels to the Italians – in particular cold, and the irrational terror of open windows, damp hair and drinking water straight from the fridge. All countered by daily consumption of gelato.

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  22. They seriously make you take your passport to get a package? My post office looks at my permit, throws the package at me, and promptly moves on to the next customer.

    With regards to the TV and radio fees, we also have them in Baden-Württemburg. Someone I know decided to tell them that he wanted to pay cash. They must have not wanted to mess with him after that because he never paid it. He also delights in entering thoughtful memos for his online banking transactions like, “Interruption of violent pornography.” His bank never calls to check up on him. Maybe you should give both of these rebel acts a shot and let us all know how it goes!

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  23. I found your blog through a Facebook friend who shared one of your posts (about your dental visit). I’m a Filipino expat in USA, and it’s really interesting to see all the differences. This post is interesting and somewhat funny!

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  24. Haha! I love this post. My favorite is about the letters. I was JUST discussing this the other day with my German husband and saying how frustrating it is to always have to go to the Post or find a mailbox somewhere. I mean, there are hardly any mailboxes around anyway!! Why, oh why, with all the German efficiency that exists, can the Deutsche Post person not take your letter, too??!!!

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  25. So funny!
    And don’t forget the cultural shock of not being able to watch music videos on YouTube ‘cos of fee-paying copyright “we-don’t-want-you-to-watch-this-particular-music-video regulaton, or something, in Germany lol!

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  26. For #6 you are absolutely correct. My wife is German and freaks out anytime its the slightest bit cold. We have a one year old and she is convinced he needs to sleep in three layers of clothes at night in California in May where reaches a cool 75°. Aparently my son Will suffer instantaneous death the second hits the slightest bit cool. She’s also convinced if you sit on the cold ground you will get a bladder infection or if you go outside and it’s cold you will get sick . I showed her a scientific study proving all that wrong but she would not believe me

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  27. I live in Bavaria and I am so hot natured that I have already purchased SIX fans and I am using all of them in order to sleep comfortably at night.

    I have told exactly zero of my German friends – I don’t want them to think they’ll get sick by association! ;)

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  28. Great list! I never noticed that “we” germans run other people over. We are probably only really efficient walker ;)
    But i have to give a rebuttal to the “radio tax”: It’s just 15€ per Household and month and it ensures free and unbiased news. I really think other countrys like the US or Italy could should have it. Much more baffling for foreigners it often that the state automatically collects the church tax if you are in a bigger religious group. So you explicitly have to exit the church (and most of the time pay a fee at your local office to do so) if you want to stop paying your taxes to the church.
    Greeting from Duisburg :)

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  29. I guess drinking a beer must be a nightmare for you…..the Germans like it lukewarm ! If you wanna insult a German put some ice cubes in it!!

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  30. Reading these articles are both hilarious and useful, I’m aspiring to spend a semester there, maybe even living there one day because it was my absolute favorite country I’ve ever been to. (Bavaria for a week!) People will probably think I’m crazy if I go there since I love the cold, particularly snow.
    Another thing I noticed is something I like to call “The German Stinkeye”, when you do something wrong but not to bad to be yelled at, and weirdly enough it’s not just like one person who does it but rather a collective whole.

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  31. Tunnel-vision Berliners drove us mad! We actually saw one man shout at a woman for walking on the wrong side of the pavement – he literally went MAD because in Germany you are meant to walk on the right side of the pavement and she was slowing down on the left side to look at a shop window… so glad to be surrounded with polite English people who just apologise for walking all the time instead haha! :)

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  32. I’m with Comdirect and I don’t have the card scanner thing, so that one must be bank specific. The rest is hilariously true though (although I live in Switzerland now. No making a noise on Sundays applies here as well).

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  33. About the cold, my grandmother always used to admonish me to wear shoes (except in hot summers, barefoot was not only tolerated but much appreciated since it is good for the feet she said), have my shirt in the pants, not to sit on cold ground, not to sit on wet ground, dry properly before going out after a shower, wear warm socks.
    But well, she’s the generation that experienced the war as child and the time after WWII in that they had nothing, lost home and everything, and health was a treasure to cherish. Means she and other elder people, with similar reactions to even strange children, are excused. They are caring.

    My sister freaks out when I go out with wet hair. She says I’ll get the cold, I retorted, asking how wet hair would cause a cold. Next time she re-considered and said I could get a meningitis.
    Hard to counter on the fly since my hair indeed is attached to my head and the brain is close by.
    But I googled it and it’s also rubbish.
    My mother would freak out too but she doesn’t see me like that.
    Talking about my mother, she’s the queen of “Luftzug”. If there’s a whiff somewhere where she sits and she can’t change the place, then she will want a pillow or blanket, or jacket. Have you heard of the tale of ‘The Princess and the Pea’? Replace pea with whiff and my mother is the princess.

    My mother didn’t like me walking barefoot at home all my time as a teenager, I should at least wear socks, but that’s uncomfortable.
    Now I’m in my thirties and started to wear socks plus sandals at home because I do start to feel that the ground is cold. But could just mean I developed a circulatory disorder. I didn’t get sick of that yet. When I get a cold then because someone else gives it to me – tyvm.

    (See how the only thing I replied to is the cold matter ^^)

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  34. You are lucky. My German wife will and my friend’s German wife will open the window during the middle of the winter and say FRISCHE LUFT! I could kill her when she does this. Cold does not phase her in the apartment.

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  35. ZOMG #1, THIS. SO MUCH THIS.

    It’s taken 12 years in Bavaria (which is awesome) and I’m just starting to get over my own human-contact reluctance enough to just ram into people who stop dead in front of me. If I’m really good, I toss off a filthy look, don’t say anything and just keep walking. They totally think I’m one of them.

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  36. Regarding #1: Once, in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, the touristiest tourist town of them all, I found myself to be blocking the path of a local native German woman behind me while snapping a picture on the steps of the Rathaus or similar. I was aghast and apologized appropriately for doing that which annoys me so much about so many of my fellow inhabitants of Germany. She was non-chalant about it.

    “Ich habe einen Mund. Ich hätte etwas sagen können!”

    … was her reply. Maybe all Germans stopping dead in their tracks, blocking up the works, think that way.

    Since then I am not shy about it anymore; shouting Raus! Raus! Raus aus dem Weg! with grandiose sweeping hand gestures is good for my soul and they step aside to avoid the crazy guy. Zwei Fliegen, eine Klappe. This works even among Germans im Ausland as I discovered on the subways of Rome last week.

    Another method I am dying to try: carrying a bike bell in my hands to ring behind them as I approach. I will let you know how it goes.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. So … Wait, lemme get this straight. In the US you can put outgoing letters in your OWN letter box to be picked up by the postal service? 😮 Because needing to put letters into the postal service’s post boxes for them to be picked up and processed is how it works in all of Europe, I dare say, not just Germany. I’m a Swedish ex-pat in the UK and had never heard of how it works in the US, and when I just mentioned it to my British husband, he too went “woah! Really?”

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      1. In the UK most people have mail slots in their front doors instead of mailboxes so it wouldn’t really work here, but it sounds pretty awesome!

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  38. Hahahaha omg that was really funny :’D I can totally agree with online banking. It is so annoying and complicated, that I just don’t do it. I don’t understand it so I prefer to just use paypal or send money via paper :’D
    And I hate that we have to pay for radio and tv although we might not use them. It doesn’t make sense at all.

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