I spent about a year living and working in Germany between 2017 and 2018 and thought it was one of the most interesting experiences I’ve ever had in my life. It was my first time moving out of Canada by myself and my first time in Germany as well as in Europe. The differences between Canada and Germany were really overwhelming at the beginning…everything was so different, which brought up a lot of fun experiences, and in this blog, I’m gonna talk about some funny things (or weird things?) I’ve experienced in Germany. Oh, one thing, I LOVE GERMANY. I always call it my second home! P.S., what I’m saying about Germany might be wrong or inaccurate, but these were really my real impression of Germany!
GERMANS ARE REALLY REALLY FAST
I did some research about Germans and Germany before I moved there, and it says Germans are really efficient in dealing things. I was actually curious about that, and when I moved there, I found this kind of efficiency could be seen not only at workplaces, but also in grocery stores, mail offices, restaurants, etc..
For example, in German grocery stores like Kaufland, I always saw cashiers quickly scanning and swinging the items to the other side so fast while Germans packing their things so fast as well. They didn’t seem to have enough time to arrange their stuff in the shopping bag properly. I’ve never seen Germans packing things one by one so slowly at the checkout, instead, all I saw was they quickly threw the items into the bag or the shopping cart, and then arranged the items outside of the line after the checkout. This drag-and-drop style of checking out items was really overwhelming to me at first. In Canada, it is completely the opposite, the line is slow, customers are picky about placing items, some Canadians even pick up a chat with the cashier during middle of the checkout. I think if you really did that in Germany, those Germans at the back would really gonna kick your butt off!
Same thing in mail office and phone carrier shops, people working there all seemed so anxious and gathered all the information so swiftly, which made them look like they were up for something else right after. Sometimes it made me feel anxious too, haha.
GERMANS ARE HUMBLE
Many people think Germans are aggressive, but to me Germans are just fast, which has nothing to do with aggressive. In fact, Germans are one of the most humble type of people I’ve known, sometimes I think Germans are very shy.
When I was doing my insurance at the AOK, a German lady whose English was really limited took care of me while I was waiting for another English-speaking assistant in the office. The reason she took over my case was that English-speaking assistant was busy with other customers on appointments and she didn’t want to keep me waiting for so long. The entire time, she was really apologetic about her bad English, and kept saying “sorry, my English is not really good”, which melted my heart so bad and made me feel so guilty for not speaking German! I kept telling her “Don’t say sorry please, I should be the one who is apologetic for not speaking German in Germany!” But she said she understood people don’t speak German because it is a hard language!
Another example was me looking for the Auslanderbehorde and was lost in the middle of streets, a mail delivering lady saw me and tried to speak to me in English asking what’s up till I told her I was trying to find the Auslanderbehorde, she actually took me there and guided me through to find the office I was looking for, and told that person who worked in the office to take care of me nicely because I don’t speak any German.
GERMANS ARE ACCURATE
I’ve mentioned about this before one of my previous blogs, and this still gets me every time I think of Germans…THEY ARE PUNCTUAL. For example, me dealing with the visa extension, the lady who worked they told me I was gonna receive a notice regarding my visa in mail in a week, I remember clearly it was on Friday when I filed this request, and surprisingly I did received the notice in the mail the following Friday…. EXACTLY A WEEK! I heard many people complaining about Auslanderbehorde in bigger cities in Germany, but I was really lucky to have my visa extended on the exact time they promised! There were many other times I was dealing things at the Rathaus and Auslanderbehorde, which made me feel like if a German tells you gonna hear from them in 7 days, you WILL hear from them in 7 days.
Another thing I like about Germans is they are really specific and accurate. This could be a good thing, but sometimes it could be overwhelming. I always feel like if Germans tell you something, and they normally don’t like telling you a second time, a third time, 4th….because they expect you to remember what they said in the first time. I have a goldfish memory so I always forget things, and every time I ask things my German friends have already told me before, they all say “I’ve told you before!”.
THE GIRL AT THE TRAIN STATION
I was once on my way back to Germany from Belgium and the train terminated at Frankfurt central station so I had to transfer to another one to get back to Stuttgart. It was my first time travelling by train so I was lost really at 9 at night at the station. I was really panicking till I met this girl on the platform, I went up to told her “I am a Canadian and I’m just lost”, She was really friendly and she tried her best help me find the right train and route back to Stuttgart. We actually took the same train, but different destinations. She was in the first class coach while I was in the second, but surprisingly, she actually came into my coach to find me and make sure I know the route back. She was one of the sweetest girls I’ve ever met.
I LOVE GERMANY
It was really my first experience living outside of Canada by myself, and Germany turns out has given me a really positive experience. When my home city Calgary didn’t take me in, I was welcomed graciously by this country that’s thousands of miles away from home. Every time I describe Germany as my second home. I have a lot of German friends and penpals and I sincerely love them all. It is kinda weird, but despite the German language which I don’t speak, Germany is always so familiar like my home, and I forever appreciate my time there. LOVE!