As we sat in the car watching the great German forests pass us by a few days ago on our way home from biking in Koblenz, my aunt asked me what were the biggest culture shocks I faced when first arriving here in Germany. It got me thinking, and although most of these things are very simple and very deeply applicable to only me, I thought I would share them.
The number one weirdest and most shocking thing I have encountered here in Germany is also in my opinion the most disgusting. In Canada we have mosquitoes, great horrid things whose main mission in life is to make your life a living hell in the great outdoors. Here in Germany they don’t have mosquitoes, they do however have garden slugs. Easily the most disgusting things I have ever laid eyes on, their orangish brownish feces like bodies slither out from the depths of hell as soon as the sun begins setting and dew settles into the grass. I cannot overstate enough how absolutely disgusting they are; completely repulsive and absolutely POINTLESS beings that serve to make me incredibly wary of ever setting foot outside after six o’clock in the evening. My fear and disgust of these creatures is well known to my family, so much that one of my aunts thought it would be a great idea to order some fake slugs off Amazon and give them to her many young kids to torture me with. It was quite the surprise to be presented with them first thing in the morning by blue eyed innocent looking children whose first instinct is to throw them in your face. Not a highlight of my life.
Another thing I really can’t understand here is their beverages. Germans have a fascination with putting gas into their drinks, whether it be water or apple juice, nothing is safe. When I asked my family why there is such a need to carbonate seemingly every drink in this country they told me that it simply tastes better and is more fun. I’ll have to take their word for it.
Walking around the local villages never fails to lift my mood, seeing all the local blond haired kids playing in the streets and admiring the great gard
ens which ensue most of the houses. Most houses here are absolutely gorgeous, and all are unique and distinct from the one next to it – unlike the suburbs I have become accustomed to seeing in Canada. People here take great pride in their gardens, whether it be having a great play structure for the kids, or beautiful flowers spilling out of their confines – everything here is gorgeous. There is however one element of these gardens I absolutely cannot understand, no matter how many times my family tries to explain their beauty to me. They are what I call “stones-in-boxes” or what my family has informed me are titled “Gabionen.” Many ‘modern’ houses here have them in their front gardens, and they are seen as a very pretty and cool thing to have. For the life of me I cannot understand why anyone would pay to have stones encased in chicken wire placed on their front lawn (sorry Christine and Daniel!) When I asked my aunt about it she told me that most Germans like their art and decoration to be clean, symmetrical and non-messy, thus the appeal of stones-in-boxes. I still don’t get it.
The last thing that I am finding hard getting used to is their doors. These doors are no simple, turn-the-handle and step outside kinda doors. These are the turn-the-handle and have the door pop out of it’s frame and threaten to fall on top of you kinda doors. I am literally trapped in a prison, any door that is made of glass is too complicated for me to understand, and I dare not attempt to open them for fear of yet another one falling on top of me.