1) The Germans watch television in German. Obviously. The amusing part is that they watch American shows (the favorites are “Two and a Half Men” and “How I Met Your Mother”) that are dubbed. And for some reason, they always hire the same two or three people (OK, a few more than that…) to do the dubbing. So rather than hearing Charlie Sheen, it’s the same voice as Brad Pitt in some other movie.
2) When participating in gym class, it is important to know more about the sport than how to play. This became clear to me in October or so when I had to take a written test on soccer. The rules. The size of the field, goals, diameter of the middle circle, names of all the different lines (in German). When the German Soccer League was founded. Who the president of the League is, and how long he has been president. You get the point. Essentially, things that I don’t know the answer to. Let’s just say it’s a good thing my grades during my time at school didn’t count. I got 24 of 51 points. With cheating.
3) German trains do not live up to their super-duper on time reputation. I would say approximately half the time my train comes late. Given, it’s only by about five minutes most of the time, but still.
4) If you’re going to play the song “Hangover” incessantly on the radio, it would be good to know what it means. Please.
5) According to a certain percentage of Germans, the United States is warm. “Have you seen snow before?” “Yes, I live in Colorado, we have mountains.” “Oh, but I thought it was warm in the US!” “That’s Florida.” I don’t blame them for not knowing we don’t have snow in Colorado. But the WHOLE United States? Come on, guys.
6) I think the tradition of a 4pm cake and coffee is a good one.
7) Living in the US, I was aware of the fact that my knowledge about American pop culture (movies, music, actors, who’s married to who) was less than adequate. Is it normal that the Germans also know more than me?
8) In my defense (to number 7), the Germans watch different shows and know different American music from Americans. I think, at least. I don’t get the feeling that “Two and Half Men” is a big thing in my homeland.
9) Your eighteenth birthday in Germany is a big deal. In the US, turning eighteen means “cigarettes, voting, and porn” (otherwise known as sex, drugs, and rock and roll). In Germany, it means that as well. But it also means, for the most part, that you are completely independent from your parents. You’re an adult now. Do what you want. None of this “as long as you live under my roof you’ll live by my rules” nonsense. I don’t know if I like that or not.
10) I was watching the Super Bowl a couple days (nights) ago. I laughed when the commentators explained what the electronic yellow line on the field means. It made me feel educated despite my lack of knowledge of American culture.
11) Speaking of the Super Bowl…I think commercial spots here cost less than 4 million per thirty seconds. I saw the same ones over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over.
12) Germans drink out of bottles. Drinking water out of the sink just doesn’t happen. I don’t know why. I have to remind myself to drink water, because when it’s bottled, for me that means it might as well be soda. Also, water with bubbles is lovely. I don’t know why Americans don’t like it.
13) I’ve gained weight since I’ve been in Germany. About twenty pounds, to be exact. When I tell Germans this, they laugh and say that doesn’t make sense because Germans are less fat than Americans. However, I read somewhere that the percentage of fat Americans is something like 65.7%. Percentage of fat Germans? 65.5%. Better watch out, Germany.
14) In Germany’s fatness defense, they have REALLY good bread. Even the French think it’s better than french bread.
15) One of the songs I play(ed) in my oompapa German band has lyrics. They go more or less like this: Franz went to the beer tent/ Because he likes to drink so much/ The beer was nice and cold/ a few more lines that I don’t remember exactly what they say…/ When he arrived in the morning, Franz was doing well/ But in the evening he lay under the table. Yup, that’s German beer culture for you.
16) In movie theaters, you get reserved seats (they all cost the same though). And the popcorn is usually sweet.
17) In tenth grade, my math teacher, Mr. Saracino, taught me SED (Saracino’s Enlargement of Dot Theory). It goes something like “If you are drawing a graph and the line doesnt go through the dot like it’s supposed to, make the dot bigger”. I used this theory on a math test earlier this year. It didn’t work. I guess that’s an American theory.
18) Why would the school’s English teacher think it’s a good idea to read the original version of Macbeth with the twelfth graders? Even I don’t understand Shakespeare without thinking about it. And I thought the point of learning English was to be able to use it. As far as I can tell, no one talks like Shakespeare’s characters any more. Probably never did, it’s too poetic. All I can say is that my classmates are lucky the internet and things like SparkNotes’ “No Fear Shakespeare” exist.
19) Whoever made up German and English was incredibly mean with the verbs “to become” and ‘bekommen’. Bekommen means “to get”. And in German, ‘to become’ is ‘werden’. One of the girls I tutor in English can attest to the incredible meanness of this fact.
20) Germans are good at making windows. Why Americans haven’t caught on to the ‘closed’, ’tilted open’ or ‘all the way open’ style of windows, I will never know.
21) So far, I’m the only one I know here who likes Dr. Pepper. And lemonade doesn’t exist here. And root beer is NOT alcoholic.
That’s it for the moment.
Oh, and since when are Tupperware parties a thing? I thought that was like…1950s America. There’s more Tupperware here than I’ve ever seen.