Saturday, July 23, 2016

Habits That Americans Tend to Lose in Germany

To be honest....most Americans will try to blend in and be a nice guest of Germany.  Yeah, we might over-consume their beer.....pig out on their fine pork dishes....and push twenty-year old BMWs to the absolute limit on autobahns....but we also still do American-style bar-b-q's, drink Mountain Dew occasionally, and have a preference for American TV programming.

So this is my list of the ten habits that we tend to lose:

1.  American-style breakfast.  The great 1,000-calorie American breakfast, with all the fat and grease.....tends to disappear.  We will be drawn to the German-style....croissants, jelly, paper-thin ham or salami, harsh coffee, and raisin-rolls.  When you do see breakfast offered at a local bakery....it'll amount to roughly 700 calories at best, with almost no fat.

2.  Acceptance of marginal beer.  Maybe while living in the US....you have accepted drinking Bud-Light or PBR.....but once you arrive in Germany....you will settle upon minimum requirements.  You simply won't accept marginal tasting beers any longer.  When someone offers up a chocolate-blend German beer.....you will accept it with no hesitation.  You will find tables of Americans who've been in Germany for a while....who discuss at length the fine quality of such-and-such German beer versus this other fine German beer, instead of discussing trailer-trash women or the best hunting rifle for wild boar.

3.  Driving safely at 55 mph.  Once you get around to the autobahn system, and have driven at 90 mph for a while....it's hard to avoid high speeds.

4.  Beef over pork.  It takes about a year for you to state a preference change from beef to pork.  Over that year, you will experience twenty-five different pork dishes and reach some conclusion that pork simply cooks better than beef....course, you can only say that if it's a German in the kitchen.

5.  Cars over public transportation.  If you live in an urbanized area like Stuttgart, Frankfurt or Berlin....you reach a stage where use of public transportation wins every single time.  You will have some app on your smart-phone and know the three connections to get from your house to such-and-such address in 45 minutes.  You don't worry about parking.....you don't worry about traffic jams....you get used to popping on your headphones and playing music in the background.

6.  Cheap chocolate.  After you've tried a dozen-odd German chocolates.....you come to this point of swearing off Snickers or any cheaply made chocolate.  Oh, I admit.....there are some cheaply made German chocolates, but after you've tried the good stuff, why would go back to any American cheap chocolate?

7.  The hamburger.  There are McDonalds and Burger Kings across Germany, and they attract a fair number of Germans, and the handful of Americans who reside here.  But after a while, you start to show diminished desires for burgers.  I might have four or five occasions a year when I will stop off for a quick lunch or dinner at Micky D's, but it's just not on the top ten list anymore.

8.  The American car.  After you've sat in a BMW, Mercedes, Audi, or finer European-brand car....you tend to notice little faults or lesser-designed items on American-made cars.  Oh I agree....some brands were death-traps (the Smart, the "duck", the old British-made Mini).  But after you've sat in a Mercedes W123 (even if it was 15 years old).....you simply sit and admire the quality and engineering involved in the car.  It's hard to go back and find the same efforts with American-made cars.

9.  Bowling.   Every German town has probably one single bowling alley still in operation, but you tend to find that Germans just don't bowl much and it's one of those odd activities for entertainment.

10.  Planes versus trains.  If you want to make some big trip within Europe.....instead of a trip out to the airport and a 90-minute flight to Vienna....you might stop and consider an ICE-train and spend six hours cruising across the southern half of Germany.....onto Vienna.  The ease of railway travel entices you.  You can make reservations.....arrange for a stop-over....and avoid all the security issues of airports.

2 comments:

Claudia said...

What I liked while living in Europe was the fact that the stores and shops opened up early, not the 10 AM that they do here in the states. Do they still do that?

R Hammond said...

About fifteen years ago, they underwent a revision on shopping hours (massive pressure triggered this)....to open up Saturday hours entirely and extend evening hours.

So today, most groceries will be open at 7AM and stay open till 8PM (some all the way to 10PM). Most hardware stores are 8AM to 7PM. Bakeries 6AM to 6PM.

All of this has triggered tens of thousands of additional jobs that wouldn't have existed two decades ago, and allows more shopping opportunities.