Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Things I love about Germany Part 1

I've been living in Deutschland for 10 months now. I've experienced so many amazing foods, places, festivals and more. I've met some incredible people from all over the globe. I want to share some of my very favorite things about living in Germany.

Disclaimer: My thoughts and opinions are mine alone. These opinions and insights are from my personal experiences living in the South Hessen area. Many areas of Germany, like anywhere else in the world, are very different culturally and may be nothing like the South Hessen area.

Fave Things About Germany:
Part Eins (1)

*Parks, parks everywhere!
- No joke; there are parks EVERYWHERE here. Beautiful green parks with walking and biking paths, ponds and ducks, amazing playgrounds for kids, soccer fields, picnic areas, huge green grassy lawns for lounging on a blanket and reading in the warm sun, benches GALORE to sit on and enjoy the scenery, gardens full of beautiful plants, flowers and sculptures, and more. And people are serious about parks here. Parks are used all the time. There are always people at the park. Relaxing, snacking or napping on blankets, sitting on benches, listening to music, reading books, strolling hand in hand on the paths eating Eis (ice cream), kids running through the grass playing with balls and toys, or frequenting the extremely well built and maintained playground areas, zip lining over a sand pit, scooting on their bikes and more. I'm going to interject this tidbit: Kids here usually have NO training wheels on their bikes, even 2 year olds! They use their feet to propel themselves on the ground and learn quickly how to balance on a bike. Children start doing this at 1 1/2 to 2 years old!


Prinz Georg Garten

*How Safe I Feel Here

-This part of Germany is so safe. I'm not saying bad things don't ever happen, but violent crime is much lower here than in the U.S.  In my 10+ months here, I have never once felt unsafe while walking by myself, riding the bus, trams or trains, strolling through the park, etc. In the U.S.,  I'd frequently feel uneasy or strange about a person's behavior/way they were acting or staring, whether in the store or on the streets.  I never would have just strolled around at night by myself without my pepper spray back home, but do here easily. I'm still alert and aware, as I feel that's very important no matter where you are, but so far haven't felt uneasy or afraid here. 

*The People Here
-GASP! SHOCKER! Did she just say she liked those rude, crazy Germans? Is she crazy? 
Apparently I am. Let me tell you, when we first moved here, I was expecting and felt like it was accurate to say Germans were a cold bunch. They don't make eye contact and smile at you that much, or strike up conversation randomly on the bus. They don't "Hi, how ya'll doing?" and proceed to ask personal questions. This is all true. My first thoughts were that they were unfriendly people. And to someone who's used to living in the U.S., where in most places, people smile and make eye contact and chat wherever you go, it seems that way.

BUT what you discover, when you live here for a bit and learn the German way, is how incredible most of the people here are. I have found the people here to be so incredibly kind and helpful to each other. 
Some examples:
1. Any time an older person gets on the bus, someone gets up and offers them their seat. When a pregnant woman walks into a room or onto the bus, someone gets up and offers them their seat. 
People are very quick and efficient about getting on and off the buses and trams, but when someone with a stroller is trying to get on, people get up, they keep the doors open and help pop the stroller wheels up into the bus/tram and get in. 

2.  In the doctor's office while waiting for my appointment, a baby left with one his big brothers (around 11) in the waiting room starts wailing while Mom and the middle brother (age 2 or so) are with the doctor. A lady gets up, asks the child if it's ok, gets the newborn out and walks around, pats the baby, calms him down. The other people in the waiting room are smiling. No one is thinking: "I can't believe she touched that baby. Oh the lawsuit possibilities!" No, it's just a nice thing another lady did for a Mom and her child.

3. When you meet a German individual, they aren't as open and friendly and personal as you might be used to in another country. Germans take a little more time when getting to know someone, which I now think of as a GOOD thing. It doesn't mean they are cold or don't want to get to know you, they just think it should be done in layers. They don't lay their business and personal life all out on the table, nor do they like it when someone else does it right up front. BUT when someone here gets to know someone and decides they like them and opens up, they are loyal and friendly and personable. Being invited over for dinner or lunch is a big deal and is taken seriously here, it's an honor. They go all out with food and drinks and hospitality. 

4. Germans mind their own business. I like this. One thing I've always disliked is how Moms in the U.S. (and other places I'm sure!) are so critical and nosy about other Moms parenting styles and choices. Now, I'm not talking about something that is obviously dangerous or neglectful. I'm talking personal choices and parenting styles. People commenting on how "they did things" and passing judgement on others who do things differently. Drives. Me. Bananas! I have experienced so much less of that here. It's refreshing and freeing and feels more like a community to have so much less judgement and interference by others into your life. Everyone is different and it's nice that people don't stare, make comments, openly judge, etc as much here. 

This makes me laugh. :) Pretty accurate!

Germans love their festivals! They go all out and enjoy themselves. :)

Now you might be thinking that I'm coming down on Americans. I'm not trying to. I'm merely pointing out the things I LOVE about Germany. And these things happen to be much different than what I'm used to in the States. There are SO many things about living in America that I love and cannot find or experience here. Tons and tons! But I do love Germany, and I want to share why with you. Stay tuned for part dos zwei!


  1. Things you describe about the German people were true of the Russian-German community of Aberdeen, SD where we lived when Jenna was young. After a year we loved it there, although we still miss the South. Glad you like it there :)

  2. Really? That is so interesting to know. Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule, but it definitely seems to be German culture, no matter where they live. Thank you for sharing that. :)


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