Sunday, January 20, 2013

How to be German in 25 easy steps -Part 3

So today we come to the last part of


Come on, to be fair you have to admit that your bread sucks.
I'm not one of these tree hugging organic people, but what Americans call bread is an insult. 
It's some kind of manipulated white tasteless flour stripped of all its nutrients, most of the time the second ingredient listed is high fructose corn syrup, rye bread doesn't taste of rye but of a ton of caraway -which is supposed to be a SPICE that lifts the bread taste not the other way around and -everything has the consistency of  stodgy pappy toast. No, worse than toast. you can compress a whole bread with your hands without much force to 1/4-1/3 of its original size.
-That's still not bothering you?
And no one feels bad about sending their young kids to school or kindergarden with double piece of junk with jelly and peanut butter in between -wait, carbs on top of carbs on top of carbs with no vitamins, minerals or anything that's worth eating as a full meal? Oh, yeah, that makes so much sense!
In Germany you get lots of bread options -toast, baguette, rough farmer's bread, hoagie bread, with seeds, without seeds, whole wheat, rye, mixed, white breads, pita bread...there's one thing they have in common: yeast/barm, no damn baking powdered mess. Be it sourdough, quick rise or whatever.
I was so disgusted by the American bread options -and trust me, I  tried them all for months and months (and putting salami or Leberwurst - no, you don't slice Leberwurst like salami, you take it our of the casing and spread it on your bread- on that sweet stuff was so hard, I started eating it with jam or Nutella only) I finally caved in and started baking my own bread.
So there, a German bread obsessed.


I don't know what the fuss is about. I never got an English US email or letter without the standardized 'best regards', 'regards', 'sincerely' or 'yours faithfully', in German it's just 'MfG' or 'VG' or something like that.

-and don't tell me anything about being 'offending'!
It seems like in the US everybody has the hobby of telling other people what should or shouldn't offend them.
-blackface is a total no-no, but it's OK to paint yourself 'red' for the Mummers Parade to look like an American Indian?
-there was a complete tirade when the pixiwoo sisters (from UK) did a make-up review and used the term 'black skin' and even had to apologize for it. 
Amazingly, no people of 'dark' skin felt offended (I mean, when you're in Europe dark skinned people come from everywhere -Ghana, Namibia  South Africa, Holland, the US...there's no generalized term possible like 'African American' -and seriously, if I was from Nigeria and someone called me African American, then I'd be really offended!).
-even subcultural acts want to tell females to be offended by other bands' 'racist or misogynistic' cover and video art while the females would happily throw themselves unto the stage to perform with the band.
-Americans are offended by things that were said or things someone didn't say,  with every joke they ask a hundred questions just to make sure nothing was meant to offend them, the tone of your voice, your matter what, they'll probably find something, so don't even try but take everything with a pinch of salt, please?
After I put my foot in my mouth a couple of times, I'd rather not say anything at all.


It makes me feel so homesick, I just want to hear someone 'tschüss' again while I leave a store...


For me, BBQ was never about the meat, it's about condiments and salads.
Potato salad is a standard (although it depends on the area you come from what you put in your salad-my grandma always puts a diced apple in hers <3 and="and" i="i" it="it" like="like" most="most" nbsp="nbsp" not="not" people="people" s="s">that
 much work to put it together and bring to a party.

I have always been a pasta salad kind of girl - Nudelsalat is the best, I could make a huuuuuuge bowl and it'll be gone the next day, I could eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and if it sat in fridge for a night it tastes even better than fresh.
If anyone is interested, I could post my recipe here.
I made it for a party in the states and it was gone so fast!

25. PROST!! 

Well, how do I explain this...
In medieval times everyone used to prost and clink their cups together as a sign of trust, so the drinks would mix a little as the liquid slops over and everyone was sure they weren't poisoned by anyone in the group.

Looking someone in the eyes while prosting was part of etiquette once, but not anymore.

Now we only do it in a group of friends at the pub or at a party as a joke:
'The one who doesn't look people in the eyes while prosting will have 7 years of bad sex'.

Another stupid drinking joke is:
whenever someone in your group burps, you have to raise your hand to your forehead with pinkie and thumb extended like this and yell 'Schulz!' -the last one to do this will get smacked on the forehead.

And that's the end of our list.

Friday, January 18, 2013

how to be german in 25 easy steps -Part 2

So this is part 2 of a German explains and wonders about
how to be german in 20 easy steps part 2

Enjoy -and if you have any questions, feel free to ask ;)


Sour and salty is to us like sweet and sour for Chinese.
It tastes good. Just like Americans like their sweet potatoes with *shudder* marshmallows on top (really???).
But that doesn't mean -as I already said in the last post- not all Germans eat sauerkraut and sauerkraut and coarse bratwurst or sauerkraut and kassler are their own meals and I never knew anyone who just ate sauerkraut by itself without potatoes or potato-mash.


As I already said in #7

"In Germany everything works with college qualifications or apprenticeships (which usually take 3 years work and vocational school, you have to take a test at the end to prove you're fit to do the job you apprenticed for).

If you get a job without that, you only get minimum wage (waiter, call center, bar maid, cleaning crew...) or you're a student with a side job. Your boss won't pay for part of your health insurance either and you won't get paid vacation time."

A real job in Germany counts as a full-time job, something with health benefits, enough money to pay your rent, living costs etc and no job, that just gets paid by the hour and you need 3 of those to survive and you're not f'%&$ed when you get sick for longer periods of time because you get paid anyway.


As a teenager, that's basically the first thing you learn to do -open your beer with a lighter or on a sharp edge no matter whether a window sill, a knife, a spoon or whatever.

One of my friends could open his beer with a folded piece of paper.

-What would your parents say if they see a bottle opener on your key-chain or you took the family opener out on the street with you?


Everyone here in the US says "Hi, how are you?" no matter where you go, the doctor's office, the store, the pub...

Now how many of those people actually mean it and want to know about how you feel or how your day went?

The nurse in the doctor's office should realize that the question answered itself 

because you have an appointment or came in there unannounced, so you feel sick, right?

And the person at the checkout recites the sentence cause it's in the book/rules.

So why do you all do and say your weird little small talks and make people think you 'care' until you come to the point and they realize you did all this because you want something from them?
Your boss doesn't need to be 'nice' to you an

d pretend that you're oh-so-good-friends and you're no 5 year old who needs to hear good things before the critique starts. Grow up.

Americans talk around the point a lot and for foreigners who aren't used to your culture, your language and your way to treat things have a big problem seeing through all these diversions and take it as pure fakeness when they get it.

Same with talking with a higher octave to appear friendly -that's a thing you do with toddlers because they're not developed enough yet and it seems ridiculous when people hear your normal voice after a while.

You don't need to butter up, it just makes you seem more slippery.


I don't know about other people and there are probably a lot who love Berlin and many move or try to move there, but for me it's just a tourist stronghold (like bavaria for that matter) and full of hipsters.

There are quirky and artsy people everywhere, you don't need Berlin for that.

On top of that, I'm a child of the Ruhr Area, a big blob in the middle of a lot of nothing like Berlin just isn't for me.


Exactly as the text says.

Everyone's German prejudice comes from Bavaria and most of the time, we, the 'other' Germans 1. don't understand what they say either 2. think they all seem like parts of sentimental films with regional background from the 50s/60s (but not our part of 'native') -in German it's called 'Heimatfilm' and 3. call it shady/murky/dusky Germany 'Dunkeldeutschland'


Maybe now I'm totally prejudiced, but skinny dipping is an English term, so you must do it, too, right?

And not talking openly (even at school etc) about sex is what makes teens use snickers wrappers instead of condoms, wives unhappy with their husbands and women feel like freaks when they find something 'unusual'(whatever that means to you).

But I'm from the land where actors can keep their ass cracks in movies and TV series(they just won't show them at noon but when little kids are supposed to be in bed and that's not only because of sex scenes but because of violence and language as well) and no one watching TV gets a heart attack because Angelina Jolie has nipples when she has sex with Ethan Hawke in Taking lives .
Get over it.


I don't even have a driver's license, but I see the guys lingering at the self-car-wash at the weekends cleaning their Mercedes and Volkswagen and Toyotas and being proud of them. Just like many do in the states.
There are car clubs in the US, there are car clubs in Germany.

Cars, even German cars, cost A LOT more in Germany than in the states.

If you can afford one, treat it right, make it look nice, so you'll be able to sell it later when you want/need another one.

Dads ask about the car their daughter's boyfriend drives? -Means what can he afford, is it only fit for scraps (I wouldn't let my kid into one of those, who knows if the guy can drive or if the car falls apart on the way to the club?), can he take care of himself and her?

Someone I know had to spend about 6000€ on their American car just to get it to German safety standards. Just think about that.


Sunday is the day everyone has off. No stores are open, you can't go shopping unless you do it at the flea markets or in a gas station shop, the whole family has off, 

so they enjoy it together.

If you're in your twenties you probably just came home from the clubs (in Germany i haven't found a single club that closes before 4-5am or even later) and you need the Sunday to get over your hangover, relax before you go back to work on Monday, get some energy for the next stressful week.
You can go see a movie, go to an amusement park, meet friends for brunch, do some sports or enjoy a lazy day.
No, mostly you won't get surgery done at the weekend unless it's an emergency.


I never got the whole Tatort thing, because there are so many better German crime shows, but it cracks me up to see my home city on TV, my home accent and slang or parts of Germany I have been to in a movie series where they say this is the mansion of so-and-so and you know it's the museum in Essen or this is the police department and for real it's the waterworks.
-Just the way New Yorkers are about CSI:NY or Princetonians about House MD.

Can't wait for part 3? Just have patience.

How to be German in 25 easy steps -Part 1

I just found this amazing website, written by an English dude living in Germany
and I couldn't stop laughing.
He's right!
Not 100% right, but every German find him/herself in this or at least someone they know.

how-to-be-german-in 25 easy steps-part-1

#1 Put on your house shoes

here I'm part of the exception. I hate house shoes. I love bare feet. running around my own apartment dressing however I like, don't know what I'd do if my house was completely tiled (maybe thick socks instead?), but no house shoes. They remind me of old people, my grandpa always had his house shoes next to the bed,next to his lazy boy chair when he took a nap.
Maybe that's the reason why house shoes always make me think of old people.

#2 Eat a long breakfast

For my parents' birthdays, mother's day, Easter  we kids always made a big breakfast. I went to the bakery to get fresh rolls, boiled eggs, brought all cold cuts, marmalade/jam,  honey, Nutella (you can't have breakfast without Nutella!) etc to the kitchen table, made coffee...It's a family thing.
Now that I'm grown up, I don't mind that anymore unless we get special guests or something.
When I have a job, it's already hard to get up in the morning, I usually take a sandwich with me to work, but I can't eat in the morning. Blergh.

#3 Planning, Preparation, Process

I hate preparation, but if I have to do something -move to another country, plan a business trip, I do it best friend is a list.

#4 Get some insurances

The first time living outside my parents home, I only had the minimum insurance, just in case I damaged something in the apartment, burnt down my household effects. (and you can't have a job or anything in Germany without health insurance, no one would take you as a worker if you weren't insured)

But i felt uneasy. 
-what, if I get sick and can't work anymore? -a disability insurance would be nice.
-what if the public pension won't be enough? -a private pension insurance would do the trick.
-what if my cell phone gets stolen or breaks? -a cell phone insurance would take care of it.

Germans basically have the Aflac commercial running through their heads nonstop when it comes to insurances.

#5 Dress seriously

We have mothers who are always yelling to get our coats on outside just in case it gets cold. And don't forget an umbrella!
We are 'just-in-case'-people. And that's not only about clothing.

My handbag is so full it's like carrying a corpse with you everywhere you go.

-just in case you or someone with you gets a headache, take painkillers with you.
-maybe you'll have an upset stomach, take some Prilosec/Omep with you.
-what if you get hungry, maybe put some snacks in.
-low sugar, take some candy.
-thirsty. need some water/juice/coke.
-the trip gets boring, take a book.
-miss your family, bring pictures.
-cut your finger, bring band aids.
-dirty bathroom, take desinfectant.
-dry skin, need hand lotion.

and those are just the extras besides makeup, keys, cell phone, wallet...

#6 Speak German

German is hard. Especially for foreigners.
But in a way Germans are like the French, if you're a tourist and try to speak some German, they love you.
If you try in your language or in English  many think you just don't take an effort or try to play dumb.
People in general are stupid.
We all had English at school, a minimum should be possible.
But you still have people -especially young ones- in stores, salons, on the street, who'll look at you like a deer in headlights when something not-German comes out of your mouth.

#7 Get some more qualifications

In Germany, if you're an idiot, you have to have a paper stating that you are.
No one cares if you can speak a certain language -if it's not your native language or you have a paper stating that you can, no one will believe you.

In Germany everything works with college qualifications or apprenticeships (which usually take 3 years work and vocational school, you have to take a test at the end to prove you're fit to do the job you apprenticed for).

If you get a job without that, you only get minimum wage (waiter, call center, bar maid, cleaning crew...) or you're a student with a side job. Your boss won't pay for part of your health insurance either and you won't get paid vacation time.

#8 Obey the red man

Germans don't follow aaaaalll the rules. 
The English are happy to stand in line all day long, Germans hate it with a passion.
Some cheat, some start complaining for another checkout counter after less than 3 minutes.
But yes, if you don't wait for the light to change, most will yell at you or think you're a rebellious teenager and a bad role model for little kids.

9. Drink Apfelsaftschorle

For me now living in a strange country and trying to cope with it, it's diet Coke.;)
You can't go wrong with diet Coke, it takes the same everywhere you go.
The orange, apple and cherry juices in the states completely freak me out. Nothing tastes as it should.
Cherry juice is made from tart cherries, sugar, sugar substitute or whatever is added, but it's tart. 
Orange juice -especially the ones that are refrigerated, have to taste fresh and have some acid and are mostly made from navel oranges.

If you drink non-carbonated water, most Germans immediately think of tab water (which is perfectly fine to drink in Germany by the way, no filter or anything needed).
Which automatically makes them think of tough times, having no money for other beverages...
So yes, carbonated water is 'classic'.

#10 Eat German food

Can't say it's not right.

But no, not all Germans eat sausage and sauerkraut and ham hock all day long.
-especially not sauerkraut on a freaking hot dog, we prefer our hot dogs Danish style, thank you very much. (ketchup, mustard, hot dog sauce/remoulade, fried or fresh onions and pickled gherkins -where, oh where can i find pickles in the state of Pennsylvania that are not dill or ridiculously sweet???)

That's what's so disappointing about German restaurants in the states.
No, not every dinner includes red cabbage or sauerkraut or spätzle for goodness sake!
We don't eat schnitzel every day!
And what you call Wiener or Frankfurter or Nürnberger is a sacrilege!