Living in Germany. My lifelong dream.
Here I am, finally able to take a moment to start writing about my experiences. This, of course, is because unless one has a rich Onkel or is independently wealthy (I certainly do not and am not), you must work if you move to Germany.
I work as a teacher, a humble but honorable profession, that which brought me here. My father was a teacher. My Uncle Martin – financially comfortable but not rich – was also a teacher, a professor of acoustics. Their father was an educator and administrator for a branch of schools spreading across the USA (about which he wrote a book). This grandfather spoke German at home with my father and his siblings, and they in turn studied the language of their forefathers and spoke it at home to us.
What was this German? I didn’t know when I was little, but I did know I wanted to find out where it came from. And here it has brought me, along with my education and experience, to work.
And Germany is a hardworking country. At this moment, it is one of the few countries that has a positive bottom line -- that is, a good economy, financial growth and little debt. People here are very industrious, or fleissig – there can be no deviating from any stereotypes in that regard. You don't see many bums in Germany, at least not where I live. There are a few beggars and lots of what Germans call "gangsters" or Zigeuner, but no homeless guys sleeping in parks at night.
Ah... Deutschland. The land of Bier, Bratwurst, and Lederhosen, right? Well, those exist here, but I've seen very few sets of leather pants or the yodeling, feather-capped Germans around whose loins they should be wrapped. Bratwurst is just one of a jillion kinds of sausage sold in stores or at the butcher shop -- eine Metzgerei -- which you can find in every neighborhood.
And get this: bratwurst isn't the preferred sausage of most Germans I've met. They might wrinkle their noses at the thought and mention some other regional or local specialty that has more spice and/or more color. Typically, mention the word Wurst, and eyes light up. It doesn't have to be a particular kind, because there are so many, and it is popular in its many forms.
Also common here is die Bäckerei, or bakery. They are open every day of the week, unlike most other retail establishments in Germany, and they can also be found around every corner. Good 'ol Harry's is a block from my house, and they have a great selection of breads, rolls, pastries, and more.
Yes, if I were to pinpoint why Germany is great, I believe I would start with its bread. This is a food and love blog, after all. Or a love of food blog. Or a food of love blog. But bread is a topic for another day.
There are many stereotypes of Germans and German life. Yes, nationwide they drink a lot of great beer, but the Germans I know stop after 1 or 2 glasses or 1/2 liters. I find the wine to be more popular. But I have been told that you don't drink wine at a party, because it makes you sleepy. Schnapps then? No. Too strong, except for special occasions. Perhaps I'm not hanging around with enough German alcoholics. Oh, well, this is my life in Germany, and I have to be truthful and factual.
Germany is a beautiful country, with lots to write about and lots to share. I will do my best in the coming weeks, months, years to tell you what I see and what I think I know.
Thanks for reading!