We have had no less than 5 people either share, comment, ask, or send us the link to this article about American habits that one girl lost when she moved to Germany. Most of the questions revolve around, ''Is it true?'' And both of us would say yes, especially regarding the parts about small talk and public nudity. We have pretty much lost all of those habits while living over here. Perhaps they're just in hibernation until we move back to the States. Only time will tell if we will eventually regain them.
But, we haven't only lost American habits with this move, we have also managed to pick up a surprising number of German habits. So, without further ado, we present to you our list of 9 habits we picked up when we moved to Germany!
1. Eating With Two Hands
It's no secret that Europeans eat with two hands. Many people see it as much more efficient than cutting a bite off, setting the fork and knife down and switching hands to eat. But what a lot of people don't know is that they take it a step further. They hold their fork in their left hand, and their knife in their right, for the entire meal, even if you're not using the knife all the time. Basically, you eat with your fork in your left hand here. After 7 months, I'm finally getting the hang of it, but at first, I was a hot mess.
2. An Aversion to Noise
Germans love their quiet and generally abhor loud, unnecessary noise. I have caught myself on more than one occasion wish that the loud Italian talking on his phone in the middle of the (mostly) quiet tram would just hang up his phone already. Or at least quiet down and not talk so loudly.
3. Waiting to Cross the Street
Germans have a love for rules and order that extends to every aspect of their lives. They will wait for the light to signal that you may cross the street, even if no cars are present for a mile in either direction. For the most part, we follow this. But sometimes, I'm just in too much of a rush to wait when there are literally zero cars.
They don't do it to be rude, but the Germans tend to stare. On the tram. On the street. In restaurants. To them, it's really not seen as rude, and you can even stare back. In the States, staring is seen as rude and if you stare back, as a challenge, but here, not at all. While I try to keep it to a minimum, sometimes that loud drunk person on the train is just too hard to look away from.
5. Driving Fast on the Autobahn
Our friends are always asking if we have driven on the autobahn yet, as if it some mystical, magical road that has no speed limits and you can go as fast as you want. In short, yes. In reality, a lot of the Autobahn has speed limits, but the sections that don't? Aaron is pretty much flooring it. During the day in nice weather, it's not unusual to be going 150 - 160 km/hour (about 90 - 100 miles/hour). And still get passed. Alas, our little rentals are not usually rated for anything more than 240 km/hour. And before you ask, yes, we have gone nearly that fast, but not for long distance. Driving back to the States is going to feel like crawling after driving over here.
6. Air Drying Laundry
Many people in Germany don't own, or at least use, dryers. Electricity is much more expensive than in the States and it's not really all that efficient to tumble dry clothes. We do have a dryer, but it's tiny and of the condenser type (meaning it condenses the moisture out of the hot air into a tub which we then have to empty), and takes for.ev.er. to dry clothes. So, we've just been hang drying them instead. Some stuff dries a little on the ''crunchy'' side, but those then just get tossed in the dryer for a couple of minutes to soften them up before folding.
7. Buying Bread Multiple Times a Week
Germany is kind of known for it bread (along with beer and wurst), and for good reason. It is delicious. And with bakeries on nearly every corner, its easy to buy fresh bread every day or every other day. Not to mention it's cheap. Now if only my waist line could handle it all with the grace of a German waistline.....
8. Being On Time
Ok, so this is one that is a constant struggle, but we have gotten a lot better about being on time. And we learned the hard way that fashionably late for a party doesn't exist. The party starts at 7, you arrive at 7. Not 7:30.
9. Drinking Sparkling Water and Schorle
Ok, so it may not be a strictly German thing, but I have fully embraced the fizzy water. Aaron has not. Which is good, because then we won't steal water from my water bottle :) The schorles are also delicious. Basically, it's anything mixed with sparking water. My favorites are the wine and apple juice schorles. So tasty!
Oh, and along those lines, not having ice in my drink. Some cocktails come with ice, but pop, water, etc. do not have ice. When we were here in the summer, it was hard, but now I'm used to it. And now I find iced water, pop, etc. too cold.