Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Differences between Germany and the U.S.A.

Obviously there are big cultural differences between these countries and I was ready for some of them and had already experienced a few of them on our previous travels here but I thought it would be fun to compile a list of the good, the bad, the annoying and the downright disgusting (tuna fish pizza . . . really Germany what are you thinking)

Nothing is open on Sundays (NOTHING)
I thought this one would be more annoying but I like that it makes you think ahead and gives you a day to totally devote to your family and faith. Good stuff. Although all the shops in down town Weil der Stadt close at noon on saturday and 5:00 monday-friday (which is why I have never been to one). Stores have incredibly short hours. 

By law, no loud noises on Sunday, you can't mow your lawn or hammer or play loud music and there are also quiet hours during the week from 8:00pm to 8:00am. Shhhhhh!!
Again, thought it would be annoying but with 3 kids I appreciate the quiet (although don't kid yourself my kids are loud all the time).

Again I say, Tuna Fish Pizza? Paprika chips?
Ick and Yuck, nuf said.

Priority roads and the other 8 million road signs.
Hard to keep them all straight so I just drive a million miles an hour like everyone else. LOL
Obviously this is a big joke because you have to take a million question test before you can even get your license. Because of the speed limits, or I should say lack there of, Germans take driving very seriously. 

Germans are out and about no matter the weather.
These people are hard core. It doesn't matter what the weather is like, the bike and walking paths are busy and toddlers are out in full winter clothing or rain gear tromping away too.

Bike and walking paths EVERYWHERE
Seriously, there is not a single place you can't go on a walking or bike path. Every town, city, village, lake, you name it and it's connected to a walking/bike path. There are bike paths here that will take you all the way to Switzerland.

If you don't walk your dog at least twice a day your neighbors will call the Polizei on you.
Germans love their dogs. We don't own one, thank goodness.

Germans also LOVE children
Although they don't seem to have many. Sometimes I feel like our family of 5 seems enormous to Germans. And, If I had a nickel for every time people have stopped us to comment on Sarah's cuteness I'd be a millionaire. Plus, I have never seen so many gray haired women pregnant in my life. Seems like they got to the second half of their life and said, "Oh, I forgot to do that earlier, We'll just take care of that now" 

You can't warm up your car.
In America you go out start your car, let it run until it is nice and warm and the frost is melted off. Again, the neighbors will call the Police on you.

Great public transportation
Although being from small town America I suck at using it. But I'll get the hang of it. Eventually.

They recycle EVERYTHING!!!!
I love this one. In fact it is pretty hard to find a place to just throw things away. We have a garbage service and they only pick up trash 2 times a month and the trash can lid has to be able to close and you can't sit bags next to it. You have to recycle everything or you will drown in your own trash. 

You have to provide your own reusable bags at stores and put a Euro in the handle of a cart to use it.
Again LOVE it!! Plastic and paper bags are so wasteful and carts get put away because you have to return them to get your Euro back!!

19% Value Added Tax on purchases

Refrigerators and Freezers are tiny
Not so bad because the food here has very little chemicals and preservatives so when you buy it you need to use it up so you don't need much room to store food.

German sweets aren't really very sweet.
Probably good since I have a sweet tooth. Their idea of cakes are made with fruit and custard and I've never seen anything with American buttercream frosting on it, or any kind of frosting for that matter. 

Kinder Eggs!!
The kids love them and they are illegal in America.

We asked our Landlord if there was a Homeowner's Association in our neighborhood.
There are so many laws in Germany they don't need them and he didn't even know what they were. LOL

Gas is outrageously expensive
A German driver filling the 14.5-gallon (55-liter) tank of Europe's most popular car, Volkswagen's Golf hatchback, pays $115.42, compared with $47.71 for the same fill-up in the U.S. The average cost of gasoline at the pump in Europe is more than double the price in the U.S.
(courtesy of


Stores are open all hours of the day and night
I guess it's a benefit to the shopper but not to the worker who has to work on holidays or overnight.

Americans would never serve you Tuna Fish Pizza
Wow, I'm really bothered by this one huh.

Americans are (usually) super friendly
I guess Germans think American's can be annoyingly nice. I don't think Germans are rude at all. They are just very to the point. BTW we have amazing neighbors that even speak a good bit of English. Wow, was that ever an answered prayer!!

If sunday is the only day my hubby can mow the lawn he can!!

I'm sure a lot more will be added to this list the longer we live here but these were the things that really popped out at me.

New Ones:

Public Restrooms
There is a HUGE shortage of Public bathrooms in Germany and if you find one you usually have to pay to use it.

Christmas Trees
They are very fat at the bottom with one big stick coming out of the top. Odd!

Cash Economy
I LOVE this one too. Most places won't even take any sort of credit or debit card. If they do, most likely they will not accept Visa or Mastercard. You pay in Euro or you don't buy it. Even IKEA won't take Visa or Mastercard here.

They don't touch your fries
I know that sounds weird but I really appreciate that. Any place that sells fries has a stack of napkins by the fry area and when they get you a bag of fries they put a napkin over the top so they will not touch your fries.

Car repairs
The car repair businesses are highly regulated. If an auto shop is believed to be doing unnecessary repairs they will get shut down. Therefore they are very honest and do computer diagnostics on your vehicle at no charge.