In order to humour my other expat friends across the globe, I figured I’d share with you 20 of the weirdest things I’ve learned about German lifestyle while living here in Germany.
1. Toilet Buttons
While many Canadians have lever’s, all German toilets have big buttons. A big button for a job well done!
2. Big Light Switches
Apparently the little light switches that flick on and off in North America just don’t cut it in size for the Germans. These massive buttons allow for an easy on and off. Have you ever tried to turn on the light in the dark feeling the entire wall before finding the switch? Not in Germany!
3. Room Heaters
My personal favourite – they use small heaters built into every room which use heated water to warm the room. Not only do I think it is better for the environment but it gets you toasty warm without waiting hours for the heat to reach the upstairs of your home. My hero!
4. Jail Blinds
…or so I call them. Many German homes have the same blinds. Though it offers a guaranteed sleep in the pitch black, I find it rather spooky. While walking down the road as it gets darker in the evening you can hear people all around you shutting their blinds. After I hear a few more slamming metal blinds I look around and all of a sudden you feel so much more alone on the streets. I love people watching – in the least creepy way possible haha, I enjoy learning other people’s stories. In Germany, it is not always so easy to know what your neighbors are doing.
5. Wide Open Windows
This is possibly the best window there is! I feel so free when I wake up, open the window wide and hang half my body outside for some crisp, clean, fresh morning air. The levers on these windows don’t only open sideways but from the top too!
5a. See! These windows are amazing!
6. They Have Beer – every night.
In Canada don’t get me wrong, beer is a huge part of our culture… but the Germans take it to a whole new level. Perhaps not all of them might be drinking a beer every single night, but it’s definitely engrained in their culture much more than it is back home.
7. They Have Bubble Water
I am not saying this is a weird thing, what I think is weird is that whenever I ask someone for tap water they look at me like I have a third head. Bubble water might be a popular thing in many different countries, but it’s their go-to here (many of them even drink it during workouts and sports).
8. They Have Style When it Comes to Buying Groceries
Perhaps not every German, but when I go to the market in Freiburg I see so many of these little wicker baskets or little canvas bags. Way to take the reins on eco-friendly shopping Germany!
9. They Leave Their Milk and Eggs out of the Fridge
I have seen this in a few other countries as well but it is definitely different from the way we do things in Canada. Don’t worry, once the milk is open, it does need to be put into the fridge, but you’ll be able to find these products on any grocery store shelf, unrefridgerated.
10. They Eat this like it’s Candy
Red Cabbage – definitely not a Canadian thing! Many Germans also enjoy green cabbage, brussel sprouts and a number of other cabbage-related vegetables (especially during the winter).
11. They Like the way Italians Cook
Many people use these little Coffee Brewers for single cup espresso every morning. You’ll also find a ton of Italian restaurants even in the smallest of German towns. What’s there not to love about Italian cooking?! 😍
12. The Germans, they use funny words like ‘Dusch’ and ‘Urea’ to explain their healthcare products. Duschgel is a body wash.
Perhaps they aren’t funny words in German, but when an English speaker reads German words the way they think they’re pronounced, things get weird, funny… but weird. Haha.
13. Each person sleeps with their own blanket – either that or my boyfriends hates me.
Who here can admit that they actually love this concept though? Not more blanket thieves!
A new Christmas tradition I had never heard of. You can choose red or white wine with sliced orange and Christmas spices … Yummy!
15. Creative Cross -walks – only known in Berlin (I think) but so neat!
You’ll also find other unique cross-walks around the country in a number of different cities. Bremen has their city musicians in their cross-walk lights, and a number of cities have switched the walking man to a walking woman.
16. Square Pillows
I still haven’t figured out if I like them or not… you don’t need to use 2 pillows because these ones fold up so nicely, but sometimes when they twist up while I am sleeping it is hard to fold the pillow the way I had it in the first place.
17. Not only are their Ingredients all in German, but they’re very different and if you’re trying to bake from a Canadian recipe, chances are there will be a lot of ‘substitutes’.
(Don’t think I’m weird… this isn’t my typical grocery shop, it was the ingredient to make a monster ginger bread house!)
18. They Blow up Fire Works here like they’re Harmless.
Spend NYE in Germany and you’ll swear you’ve stepped foot into the middle of a war zone.
19. They have LEGAL bonfires? Crazy!
Okay – perhaps not in a central city like Dusseldorf, but Freiburg in the black forest was never a problem. (please note: I will not be held liable if you select an illegal destination for a campfire and face fines – burn at your own discretion)
20. They eat Sandwiches for Breakfast.
These are all things that I found bizarre during my very first week in Germany. Of course, as a Canadian, there will be a number of things that I found odd that you don’t. I’m curious though! What do you think the weirdest/coolest/most bizarre things/traditions in Germany are?
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