7 Things I love about Germany

I’m creeping up on 4 months in Germany, and I’ve certainly seen and learned a lot.  I try to keep reminding myself to appreciate all the things I experience here that I won’t have when I go back home.  It’s easy to forget! So in order to make note of a bit of what’s new, here are 7 things I have come to love about Germany:

 

1.  Small Town Life

I probably wasn’t the only city kid who sometimes dreamed of escaping my urban neighborhood and living somewhere with more trees and fewer cars.  There are definitely big cities in Germany, but I happen to live in a sweet little town where I wake up to the prettiest views every morning.

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2.  Haselnuss Flavor

So, the thing I was secretly most excited about when I came to Germany might have been the widespread availability of Nutella.  But Hazelnuts aren’t just for Nutella anymore!  You can buy Hazelnut ice cream, Hazelnut coffee, and Hazelnuts are the peanuts of trail mix here.  Even better, a lot of neighborhoods are full of Hazelnut trees, and in the fall they drop thousands of ripe nuts on the ground.  Little kids go out with bags and collect them to eat.

3.  500-year-old Houses

Geologically speaking, America is just as old as Germany.  But when it comes to tangible, touchable history, Europe is the place to be.  For example, there are houses in my neighborhood that are over 500 years old.  I did a little snooping around last week and found a few of them.

If you look at the writing over the door, you can see that this house was built in 1511!
If you look at the writing over the door, you can see that this house was built in 1511!
This pretty house was built just a few years after the American Revolution - which makes it one of the younger houses in Germany.
This pretty house was built just a few years after the American Revolution – which makes it one of the younger houses in Germany.

4.  Ruhetag

Ruhetag means “day off”.  In Rodenberg, the whole town takes a day off on Sundays.  Really – you can’t buy toothpaste on Sundays unless you want to drive into Hannover.  It certainly is frustrating when you need Rittersport chocolate on a Saturday night and realize you’re going to have to wait until Monday morning to get it, but I’m learning to appreciate getting to really let down one day a week, rather than filling it up with all the errands I didn’t have time for on the other six days.

5.  Creepy Crawlies

Okay, so this is probably only relevant to me, and may not be the best sales pitch for Germany, but there are some legitimately cool bugs here!  Most notably, an abundance of snails (Schnecken), and slugs (Nacktschnecken – naked snails).  And these aren’t little wimpy things; we’re talking two, three, four inchers.  I find that awesome, except when I’m trying to avoid running over them with my bike after a rain (sorry, little guys!).

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6.  Mandatory Fresh Air

Germans have a reputation for having this thing about leaving their windows open.  “Okay,” I thought, “so on nice summer days everybody opens their windows.  That’s not so remarkable.”  Only here I am, in November, after the first snow, and the windows in every classroom are wide open when I get to school in the morning.  Well, I learned to bundle up pretty fast, and now I’m definitely getting used to breathing in fresh country air all day.  (On a side note, German high schools actually have windows to open.)

7.  A Fairy Tale Christmas

The Christmas season is just beginning, I know… but that means that Christmas decorations are just beginning to go up and Christmas things are just beginning to be sold.  And a Christmas in this tiny town, with handmade crafts and premium German chocolate, is promising to be magical.  But there will be more on that to come!

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Handmade Christmas goods…
…and a bit of mass-produced holiday spirit!

So, these were the first seven things that came to my mind…I guess it’s hardly an exhaustive list!  And, of course, there are plenty of things I miss about the good ol’ U.S. of A. as well.  I’ll probably write about that in a couple of weeks.  Subscribe so you don’t miss it!  (Update:  read “7 Things I Miss About America”.)

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11 thoughts on “7 Things I love about Germany

  1. It sounds like you’re doing well, Mia. I hope you are! I love the photo of the snail. I don’t know if I’d appreciate its looks as much if I saw it in person! I also love the idea of not being able to shop on Sundays. It used to be that way in Massachusetts years ago. It’s nice to have a day to relax and spend with your family. I was thinking of you on Thanksgiving. I’m sure you had classes and were following your regular Thursday routine. Did you have a chance to celebrate? Well, anyway, Happy Thanksgiving (a few days late)! I look forward to reading your next post. Have a good week!

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  2. Mia,

    What a great blog. We are so pleased that you love Germany and that you are having such a good time.
    It was wonderful to SKYPE with you on Thanksgiving Day. We had such a wonderful time with Your Mom and Dad, Evie and Nina, plus Uncle David, Aunt Mary, Emily and two dogs in our small house. We took long walks, ate till it ran out our ears and played a wonderful train game that your dad brought along.
    Your dad, Uncle David and I went to the Iowa/Nebraska football game. It was chilly but there were nearly 70,000 fans in the stands so we generated a lot of heat. We won!!
    Grandma and I send you our love,

    Grandpa Werger

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    1. That sounds like a slightly chaotic but wonderful holiday! It was great to skype with you and Grandma, and seeing your house made me really wish I could be there too! I remember when we bought that train game, but I don’t think I’ve had a chance to play it yet – we’ll have to do it next year!

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  3. Thanks so much for your latest blog. It was so good to read that you appreciate the simple things about small town or rural living without thinking it is second best. When we lived in Jerusalem we tried not to think that the way we do it in USA is best. Often we found out the their way of doing things was best for them and good for us also. Appreciation is good way to being learning!! We had a good Thanksgiving, but there was a big hole in the family gathering without you being here. We missed you and love you, Grandma and Grandpa also.

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  4. Enjoyed your post. Our travels to Europe took us to many small towns, and they are quaint and have their own beauty. I liked the really old towns and cities. The narrow streets, the homes and shops right next to the sidewalks, and especially all the flowers and gardens. Have you had snow yet? We had a little on Thanksgiving , but melted by afternoon. Everyone was here for Thanksgiving. Had a good time, and are now enjoying the quietness, 3 little girls can be very active, and all the leftovers. Take care. Love aunt Dorine. Seymour sends his best.

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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