I have officially been in Germany for seven weeks. I seem to have adjusted immediately and already feel like this is my home. In this post I will write random things about my new home that I found fascinating or enjoyed.
I will start with the Autobahn, as many people in America asked me, “Are you going to drive on the Autobahn?” My answer was, “No, because AFS doesn’t allow it.” Now my answer is, “No, because if you give a German a fast car, they drive fast.” If you didn’t already know, many parts of the Autobahn don’t have a speedlimit. I know! Crazy! But the concept actually works. Because there is no speedlimit (Geschwindigkeitsbegrenzung-I can’t pronounce it yet either), Germans tend to respect safety more. I knew it was coming, but when our car sped up to 160 km/hr (100 mph) it was shocking. I had never gone that fast in a car before, but I loved it! Ich mag die Autobahn.
The sea is one of my favorite things about living in Husum. A short bike ride and I can be sitting on soft green grass with sheep next to the sea. I had always wanted to live next to the sea and I feel that dream has now been realized. I have gone on trips to the sea with my family since I was young, but never for more than a few days. The landscape is so different from the mountains that I’m used to and it always feels surreal for me. I am learning the patterns of the tide and the terms for everything to do with the sea. I get to see seagulls whenever I go outside and the smell of salt is always in the breeze.
In Northern Germany, it is common to say “Moin”. So common, in fact, that I got a touristic beenie with “Moin” stitched to the front. “Moin” can essentially mean anything, but it is most commonly used to say hello. You can forget “Guten Morgen” “Guten Tag” and “Guten Abend”. Moin is all you need. It is a word from Flat German, a variation of the German language that is common in the north, but mostly with older people. Here are a few Flat German words and their meanings if you are so inclined:
Schietbündel: literally “shit bag” for dogs
Something that bugs me about Germany is what they call their desserts. Specifically, what they call tarts. In Germany, they are “cake”. Kuchen, in German, but the meaning is still the same. The German language does not differentiate between cakes and tarts, so when I went to my first cafe and ordered a tart, everyone around me was confused, even my host parents who are fluent in english. This surprised me mainly because cakes and tarts are so different. Tarts have a crust and are usually filled with fruit. Cakes are, well, cake. I still can’t get over it.
I watch a lot of movies here, and because you can never really escape the reach of Hollywood and American culture, most of them are American films. Because I need to become fluent in German, however, ever since I arrived in Germany I watch them with German dubbing and English subtitles, although now I more use German subtitles. This creates an interesting contrast between the mouth movements of the actors, the sounds I hear, and the words I read. This is probably one of the most fun tools to learn a language, in my opinion, although it can be dangerous. Sometimes, I catch myself only reading the English subtitles.
I debated for a while whether or not to write my blog posts in German. Now that my German has definetely improved, I think with the help of a dictionary it could be hard, but doable. Especially since part of my audience is German, I think it would be really nice. Maybe soon you could expect a few posts in German ;)
I want to end this post with some photos I’ve taken in Husum, to really give you a sense of what it is like to live here.