We are here!! I cannot believe it. After our months of planning, interviewing, organizing, visa-ing, checklist-ing, and packing... we are in Germany.
During our last week in Boston, the moving company came and packed up our entire apartment - either traveling to Germany via boat or staying in the US in a storage facility.
Since all of our belongings are currently on a boat to Germany, we are in 'temporary housing' in Herzogenaurach (same town as the adidas HQ) for the next month.
These past two weeks living in a brand new country has been an experience to say the least. In Boston, Andrew and I had a perfected routine of our every day life. Food shopping for the week on Sunday, and food prep that same day. Our favorite grocery stores. The times we'd go to bed so we could get a full 8 hours of sleep before our 6:30am crossfit class. The comfort of knowing everyone at the company we worked at, and that they were all practically our family.
Everything we perfected about our "routine" was completely flipped upside down... but in an amazing way. Every single thing we do, every day.. has been a learning experience. Its true what everyone has told us, that the easiest way to learn a new language is to live in that country. Because when you're at the grocery store, just trying to find cinnamon for the sweet potatoes you just bought, and you end up spending 20 minutes scanning the spices section because everything is in German... it is forever engrained in your mind that "Zimt" is cinnamon. And that's how most of our experiences have been during our first two weeks here... Andrew and I just trying to figure it out. And a lot of the time we probably look a little crazy, and we may get a little frustrated, but in the end we're laughing and proud that we learned something new.
When talking to my parents via facetime (thank goodness for technology), they brought up the good idea that I should start writing down all of those funny/frustrating things that I encounter during my first few weeks while its fresh in my mind. Because although its strange/frustrating to me today, I'm sure when I look back after living here for a year... these will all become part of our new 'Germany routine'.
1. Food shopping in Germany: The closest grocery stores to where we are currently living are not at all like a "Stop & Shop" or "Shaws" back home. They are very small, and a lot of the time you will not find 'everything' you need at just one store. (except if you're looking for any type of sausage/pork... you will find PLENTY of that!). And they do have some very cheap wines! BUT... everything is closed on Sundays.. EVERYTHING. So our usual routine of doing our food shopping on Sunday no longer exists!
2. Shopping Carts: This was one of our first strange encounters. We walk up to all of the carts and see they are all locked to each other with a metal chain! After a few times pulling at them, and looking at each other like 'umm... what do we do??'... we figured out the secret... you put a 50cent coin in the slot and it 'unlocks' the chain that's attached! And when you're done with the cart, you put the chain back in and it gives you the coin back. Learned something new that day! ha
3. Bread & Sausage: Here in Germany we've noticed that people LOVE their bread and sausage. During every breakfast at our hotel the waitress will come by with an amazing basket of freshly baked breads, every day we say 'no thank you' and we get the craziest looks from them! Like we're aliens. And sausage & pork... there are so many options of every type of pork here! It almost reminds me of bubba gump & shrimp... they have dried sausage, stuffed sausage, white sausage, long sausage.. short sausage.. and hundreds of other sausages that I cant even translate!
4. The gorgeous architecture: The cities of Germany that we've been to so far (Herzo, Erlangen & Nuremberg) are amazing. And its unreal to think of the history of these cities. We're hoping to take some tours and visit some museums so we really appreciate where we're living. But my first impression, it makes me feel like we're living in the town of Willy Wonka & the Game of Thrones. It's gorgeous!
5. Everyone Smokes: To the point that when you're walking through neighborhoods you see these cigarette vending machines! I thought this was crazy! They are every few blocks, just along the sidewalk.
6. "American" products: (Or what they think is 'American')
7. Hatch Back cars & Bikes: EVERYONE has the hatchback style car. everyone. To the point that now when I see a normal 'sedan' looking car, they look strange to me. And everyone has a bike. And yes! we will be getting BOTH in the up coming weeks!
8. Weekend markets: I am loving the markets that they have every weekend in the town centers. This is where we find the freshest vegetables, fruits, cheeses. But unfortunately I still haven't found KALE! people say it exists here, but i'm still on the hunt.
9. The Beds: This was one of the oddest things we've noticed. All of the queen sized beds... in hotels, etc, have two separate comforters! They are like small/1 person comforters, that seem a bit too small. So you either have cold feet, or cold shoulders. Very strange, but luckily we have shipped our own big down comforter!
So those were just a few random things we've experienced that I thought was different/interesting/odd/etc. Like I was saying, although they seem 'different' to me now, I'm sure when I look back at this post in about a year or so... they will all seem completely normal to me!
Update: Here is our first year living in Germany blog update. Some things feel normal, others - not at all!