So it has officially been two months of us living in Germany. Quite a few things have happened in those two months! We have bought a new car (a speedy little VW Golf), and I've learned how to drive a manual (ehh... i'm still learning), found an apartment in Nuremberg, been to IKEA about 4 times (each at least 6 hour trips), put together countless amounts of IKEA furniture, received all of our belongings from the boat shipment, and officially moved into our apartment (separate blog post to follow about that experience!).
And you'd figure within those two months of "settling in", things would start to feel a bit more normal as Americans living in Germany, but there are still funny things that surprise us every day. So I wanted to do a follow up of "My first impressions of our first week in Germany", with some more interesting oddities that we've come across:
1. Recycling: Germans recycle EVERYTHING and have a very specific way of doing this. I will admit, this is something that we still have not mastered. I think they should honestly teach a class on "how to throw out garbage in Germany". Everything gets put in a different garbage, and in a different garbage bag. (btw, these bags are SO thin that when its half full it will rip).
- Glass: recycled separately according to color: Brown glass, green glass or clear glass. There are separate recycling containers.
- Paper: this goes in the blue bin. This includes cardboard, newspapers, magazines (but apparently not tissues...)
- Plastic: this goes into the yellow bin. I guess this also includes aluminum, cans and some other random bits.
- Bio: This goes in the brown bin. This is basically any left over food bits (banana peels, apple cores, etc).
- Other things: goes in the grey bin.
So this is just my general "guestimate" of recycling, I am pretty sure it is even more complicated than that, but this is all I can handle for now. But, it is nice knowing how much Germany does recycle. And it makes me realize how much garbage we used to throw out in the US.
Germany is definitely very eco friendly - the showers at the adidas gym turn off after 30 seconds! So you have to keep pressing the button for more water! (the idea is that you don't need water when you're soaping up, so you just use it when you need it). But the first time I took a shower there I was like "WHAT??! That's it!?" with a soapy head of hair... haha
2. Bathrooms in public places: Remember how I explained that you should always keep a 1 euro on you for the shopping carts at grocery stores? Well you should also always keep change on you in case you'd like to use a public bathroom. Our first time experiencing this was on our road trip to Salzburg, we stopped for a quick bite to eat and when trying to walk into the bathroom we noticed there was a turn-stile in front of it! Thank goodness we had change on us. The price varies at each place we've been to, usually between 50 cents to 1 euro. But this really makes me appreciate bathrooms in the US!
3. Bathtub showers: This was an odd one we've noticed in several European cities. When there is a shower head in the bathtub, there is rarely a shower curtain. They like to do this half-glass wall thing. which usually results in the entire bathroom being soaked because water gets everywhere. This must be something that Europeans are taught at an early age, how to master showering in one of these. When we were on our honeymoon in Rome, the shower didn't have a curtain or a glass wall! just wide open! I'd love to see who can honestly shower in that without making a lake out of your bathroom.
4. Nighttime shades on windows: This one was a bit creepy when we first moved here. Some houses have these metal "curtains" that are outside of their windows (apparently they're called Rolladens?), and when it starts to get dark out the entire houses windows will all start to close at once. (they must have some button they press on the inside). It looks like they're preparing for the apocalypse. But, the more I read about it... I guess it does make sense. They provide shade, privacy and insulation. Apparently they prevent forced entry, they keep your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer. I get it... I get it... but it still looks creepy.
5. Sparkling water: In the US Andrew and I had a SodaStream, and we'd basically use it 3 times a week... and it always felt a little fancy when we'd do it. In Europe... people live on sparkling water. Seriously. At work they have it as an option with the regular water so you could fill up your glass. At the gym they actually have an option of regular water, sparkling water OR sparkling fruit flavored water to fill up your waterbottle! Who could honestly work out while drinking that???
6. Parking: In our neighborhood in Nuremberg, they have such interesting parking spaces. Most parking spaces require you to park half of your car on the sidewalk. I'm not sure if this is because they built the streets so long ago, before everyone had cars that needed to be parked, that the streets are so narrow? Either way, its very interesting! Sometimes you actually park straight in with your front two wheels on the sidewalk - it actually saves a lot of space, and you're able to fit more cars. But imagine having to parallel park... with half of your car up on the sidewalk... when you've just learned how to drive manual - its NOT easy!
Well that's all I can think of for now? I'm sure we're going to experience even more though!