Still a Culture Shock: Lack of Personal Space

I’d say there are many things that shock me about Germany. The things that I have learned over time have made Germany out to be some odd sort of ‘opposite land’, where everything is, effectively, just the opposite of what I had in America.

Take, for instance, German and American hypocrisy over Gesundheit. In America, everyone will talk to you about why you need to quit smoking, but they’d prefer to do it over a Big Mac and fries. On the other hand, in Germany everyone is so concerned about their Gesundheit that they regularly visit pools and saunas (much more than I ever witnessed from the Americans), but you can’t walk down the street without being in a near constant cloud of second-hand smoke.

To each his own, as they say. I’m a non-smoker, so I notice the stench. Continue reading

Cultural Differences, re: Japan

I’ve been majorly annoyed lately. Mostly because of Facebook, which is my ‘keeping in touch with contacts in the US’ weapon of choice. Maybe it’s because I’ve got friends and family in Japan, maybe it’s because I read the news too much, I don’t know. But it’s been killing me the past few weeks, reading the banal and often unnecessary status updates about the bowel movements of my ‘friends’’ kids, or their upcoming concerts, or what they’re listening to. I actually quit Twitter because of this, even though that was a long time coming. I simply can’t believe that so many people have moved on so quickly after the Japan happenings. Continue reading

Lernen, Studieren and German as a Foreign Language

I consider myself rather lucky. I’m an American, I speak English which is the international business language, and I moved to a country that has a relatively strong English-speaking background. The part of Germany that I live in, Bavaria, was (still kind of is) occupied by the Americans after the war. This means that along with the German requirement that students learn English in school because it’s the ‘international language’, the people of this region got to practice it because of the troops that were stationed in the area.

So I understand that just about everyone my age (I’m 29) around here knows at least a decent amount of English words, even if they are scared to use them.

I’m an English teacher here. And let’s be obvious, that’s pretty much the ONLY thing I can do as a Beruf until my German is pretty flawless, which it is not. I’m a high level 2, an intermediate, but as I said in an earlier post, I didn’t learn Yoga or Graphic Design German in my integration course. Continue reading