For my last official post as part of the regular writing crew here at The German Way, I’d like to be typically American and end on a positive note. Here are 10 things I love about Germans:
1. Their honesty. You will never doubt the sincerity of a compliment that comes from a German. In my first job in Germany, my boss’ comment at my mid-year review was “I have no complaints.” I am on the cusp of generation-feedback-junkie, and was a little underwhelmed at his comment. He then went on to explain that this was a typically German way of telling me I was doing my job well. Okaaaaay… so when they really compliment you, they must really mean it.
2. Their precision. This goes for all manner of things: conversation, instructions, engineering, … The list is quite possibly endless. Being out of the country, I miss the precision of engineering and design in German appliances. I am lucky to benefit from the engineering and design of the German car I drive. This precision extends to verbal and written instructions, all of which will be conveyed to you when you purchase anything. They care about things working properly, which is good.
3. Their obsession with quality. Not quite the same as precision, high-quality begins with a choice to find the best materials (then combine them with all that precise design) and use well-educated workers to bring it all together. Construction projects, consumer goods, public utilities, whatever. If a German Meister is working on it, the quality will be top notch.
4. Their national soccer team. Die Nationalmannschaft needs no further explanation, but deserves the picture for the day:
5. Their solidarity. When I started paying taxes in Germany, I was surprised by the “solidarity tax”, where part of my salary went to former East Germany every month. (To be fair, I was surprised by many of the taxes!) I love that a country cares so much about making reunification work that they can pull of this level of national support. Not everybody likes it, but everyone pays it.
6. Their low poverty rate. This is something to be proud of. When I started looking for ways to volunteer in Germany, I contacted Habitat for Humanity. While they have offices in Germany, they don’t have any builds in Germany because there isn’t sufficient poverty there to warrant their programs.
7. Their food. I have written so much about food on this blog: Cookies, more cookies, Spätzle, … I need to learn how to make Maultaschen here in Canada, because I miss them incredibly. And Butterbrezeln, really good Wurst, Brot, and so on.
8. Their loyalty. Have you made a German friend? You have them for life. Count yourself lucky.
9. Their wanderlust. For all the times while living in Germany that I lambasted the locals for getting all their impressions of my home country from the news (or worse, Baywatch), at least they knew things about my home country. This isn’t always the case in reverse. Germans travel the world, and you will find them in all its corners, discovering the delights of our global village. Taken out of their home country, I find them surprisingly willing to engage in small talk with strangers, and delighted to carry on conversations in their native language about home.
10. My family, because they are German, and I love them all deeply.
It has been a pleasure writing for The German Way Expat Blog these past 4 years, and while I won’t be contributing regularly anymore, I do plan to contribute occasionally. My hope for you readers out there, whether you are Germans, live in Germany, are considering moving to Germany, or are learning to speak German, is this: Enjoy! Let us know in the comments if there is something I missed that you love about Germans, their country, or culture. I look forward to reading what you have to say.