Weakness is often, to mangle a perfectly good cliche, in the eye of a beholder.
People move to Germany for lots of reasons. Following a loved one who has had a transfer, caring for family, learning experience, new adventures and so on. It can be a dream come true. Eventually, though, most of us have to get back to that reality of making a living. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that because your German skills and knowledge of German business culture is not fully up to speed that you are at a disadvantage.
Lots of ruckus has been made over the past few months, including here on this blog, about Europe’s reaction to Facebook, Google Streetview and the like. It finally took a self-promotional e-mail from a professional acquaintance to get my ire up enough to actually write about it.
The ire inducing part didn’t have much to do with my acquaintance directly. It was that the “people who you might know” section along the bottom which is designed to get us connected was eerily accurate. All but one were, in fact, people I knew.
For quite a while now I’ve been thinking that putting together a frequently asked questions (FAQ) list about living in Germany and other German speaking lands would be a good idea. Many questions come up time and again on the German Way forums and e-mail list. They are mostly addressed by our website, but having everything in one, concise list makes life easier. So here is the start of the Living in German FAQ.
I’ll start with one item and I then extend an invitation to anyone to submit questions and answers to me for inclusion on the list.
Question 1: Can I get by in German speaking countries without speaking German. Continue reading →
OK, maybe it is not really a fad. Not here in Germany that is. But almost 6000 years ago the Kosher food “movement” (everything is a movement now) started. It still exists but has a big brother, Halal. The two dietary systems have much in common which shouldn’t be surprising considering the shared roots of Jews and Muslims (and Christians). Funnily enough, following these food customs is something that can bring Jews and Muslims together in a place like Central and Northern Europe that barely acknowledges non-pork fare in most restaurants.
I was warned about certain things, a lot of things actually, prior to my move to Germany. None of them prepared me for what I call Swedish Chef Syndrome.
I am a native English speaker from the New England region of the US. My own way of speaking is also heavily influenced, you know, by 20 years in California (we all say “you know” all the time). I can communicate with just about any other English speaker from anywhere. Some regions have more distinctive dialects than others, Caribbean and African nations, in particular. I’ve always managed to make do, though. I also had five years of Spanish while in school… so I’m mostly set in terms of getting around the Western Hemisphere, the former British Colonies and even Southern Europe where Spanish is close enough to Italian and Romanian that I can still function.
Whenever I am stuck for a topic to write about, I can always get myself fired up by just reading the newspaper. Today was no exception. Guido Westerwelle, in particular, is a great topic whether in a blog or at the pub.
Mr Westerwelle is currently the head of the junior coalition partner in the government. The Freie Demokratische Partei or FDP as it usually referred to. They are viewed as a combination pro-business and pro-civil rights party. That would be somewhat analogous to what Americans usually refer to as fiscal libertarianism.
We are about four months into the new government here in Germany. As so often seems to be the case in politics and people, the current government seems to have mis-interpreted what the voters wanted to say.
It should not be so surprising, really. It is difficult to get a good unfiltered view of how voters feel when you live behind a wall of handlers and advisers. Politicians are still just people and are just as susceptible to wishful thinking as anyone else. The FDP is on the verge of learning this lesson the hard way.
Oh my goodness… I always knew there was more than a little bit of European in me; but my conversion to the German Way was more subtle and insidious than I could have imagined.
I, unlike most other red blooded, consumer oriented, individualistic Americans was actually cheering at the German Supreme Court’s ruling prohibiting allowing businesses to stay open regularly on Sundays in Berlin. I don’t even live in Berlin.