Here Comes the World Cup

I am sure you already know this, but as of the time of my writing, the World Cup begins in 22 days. In just over 3 weeks, soccer fever will consume Germany and much of the rest of the world. Are you ready?

If you are new to Germany and have arrived from North America, you might not be. The World Cup is big. Bigger than the Superbowl. And longer, more exciting, and more fun. “How can that be?”, you may ask. “Nothing is bigger than the Superbowl!”, you may say. This is something you must experience to believe.

Beginning June 12th at 5pm Sao Paolo time (10pm German time), you can spend your waking (and sleeping) hours consumed with the game of soccer. Lest you fear you will have to sit at home in front of your TV all day, rest assured: many workplaces will broadcast it in-house. All pubs will show the matches. And there is “public viewing” – the German notion of gathering in public squares to watch matches on giant screens, together. With beer. This is more fun than it sounds! (“public viewing” for Germans involves watching sports together in public, and is an awkward example of Germans adopting English words and giving them new meanings). Continue reading

Many kinds of noise – “vielerlei Lärm”

Germans don’t mind noise — as long as you don’t make any.

I have no solid comparative data to back it up, but I would rate the German tolerance level for noise (Lärmempfindlichkeit) as among the lowest in the world. This is especially true for Germans living next door to you! German ears tend to be highly tuned to noise (hellhörig), especially what they consider LOUD: loud radios, loud walking, loud talking, loud music, loud lawn mowing, loud children, loud partying, loud sneezing, loud dogs, loud engines, or loud anything. Of course, almost anywhere, one person’s music can be another person’s noise. But in Germany, your music is much more likely to be noise to your neighbor than anywhere else. Continue reading