Being here for around two months made me notice some things about Germany and I would like to point some of them out. They are not necessarily good or bad, they are simply things I feel like writing about.
I am impressed by the fact that Germans use cars on the sidewalk and have a very peculiar way to park them. From time to time I feel like I might be run over if I get distracted. It’s great that they can park on the sidewalk though. They should adopt that habit and legalize it in Brazil too, and then I might even consider buying a car.
Regarding the architecture, I have a constructive criticism: I think it’s about time for them to stop building stuff with those red/brown bricks in Hamburg. They look like the barbecue grill in Brazil – just google ‘churrasqueira’ and you will see what I mean. Plus, they give a sort of dull atmosphere to the city. Maybe they keep doing it in order to preserve the city’s style or something.
About the German language…
The German language sounds totally cool. The only huge problem is: me not understanding it. I can only get very basic sentences and random words, however my brain is greed and stubborn and it’s always involuntarily trying to understand the impossible. So it can be very tiring and annoying to hear an unknown language for a long time. Another curious fact about hearing an unknown language is that it sometimes feels like people are having pretty interesting conversations. That’s probably because as I cannot understand it, it gives me time to idealize nice conversations and topics. I might get disappointed if I could understand them all though.
It seems to me that Germans often ask each other to repeat what they said (Wie, bitte?), and that may be kind of a comfort to me: Germans have a hard time to understand each other too. It’s probably due to the fact that I do not get much of the conversation, but I rather pretend it’s true that they have troubles with their own language.
Some of my friends have a couple of techniques to get along with the German language, none of them very helpful, I must say. One of the tips would be always saying ‘Genau’ and smiling whenever you don’t understand something. A Brazilian friend had (I’d like to believe she stopped) another way to deal with German language. She would always give ‘nein’ as an answer. Until one day the woman asked her if she wanted to pay with credit card or money and she said: ‘nein’.
I have also been in some embarrassing situations. One evening we were at a bar and a friend called asking for our location. The person on the phone asked me and as I had no clue about it I started to look for the name on the bar’s menu. Then I started to read (and my friend on the phone to repeat it) the following thing: Speisen & Getränke (foods and drinks). What I have to say in my favor is that I noticed it was wrong before finishing the line. No further comments.
I think whenever we talk about nationalities the most common options are: to point out examples that prove clichés to be true or to try to demystify the clichés showing examples that are the opposite of them. The first (without the sarcasm touch) is boring; the second is boring as well since it’s forced and also based on the clichés it ironically tries to run away from. As right now I do not have the creativity to write something funny neither to write deep insights about German behavior, I rather not say anything.
What about you, have you ever been to Germany? What were your impressions?