We’ve now lived in Germany for a few days and I have noticed a few things that I find odd. Here they are for your amusement:
Peanut Butter is not that common
We have been spending time playing board games and getting advice from one of our neighbors, a 20-something college student here. Until last night, when we made rolls and had them with various spreads (including peanut butter), he had never in his life tried peanut butter.
“It’s not common here.” He said.
Looking at the bottle, as our housemates pointed out, sure enough, it was “American Peanut Butter.”
Garbage and Recycling Separation is on a Whole New Order of Specificity
Everywhere you go (even on the train) there are at least 4 different bins to put your garbage, organic compost, recycling and recycling of many various types. It’s nice to see that they care so much, but I haven’t gotten used to it yet in our kitchen.
We have a place for compost, another for newspaper and other papers, another for glass bottles, another for wet garbage that cannot be composted, another for dry garbage that cannot be recycled or composted, and if we wanted to comply fully, we could start more buckets for things like corks that you might get from a wine bottle (which have to be taken to a special place).
It’s Helpful to Always have a Euro… and Bags
The grocery store has a neat system for shopping carts. You have to unlock it by depositing a 1 Euro coin into the key slot. When you return your cart, you get your Euro back. Now I keep a special Euro with my keys in my pocket :)
The grocery store also charges for bags. Everyone brings reusable bags with them shopping. What we tried to pass as a law in Seattle is just common practice here.
Apartments Don’t Come with Anything
We viewed an apartment today and noticed it has no ceiling light in the bedroom. It has the wires for it, and a light switch but no fixture. Apparently, it is up to the renter to supply these things. In fact, the apartment we were viewing was particularly unusual for an available rental in Germany because it had cabinets, a refrigerator, an oven, a kitchen sink, etc. Normally, apartments come with no appliances at all. When you move, you take everything, including the kitchen sink.
Electric Bills are Guesstimated then Fixed
When you rent an apartment, you pay for your rent plus a utilities rate based on your square meters. When your lease is finished (not every month), they calculate your real usage and either pay you back the overage or send you a bill for the unpaid amount used. I’m sure you can see issues that could arise from this.
I’m sure there are many other differences that I either haven’t noticed yet or have already become accustomed to. I’ll keep you updated with what I encounter.