So, William and I still don’t have a bank account or visas, and we still don’t have all of our furniture. But we are settling in. William is over a month into school and I am almost finished with the first module of my integration course. We have routines and are dealing much more with the day-to-day life than the big settling in business.
For example, we’re discovering half priced bread at Lidl and know the ad rotation of our grocery stores well. We even have a morning routine. For the first time since we’ve been married, we both have to get up and be somewhere at the same time. It’s nice to spend the morning together, cooking breakfast and making lunch. Okay, usually one of us is pouting and the other is doing those things. But it is nice to have the other up at the same time to help whichever one of us has picked it as our day to pout.
I have enjoyed our settling in and discovery of the little things. Even if they are not always positive, they are all part of the learning and adjusting process. You have to appreciate all of it to make it living in a new country work.
By the way, I’m in a phase right now when I never, ever want to leave. Does it show?
Anyway, I thought I would share of few of these little things that we have learned and noticed. For your curiosity, and the information of anyone who might be doing something like this.
Church: We’ve been to two different churches for Sunday Mass, and a third for an evening service. Two churches were very small, and one is a huge, historic church. None of these churches have served wine at communion. Which is kind of ironic, since it is one of the things that Martin Luther argued needed to be changed about the Church.
In every church we have been to in Germany, they have all had these little white/grey displays. They are very hard to see if you don’t know they are there. I have even looked for them in a new church and could not see them until they were lit up. These are used to display the hymn numbers.
There seems to be only one hymnal/missal for all German speakers. I have seen it in every church, and it is pretty much the only thing that shows up in online searches. It has the prayers, the hymns, and the order of the Mass (which is very useful for us). But it does not have the readings. This is unfortunate. I would really like to be able to follow along. And it would be rude to pull up the German readings on my phone.
Shopping: I mentioned in my last post (and I’m sure in others as well), that food here can be much cheaper than in America, as well as apartment rent. However, I should note that not everything in Germany is cheaper. Furniture, home goods, clothing, etc. all seem to be about on par with America. Also gas is ridiculously expensive. I can’t believe how many people own cars in Kaufbeuren. How can it be worth it?
Another thing is that it is very difficult to find the baking ingredients that we are used to. It took a very long time to find baking soda, and baking powder is only sold in little pouches. Chocolate chips and cocoa powder are rare, despite the abundance of chocolate, baking chocolate, and almonds processed in every way you could dream (whole, chopped, slivered, slices, slivered and chopped, coarsely ground, finely ground….). We have not found brown sugar or vanilla extract yet. The one thing labeled brown sugar seemed to be more like raw sugar. It certainly did not pack the way it is suppose to. And they only sell whole vanilla beans and vanilla sugar; no extract. Good thing we brought over some beans to make our own. Now we just need something to do with the rest of the rum. 😉
Germans separate out a lot of their waste. Most things go into designated containers, but all plastics, packaging, aluminum, styrofoam, etc. go into the “Gelber Sack.” Which is just a large yellow garbage bag with information on it about what can go into it. Our landlord gave us some to start out, but we recently ran out and needed more. Since it became clear that neither of our roommates were going to take the initiative, we had to figure out where to get them ourselves. Turns out you go to the guy at the desk in the Bürgerbüro and ask and he will pull out a giant roll and give it to you for free.
Finally, we have lived with our roommates long enough to determine one of them is legit insane. One of them seems cool, but we see him about once or twice a week. The one we see more regularly is crazy. But she generally keeps to herself and she usually isn’t loud when we are trying to sleep. So it’s far from a deal breaker.
I look forward to learning more of these little intricacies of Germany. The more I learn, the more comfortable I feel here. The more natural I feel, and the closer it becomes to being home.