Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Germany and all the time I’ve spent here. But after you have exhausted all the bliss and wonder of being in a foreign country, or once you have settled into your routine, you begin to miss some old habits. Err–amenities, lifestyle choices, or what have you. I am roughly one week away from returning home, and although I am going to miss Trier, I am looking forward to some odd things that I didn’t know I would miss until now.
Here is a list of thingamabobs that have irked me over the course of this abroad experience:
- Stores that are not open 24/hours.
Okay, I understand that Germany cares about its citizens’ personal lives more than the United States does, but I am the kind of person who finds himself hungry at 11 p.m. How am I supposed to satisfy my late-night cravings when every grocery store closes at 7 p.m.? And the snacks . . . I understand now why Europeans are generally healthier than Americans, but when my tummy has the rumbles, I yearn for unhealthy snacks.
- An improper gym.
In a magazine article about what Germans think of Americans, one item caught my attention: Wer nicht dick ist, ist Fitnessfanatiker. This phrase translates to, “Who is not fat, is a fitness fanatic.” Okay, it is easy to throw that allegation around when your gyms only have six machines! How can I indulge my fanaticism when your facilities cannot support my honorable cause?
- I have not seen a vegetable in five weeks.
Okay, this statement is definitely an exaggeration; I have seen at least 20 variants of potatoes. However, if you disregard Kartoffeln, the meat-to-vegetable ratio is roughly 10:1. Perhaps white asparagus too, but the ratio still stands.
- No backpacks are allowed in the university library.
I honestly have no words for this complaint. Just–why? I can’t read the books anyways, so why would I steal them?
- Mehr Bier?
When the waiter asks me if I want more beer, I wish I had a better grasp of the German language so I could wittily reply: “Are you trying to make me an alcoholic? But of course, bitte.” I have an inferior liver, sorry.
In all seriousness though, Germany has been fantastic. Everywhere you go, you will find cultural aspects that differ in scale, and I think most people, when they plan to travel abroad, are only aware of the larger aspects. Eventually, however, you will start missing the seemingly strangest, tiniest details from home. These noted “irks” do not actually bother me, but they do definitely remind me that I am from a different world!