As thrilled as he is to be back in Germany, Martin is realizing that his nearly 10 years in America changed him a little. Between having to do at least a five-point turn just to get into the minuscule parking spaces allotted for the economical European drivers, and having to squeeze himself between our rental car and the car parked next to him just to get out, it has dawned to him that he may have become a little spoiled in the land where space is plentiful.
I’ve had to remind him several times that he was once totally cool with tiny parking spaces, that navigating narrow streets was once completely natural to him. Now, there’s a very tight learning curve as he gets used to those things again.
It’s been fun re-learning the many little things that make up German culture. Like, no ice in soft drinks. Mineral water as the norm. Windows that fall open. No blankets or sheets, but fluffy comforters that somehow feel like both. House shoes. Most of these are all things that Martin and I have always known about, of course, but never incorporated in our American lifestyle back in the United States. We’re seeing them new again, especially since the kids are discovering all of these for the first time ever. For example, during the drive on the Autobahn over the weekend, we saw the giant modern wind mills rotating in the fields for energy. They were amazed. We also spotted medieval castles up on hills over the various villages, and there was a stretch of highway where Martin briefly drove faster than those kids have ever experienced. They think it’s so amusing that one needs a Euro coin just to get a shopping cart now.
And of course, spaghetti ice was probably the biggest hit so far. I don’t think they’ve ever seen anything like that in the United States.
So far, culture shock has been mostly a positive, if not amusing, thing for us, and I think being around family over the weekend alleviated any issues pretty quickly. Seeing familiar faces, being in a home environment where pictures of us hung on the walls, trying out the language with those who know us, and just being around other kids have all helped make this place feel a little more like home.
Even if it IS a home with super small parking places now.
Gotta post some pictures to show that the rest of our family — Patches Der Hund, Kiwi and Ellie — are doing great. All three did a good job on the flights over, although we learned that the cats do not like the sensation of moving in a vehicle at all. They were vocal only when we drove in vehicles and whenever the aircraft taxied out to the flight line. For the most part, they are pretty chill. No strange behaviors. No anxiety. Just hanging out on the hotel’s feather comforters all day, or watching the world below from the hotel windows.
As for Patches, dogs are able to go just about anywhere here in Germany, so we’ve been able to keep her with us whenever we go out on the town, which is awesome. We took her to Nuremberg with us, and by the end of our visit, my sister-in-law and nieces were begging to keep her because she’s such a low-key, awesome puppy. 🙂