I’ve noticed that many people who come to live in Germany tend to write a blog post about the things they have learned about this country and they normally do this after about a week or two of being here. Now, I’ve lived in this magnificent country for twenty years and have never blogged about such things, which is obviously a breach of my mandate as a) an expat and b) a blogger.
So here they are, the things I’ve learned about Germany since I’ve lived here (in no particular order and probably made up).
- Every child born in Germany is called Chantal until the parents come up with a name of their own. This tiny, but not unimportant fact is only something you learn when you actually become a parent in Germany. Most of the people who come here only really get to see the night life of Berlin and occasionally the desk at their start-up. By the time their genitals are ready for a serious relationship their start-up has stopped starting-up and they’ve probably moved back home and so have no knowledge of the Chantal rule. Parents of boys really need to aware of this.
- You get tax breaks for being mates with Satan (who is a bloke called Dave). As you may or may not know, Germany has the most complicated tax system in the world. 70% of all worldwide tax literature is about the German tax system. A little known fact is that you get tax breaks here if you are mates with Satan. You have to pay additional taxes if you go to church, though. Funny old world.
- Frankfurt am Main is the most dangerous city in the universe. I bet you thought Chicago, Ciudad Juarez, Kabul or Nottingham are the most dangerous; well you’d be wrong. It’s Frankfurt am Main, which according to German statistics really is the most dangerous city ever. I used to live in Frankfurt and it really is a terrifying place to be. The waiters can be very stern, the bankers a tiny bit rude and the traffic is an Orwellian nightmare when there’s a trade fair on. Avoid the underground at all costs because you are likely to be confronted with people willing to stand up and offer you their seat. The most dangerous thing about Frankfurt, however, only appears during the Christmas period: The Christmas tree on Römer Platz. Donated by Norwegians, the Christmas tree is really rather upsetting.
- Germany has more cooking shows per capita than any other country in the world.
- You can pixelate your house in Germany. This is a new trend here and it’s slowly catching on. You can apply to have your house pixelated at the ministry of data protection in order to protect the identity of your house. All you have to do is supply the ministry with your address, credit card details, mobile telephone number and they’ll do the rest for you.
- All roads lead straight ahead. If you’re ever lost in Germany don’t panic just ask someone in which direction you need to be going. After years of doing this you’ll soon notice that, however often you do this and regardless of how lost you are, you’ll find a friendly local who will tell you that the place you are looking for is “straight ahead”. Not left, not right but straight ahead. Always.
- Bavaria is part of the Federal Republic of Germany. Contrary to popular belief, Bavaria is actually part of the Federal Republic of Germany. I once heard a child ask her Grandmother is she was enjoying Germany, to which the Grandmother replied, “I have no idea, I’ve only ever been to Bavaria”. Most Bavarians find the fact that they are part of the Federal Republic quite confusing too. Munich just confuses the hell out of everyone, which is why I love it and will die here.
- Germans don’t understand the concept of cricket but they do understand golf which is just plain silly.
- Radio stations are dreadful in Germany. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule but on the whole the radio here is appalling and one does have the feeling that you’re stuck in a time machine and you’re being forced to listen to BBC Radio 2 circa 1983.
- Germans have an excellent sense of humour. Techno, for example is very funny, as is the tax system, party politics (the F.D.P. for example is hilarious) and a show called “Wetten Dass ?” which is so unbelievably poor that viewers of the show have been known to disembowel themselves.
A very happy Monday to you all.