(or an Ode to Germany)
Things I like about Germany, the German people and their culture:
- They are a matter-of-fact type of people. Either they will tell you how it is or not say anything at all, which often tells you enough.
- They have great breads and pastries, enjoying them all.
- They know how to cut loose.
- They know how to work hard.
- In other words, they don’t live to work, but when they work they get down to business, get the job done and then get out to enjoy their free time.
- They love their discounts.
- They make for some wonderfully lovely friends.
- There is a period of time in the morning, from about 7:00 a.m. Until around 10:00 a.m.-ish that he people on the streets actually wish you “Morgen!” or “Moyen” which strangers don’t seem to necessarily do the rest of the day – unless you know them.
- They sit and enjoy their coffee at a stand or while sitting under the awning (no matter the weather) and said coffee isn’t required to be ‘Grande, half-caff, triple caramel mocha with soy’ and it is marvelous!
- They have amazing city festivals that take over whole sections of their cities, often for days at a time.
- They celebrate the amazing and good parts of their past while using the ugly history as a tool for learning, growing, and moving beyond (if only the rest of the world would catch up).
- They value families by offering a considerable amount of time off for mother and fathers to bond with their children, without allowing the parents worry that they might not have a job to return to if they take all the time off.
- They appreciate and take pride in their bier.
This list was born out of a lovely and slow morning where I was able to observe and appreciate the people around me. It isn’t perfect, but it also isn’t necessarily meant to be, because after all it is about humans and cultural observations – especially since I am of course seeing all of this through the lens of my own cultural upbringing and past exchanges. As I thought about this list over my morning coffee at the bakery, I thought it would be important to share because I don’t ever want people to think I don’t appreciate where I am or the people that make up my new home.
Sure there are frustrations, but I am finding out the longer that I am here that they have more to do with me than with the culture or the people surrounding me living their lives. I also understand that I might just be perpetuating the stereotypes I talk about so much in an attempt to break their standardization. So, to that I have one final point to add: Once I make this list I was reading it and rereading it and thinking to myself, this could very well be me also talking about my home in the U.S.A. too, with some exceptions, of course, but the list would be pretty close if it were talking about my friends, family, colleagues and life in Portland too.
What do you think, especially if you have experience with Portland.