BICYCLE AND BEEF SOUP – MY VIEW OF GERMANY

Transleted by Herbert Meck

This time Ines from Slovenia told us her story about her first experiences and thoughts in Germany. She has been living in Germany for three years and currently works as a postwoman at DHL. 

1.Did you have any clichés in your head before you came to Germany? And which of them did you actually experience first-hand? 

Before I came to Germany, I thought that the majority of Germans were very rich. When my mother was little, some of her relatives lived in Germany. When these relatives visited Slovenia from time to time, they always brought back things that were too expensive to buy in Slovenia. Like a camera, for example, which many could not afford in Slovenia or which was simply a luxury. These relatives always brought clothes or sweets as gifts. That’s why I thought that people in Germany were rich when I heard stories like that from my mother. Since I’ve been in Germany, I have to say that it’s only partly true. People actually have a better financial situation here compared to Slovenia. 

I notice this especially when I see so many people driving Mercedes and BMW cars or that Germans buy so many things that I would never spend money on. In Slovenia there are not so many brand cars. Sure, there are Mercedes and BMW cars, but very few compared to Germany. There are many cars from lesser-known car brands, but they are also good, like Renault, for example, or cars from local manufacturers. In Germany, many people buy brand-name clothes, like Louis Vuitton, Channel, Rolex, Gucci. I must also say that the financial situation in Slovenia is now much better than in the times of my mother’s childhood and my own childhood. Nowadays, many people in Slovenia can afford a camera. 

I also always thought that the German language sounds very aggressive and is very hard to learn. But since I can speak German, it doesn’t sound so aggressive anymore. I find it a very beautiful language. But it is still a difficult language for me and it has funny and long words.  For example, “Danube steamship company captain”.  

  1. What is your first memory of Germany? 

My first memory of Germany and what I will never forget is how I drove from the train station to my landlady. This way through small cute villages, meadows and everything was so nice and green. It’s green in Slovenia too, but I like nature and it all looked so dreamy that day. It was Sunday and in Slovenia on Sundays we usually eat soup with beef. My landlady, who is also originally from Slovenia, cooked such a soup that day and I felt at home. That was very nice. 

  1. What do you like about Germany at the moment, in terms of nature, culture and lifestyle? What do you find rather annoying?  

I like the nature here the most. There are so many parks in Munich. I like the way people play sports in the parks or go out with their families.  

I like how quickly you can get to lakes and mountains. 

I like how many Germans cycle and how clean the streets are. 

I like how easy it is to make an appointment with doctors online. 

I try to think of something that annoys me in Germany, but nothing comes to mind. So far, I don’t seem to have experienced anything negative. 

4. What did you have to get used to in Germany? 

Since Slovenia and Germany are very similar in many aspects, I didn’t really have to get used to anything. The things that were different were rather good things. That’s why it didn’t take me long to get used to it. For example, you earn better in Germany and the local and long-distance transport network is better developed.  

5.Have you ever experienced intercultural misunderstandings here in Germany? 

I don’t think I’ve experienced any intercultural misunderstandings so far. Maybe it’s because Germany and Slovenia are not so different from each other.  

6.Do you have a favourite idiom or phrase in German that you find funny or that you particularly like? 

I don’t have any idioms, but I love using the word “Doch!” and “Alter!”. Especially “Doch!” I love the way it sounds. 

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