Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

Gregarious in Germany

We are one week into our five-week stay in Germany. We are renting the upstairs floor of a house in a small village outside of Nuremberg (the same place we spent spring break last year). This area is a popular destination for hiking, so we've been doing a lot of that. We are hanging out with our friends who live here. We've also been eating a lot of food. Yesterday I was walking through our neighborhood and a bread truck drove by in the same way an ice cream truck would drive through a neighborhood in the US. I did not have money on me at the time, or this post would be a review of the different kinds of bread I tried.

(Don't worry, a post about food is coming, including the fact that my new favorite phrase in German is zum Fertigbacken, which is written on packages of bread they sell here that is almost all the way cooked, but not quite, so you put it in your own oven and finish baking it so it's fresh.)

Aside from the differences in food and environs - it's been rainy and 11C the past two days - I've noticed differences in the social habits of people here. In the UAE, gregarious is the order of the day. Employees and many other people who are just out and about will engage you in small talk and go out of their way to be social and friendly. Here in Germany, so far I've noticed that we all just kind of let each other be - friendly still, but at a distance.

For example, when we showed up at our rental house one afternoon last week and met our landlady for the first time, she took us upstairs, showed us the space and how a few things worked, dropped off some homemade raspberry cake, and then excused herself and went back home. It took all of five minutes. I have to admit that as an introvert who was almost out of her mind with travel fatigue (remember we took a plane, two trains, metro, and a drive to get here), it was the kindest thing she could have done.

Compare that experience to when we showed up at our rental apartment in Amman, Jordan in 2007. Our landlady met us there and showed us the space, and then took us over to her house on the other side of town and fed us a full-on Jordanian dinner. I still think about that and how kind (and gregarious) that was, too, even if it was hard to enjoy since we were so exhausted.

Anyway. We are happy to be here and enjoying lots of hikes!

The view from our window.

The view from a hike.

The view of Sterling.

July 11th, outsourced

World Cup 2014