Things I learnt from the air:
1) There are many more backyard pools in Germany than England. Backyard pools or hot tubs (you sexy Germans)
2) German farmers like to make fancy tractor patterns in their canola fields. One might even call it vanity mowing.
3) German apartment blocks like bright block colours (ha)
Things I learnt from the ground:
1) You can drink your alcohol at the off-licence. Or just outside. They have tables and chairs for you.
2) I am apparently much more sexually attractive to Germans than to Brits. Either that or the English are just better at hiding their incredible lust for me. Have been propositioned twice in one day, one by a homeless man and once by a drunken man. Score! It is always odd to be propositioned when you don’t speak the language (I mean, I presume that was what was happening with all the leering and the gyrating). All I can say is, very politely, that I don’t speak German, which is a little disappointing when you’re actually wanting to tell them to go f**k themselves.
3) 1st of May is MASSIVE in Germany. My new Belgian housemate (I’m so continental!) said to me when I got in, ‘Well, you know it’s the First of May, so there is lots to do.’ I thought at first that he meant there are many and varied administrative tasks that German citizens and German residents must complete on the first day of each month (I don’t know why, I was sleep-deprived and working off stereotypes). Pay bills, fill out timesheets, let the government know that they are still alive etc. etc. It took me a good 6 hours to remember that the 1st of May is Labour Day. This realisation then negated another thing I thought I had learnt about Germany: that everyone is, or appears to be, an Anarchist. No, it’s just the First of May, which is essentially the Left’s Christmas (or it SHOULD be. OMG, that is an awesome idea, someone make that happen). I saw a group of Anarchist youth (or similar) playing ten-pin bowling (or similar) with glass beer bottles in front of a row of 10 police vans. Rebels.
4) When you rent a room in Germany, you rent a room. My room came with exactly nothing. Not even curtains. There was a broom though. And my housemates have moved the sofa bed into my room, which was very kind. But I will be sleeping under my jacket tonight as Lidl and Aldi were both boarded up (I presume for the same reason that there were riot police everywhere – 1st of May), so I was unable to buy blankets. In a snap decision made at 2am Thursday (never make snap decisions at 2am Thursday), I left my sleeping bag with the other luggage I left in London, because I wasn’t sure Ryanair would let me have it attached to the outside of my checked luggage. Luckily I have a fake fur coat. And jumpers. Many, many jumpers.
5) Do not tell the market stall vendor that you don’t speak good German just before he gives you a price for the postcards that you want to buy. He will assume that you are a tourist and he can therefore charge whatever the hell he wants for his postcards because there was no price on the box and because he knows (because you TOLD him) that you cannot haggle with him. In anyway. That said, if I was ripped off, I was ripped off during a conversation held entirely in German, all of which I understood, so as far as I was concerned it was a victory. In hindsight, I should have just handed him a fiver and looked innocent when he told me that wasn’t enough. I will do that next time. Excellent non-verbal negotiating skills. Learning.
6) Berlin is very cool. Everyone is very, very cool. That may be because I am living in the equivalent of Dalston, but still. Everyone in Dalston is an insufferable hipster. Everyone in Berlin is much more laidback, much more COOL. I am worried that I am not, in fact, cool enough to live in Berlin. I have been filling my phone with photos of COOL street art that I see just in case the Berlin police accost me in the street and demand I present my cool credentials and justification for being allowed to live in Berlin (seriously, even the police I saw seemed very cool and attractive. I kind of wanted take all of the anarchists and the police by the hand and say, ‘Hey, Guys, you’re clearly all coming from the same stylish place, can’t you just put down your various weapons and share a beer at your local off-licences, because that is a thing that is apparently legal in this country?’)
7) Supermarkets don’t take credit cards. Like, what? I mean, I know there was a big financial crisis a couple of years ago and it all hinged on bad credit, but, come on, Germany! I’m not the Royal Bank of Scotland (snap!) I’m no Anglo-Irish Bank (double snap!) I haven’t loaned out a whole heap of mortgages to people who won’t be able to pay them back on a bunch of worthless properties (snap snap snap snap snap!)! Just let me put the 20 Euro on my freakin’ credit card and I promise to pay it straight back. I’ll even put it on my credit card and then walk home (with my groceries) and transfer the cash immediately to the credit card. I promise. I’ll write the promise down for you. And sign it and everything. Anyway, the point it that they don’t take credit card as I discovered, to my embarrassment, at Lidl, with a pile of groceries, no cash on me and a line of slightly annoyed looking Germans waiting behind me. I brought more and more cards out for the sales girl to shake her head at. Finally we found one that worked. So, the Germans could get their groceries and I could get out of Lidl with my dignity still (kind of) in tact as well as food for my belly (belly was hangry).
8) I really really really don’t know any German. I think I bought Conditioner at the store today. I mean, I definitely bought Shampoo, because apparently the German word for shampoo is shampoo, but then there were these other products, beside the shampoo, that all had the same name on them and I had to assume it said conditioner, and they were in the same colours as the shampoo and the same containers as the shampoo and kind of looked like they could be compliment the shampoo and add softness and bounce where the shampoo had taken it away and because, really, in all honesty what else could it be? I guess I’ll find out.
9) In Germany, unicorns ride children, because children are HARDCORE: