As a part of my recent travels I was lucky to spend a couple of weeks in Germany. Mainly to visit my best friend and his family and Rach’s German family from yester-year but I also got a strong sense of the place and a better insight into who the German are (through my weird eyes!).
I think the German’s have a strong sense of identity and know who they are, not in a parochial way, probably more the opposite as they know their nuances and explain them, often to guests – ‘we are organised, anal, love rules and for everything to be neat, tidy and efficient.’.
I really like this about countries that have their very unique ways of doing things and living a certain way. All countries have it, but some are more defined and you feel like you have to role-play to get into character and fit in – love it.
The one word that I really learned to like was the word ‘Spiesser’. We don’t have a direct English translation but it usually refers to a middle aged man who is organised, works 9-5, 7 days a week, has some strange hobby like collecting butterflies (like the guy who adopted me for a morning in Neuhof), has sex with his wife at 9am on Sundays and does most things by the book. It isn’t totally a negative word and with my little insights into Germany I think the majority of 40 to 50 somethings fit into this mould. There has to be something similar to this in English or at least Aussie slang!
The other facet of German life that I like is they know what they like. Saturday is the day to watch the footy, beer is to be enjoyed whenever possible even if it is 9am Monday morning, saving money for a wanted item is still a reward and they are enthusiastic about everything particularly in the language they use – eg, ‘it was really amazing’, ‘this completely stupid guy’, ‘I couldn’t believe how incredible it was…’ or it might be from the English text books they study at school?
So some German highlights were:
- spending a morning with a great Spiesser in a small village
- hitching a ride with a women who works at the blood bank travelling at at 200km/h +
- a couple of great ride shares with interesting and informative folks – especially the clown
- all the different and interesting parts of Berlin and its diversity
- riding in the countryside near Berlin going through villages every 2-5km
- all the time spent with Tom, Nele and the boys of course
- spending time with Rach’s exchange family in western Germany
- the European way of life with generally narrow streets, tight buildings, low skies and lots o people
- bread and beer!
The more I go to Germany and learn about the intricacies of the place the more infatuated I am with it and it almost reminds me of how I have learnt and slotted into other cultures like Japan and Mexico where you really take on a personality and way of life.
Expect I will be back and looking forward to next time – Prost!