Things I don’t Understand (besides most of the language)

So, we finally have a stove and a refrigerator, and we’re working on the sink but the main thing is- I can cook again! Not being able to cook was actually becoming the death of me, you can ask the G-Man how grumpy I was. Anywho, cooking has been a blast. I’ve made chicken pot pie, pizza,  thyme gnocchi with a spicy marinara, noodle soup, apple crisp, brownies…. I’m a happy lady. But I’ll admit, there are a lot of things I don’t understand here in Germany. And sometimes that can be really frustrating.

Yesterday I finally received a package in the mail that I ordered over a month ago before I left the US. It arrived and with it a DHL guy who spoke little to none English and a tax of 6.40 that I needed to pay. We could not seem to understand each other at all and he wouldn’t take my cash and I didn’t want to wait another few days to get this package. In the end, he told me he would come back later when I figured out what I needed to do to pay. As it turns out, he doesn’t carry change on him and that is why he would not accept my 10 euro note. But the process of understanding this was just too much- my temper flared and I threw my phone at the wall (which anyone who knows me knows that I do quite often. It didn’t break like that time I threw it at the wall and then it broke into fixable pieces only to be blown out of the window into a fountain. That was tragic.) I was yelling at myself that I hate it here and how I don’t understand anything and no one understands me. I cannot figure out packages of yeast to make bread because they don’t tell you how much it weighs, and I have no measuring spoons or cups, and the thought of taking out the garbage still gives me anxiety.

We still have no internet at home, which is another comfort lost presently. I’m google happy- when I have a question I can just google it. But when you have to travel to a café to get online, you forget those questions and get sucked into the abyss of Facebook. Needless to say, things are much more dramatic to me than they actually are. Being able to bake and cook again restores my sanity.

And I don’t hate it here, not at all actually. I love it here; things are so cheap, the people smile, and no one is rushing around, bumping you while you walk. It’s peaceful and it’s pretty. And importantly, it’s less stressful than most cities I have lived in. Yes, I will learn this language and yes I will learn to make more German friends, but I have time. I sometimes get stressed when I feel pressured to have learned something in this past month and a half that I didn’t quite remember properly. I do this to myself though. I want so badly to be better in Germany that I pressure myself and get disappointed. Everything in its own time and I can say that to any new expat who has just arrived somewhere where they don’t exactly know what they are doing just yet. Time. Give yourself time and be patient. No one expects you to acclimate to a new culture and a new language in a month and a half. Just get your feet wet a bit before you jump in and you’ll be all the better for it.

I may not want to have a conversation in all German yet, but I can at least learn all the ingredients I put into my food in German. That’s a good start I hope.

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3 thoughts on “Things I don’t Understand (besides most of the language)

  1. If you get angry with the DHL guys, I think this is very normal in Germany. I could strangle them a lot of times, but unfortunately I don’t see them very often personally, they just leave they stupid messages. Welcome in Germany 😉

  2. I know very well the frustration of not being able to understand the little rules and regulations that everyone else instinctively seems to know. It is, well, frustrating.

    Are you taking German lessons? If not, I really recommend them. Not only are they are great way to learn and practice speaking German, but you can ask your teacher and your classmates about all those odd things that you just don’t understand and bond over just how foreign everything feels.

    I have to admit that I love my German classes, simply cause they are a great way to meet other people who are in the exact same situation as you and can be a lot of fun if you have the right teacher and great classmates.

  3. Love the blog!

    Translating menus and food items was how I started to learn German as well. Every little bit of learning helps!

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