My name is Clare and I am English. We are new to the city, though my husband and I visited several times before we moved here. I’m very happy here, and I feel lucky to live in Cologne. Before moving to Germany we lived in Cairo for just under two years.
There are definitely more things that I like about Germany than that I dislike so far. I like how liberal and accepting Cologne is. I like the fact that I can walk everywhere; the city and surrounding neighbourhoods are very accessible. I love the Kölsch. The neighbourhood that I live in is very multicultural and I suppose we are part of what makes it diverse. Living in multicultural communities is relatively normal for us.
There are plenty of city rules that it took us a while to get the hang of. For example: I accidentally stepped into a bike lane when we first arrived because I didn’t realise how the pavements were divided, and I almost got flattened by an angry cyclist.
What makes you laugh here?
My husband and I go to a local gym, and we found out that the swimming pool is naked. Not the sauna, that we’d expect, but the swimming pool! That’s certainly different to England.
Also, it struck me in the supermarket that there were rows and rows of pickles and sauerkraut. I had a chuckle to myself about that.
What do you find typically German?
German people tend to be direct. They mean what they say, and say what they mean. It is not necessarily a bad thing. British people tend not to be so direct. Irony, sarcasm, understatement and word play, are normal in British comedy and general expression. If that’s the case in Germany too then I have yet to understand it.
I don’t usually find stereotypes helpful, though there is sometimes some truth in them. Some people here have certainly been direct in an unhelpful way, but most people that I have met are lovely. You find unhelpful people wherever you travel.