My name is Kari, and I originally come from the US. My background is in Linguistics and foreign languages, although I didn’t know German before my husband’s job brought us to Germany a little over a year ago. In fact, it was my first time spending any amount of time in a country where I didn’t speak the language. I currently write and blog while living my new life as a Hausfrau. This summer, I will self-publish “Fifty By Thirty”, a travel, humour novel about my adventures throughout the fifty states.
My days are filled with German “moments” – I fill a blog with them. One of the funnier ones was probably me trying to ask a municipal employee who was innocently riding by the house what I should do with the poor hedgehog I’d caught in my yard, so that my dog wouldn’t attack it. The municipal employee kept telling me I should take my dog to obedience classes.
What are the main differences between Germany and your home country?
One difference can be found in the Kindergartens, which include children of various ages up until elementary school. In my daughter’s class, there were children aged 2-5, all together in one room. I found it interesting that there was less expectation that every five-year-old developed at the same rate, acted in the same way, and should be confined to spaces only with five-year-olds.
Why is it so difficult for some people to integrate in Germany?
A lot of it is in the attitude of the person integrating: if a German sees you trying, they’re pretty welcoming, in my experience. In my first year here, only one German was rude to me for my lack of ability to speak German. Sometimes there is political tension now that Obama is in the news more frequently, but overall our family has had a good experience.
What stereotypes about Germans turned out to be wrong according to you?
I often hear how Germans have very little personality, or are boring. This surprises me. Clearly these people have never seen Karneval or attended a fest. Germans work hard, play hard. If you only know the “work hard” side of a German, I could see how you might think they’re boring because they’re busy doing, you know, their job.But once you’ve seen the streets on Rosenmontag, with people in full panther costume riding by on bicycles and party floats topped with girls with riding crops spanking passers-by, that misconception should quickly disappear.