Saturday, 5 June 2010

Final thoughts

When I left for Cologne, Germany, I knew very little about the place and was pretty nervous about what was to come. However, I reckoned that even if I didn't have a good time, at least the experience would be 'character-building'.

Luckily I've enjoyed many good times. There have been the bad times too, but I think/hope they have shaped a stronger 'me'.

Here are just a few things I learned about the country and myself through my expat adventure, in no particular order of importance...

Things I have learned about Germany:
  • It is perfectly okay for dogs to peruse the counters of department stores (Read more...)
  • There's more rubbish on the streets than I expected, but there are a lot of bin men and road sweepers 
  • There is a surprising amount of beret wearing amongst men of a certain age. It's not just for the French you know
  • Lederhosen isn't that popular, unless it's carnival time or Oktoberfest
  • Customer service in shops could score higher and some banks and post offices close over lunchtime, which is just when you need them 
  • The health service is very good and doctors seem to have the resources they need
  • People are very environmentally aware and it is the norm to take your own bags to the supermarket
  • There are some lovely customs such as St Martin's Zug and May Day love tokens
  • It is a land of bread-lovers: bread comes in a huge number of varieties (Wikipedia reckons on around 600 types) and you're never far from a bakery
Things I have learned about myself:
  • Maybe I need to be a bit, just a teensy bit, less controlling
  • I am an optimist, not a pessimist (unless things are going wrong...) 
  • I am not too old to try new things and I am not too old to learn new things
  • Even though I might not enjoy it, I can tolerate a high level of embarrassment
  • Although I am not great at languages, I am not as bad as I thought when I was a teenager, learning GCSE French. So, on that note, 'Auf Wiedersehen!'

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