As I think of Germany more and more as home, I have new and different worries. I can relax a bit about the cost of Max’s long term care: staggering, maybe impossible, in the U.S. but part of the social insurance scheme here in Hamburg. I don’t need to set aside $100,000 for Frida’s college if she stays in the German system – university here is free or nearly. The bullying, consumerism, and obesity risk that American kids contend with are very different in Germany – even little kids here eat dark bread and I have seen with my own eyes 13-year-olds play accordion in front of their peer group, unironically, without dying of embarrassment and without being made fun of. It was, to anyone who’s gone to middle school in Olathe, Colorado, astonishing. (I remember thinking, ‘No, no, kids, why did you pick the accordion? Do you NEVER want to get laid?’ But I think actually they’ll be just fine. Tobias was at one point a beekeeping 19-year-old virgin and he turned into the kind of stud who picks up hot chicks at the airport baggage claim, a man sexy enough to make me move across the world and bear his children.)
So, Germany has its plusses and that doesn’t even count the architecture and the green space and the educated voters and the public transport and the museums and the ridiculously good apple juice. What, then, are the minuses?
Imagine that you’re trapped in Hamburg for the rest of your life. What’s the problem? Read through the list below, then add your own ideas in the comments!
- When I smile at strangers, the assumption is that I am mentally unwell rather than simply friendly. In return, a deepening frown is as likely as a smile.
- You cannot find a good 38/85C bra here.
- It is extremely difficult for anyone listening to me speak German to appreciate the power of my intellect. You know those memes with the hilarious translation fails? That’s me in German.
- This weather may be slowly killing me, drip by depressing drip.
- The marshmallows in Germany taste awful.
Ha ha! That was a trick – marshmallows everywhere taste awful unless they’re grilled over an open fire by my Uncle Joe during a successful fishing-and-camping trip in the Rocky Mountains.
I guess after 7 years in Europe, I’m realizing that I live here and I’m finally homesick! Since another visit to the family farm in Colorado isn’t on the books until winter, I need to do something to make Hamburg feel a little more homey.
Time to go ridicule some preteens. (Oh, come on, you’re asking for it! You’re playing handball!)