Of nudity, happy mums and small talk aversion

Hi!

Has it really been almost a week since we talked macros? It’s been somewhat of a rough time since. My family experienced a huge loss on the weekend and writing a Week in Review just didn’t happen. I do not want to talk about our loss any more but also couldn’t pretend nothing had happened. Rather than talk about myself, I decided to finally share another post in what I’d planned to be a little series on German life. There are a lot of differences between life here and in the US– we’re talking some juicy facts today ;).

A final note on my posting schedule for the week: As I’ll be traveling and attending the funeral on the other end of the country and won’t be back until – at the earliest – late on Saturday night I’ll try but might not be able to share the good good links on Sunday, either. In that case, be back on Monday for some of my latest favourites.

[As I have yet to figure out the whole technology issue – hoping to get to it soon, though – the pictures in this post aren’t entirely fitting but I had fun bringing back some  older favourites]

Thinking-Out-Loud

We don’t beat around the bush. Or: small talk wasn’t invented in Germany

Truth is: we like to cut right to the chase. Mailing somebody with business inquiries? There’s no need to ask how they are first. Just let them know what you need in a polite way and that’s it.

When you call somebody, don’t be surprised when they pick up the phone saying just their last name [say, “Maier”]. It’s unusual to say “hello?” upon picking up. If you read my previous post on differences between Germany and the US you might remember how “friendly” – cue the irony – cashiers often are. In that case you won’t be surprised to hear they’re not exactly going to chat you up for a short conversation. Because they want you to leave the store –fast–.  Okay, so we don’t all hate small talk. We’re just unlikely to be the ones initiating it.

Let’s get naked.

Or: Germans aren’t as afraid of nudity. Bare breasts on magazine covers at the supermarket? Check. Beaches that explicitly invite you to show off what you’ve got 😉 [German term: FKK-Strand]? Check. And if your doctor needs you to undress certain body parts for examination there’s neither a paravent nor will he usually leave the room as you strip off your clothes or hand you a paper gown. Ready for an even more ‘shocking’ fact?
 
Work and such

Prostitution is a legal business

Now this one I certainly don’t know from personal experience – I prefer keeping my clothes on at work ;). However, the fact is true. While you won’t exaxctly see prostitutes walking down the streets of your average small town neighbourhood there is in fact a certain ‘house’ – colloquially referred to as a “Puff” – smack dab in the middle of a neighbouring village. And if you’re in a larger city like Hamburg you absolutely can see the ladies strutting down Reeperbahn, waiting for business. Speaking of businesses and work …

Mum’s staying home – and dad might as well

This refers to one of the blessings new parents have over here. An expecting woman can legally – with very few exceptions – not be fired from the moment she gets pregnant until a minimum of two months postpartum. The mum-to-be is also legally granted “Mutterschutz” (pregnancy leave) from six weeks pre-birth until up to three years after birth if she decides to stay home with the baby. Her employer can’t fire her during this time, either, and parents receive “Elterngeld” [think – very simplified- the state paying a compensation for the usual income depending on the latter; at least 300 €/per month, max 1.800 €]. Additionally, the baby’s dad can apply for “Elternzeit”, too. My sister’s husband did this and was on parental leave from his main job [starting his second side business on the leave – with the approval of his boss] for some time, too.

 

Money, money, money

The one topic all Germans can agree on: GEZ

GEZ, short for “Gebühreneinzugszentrale” has to be one of every German’s most disliked institutions. They’re the friendly people who decided that every household has to pay a set monthly fee of €17.98 for TV, radio and New Media and – that’s the clue – regardless of whether you use those or not. Sounds great, right? Not.

Pay now, use later.

The above is true for . Yes, that’s right. You’re paying for the so-called “Nebenkosten” like electricity and gas in advance. If you used less than the providing companies assumed you’ll get money back at the end of the year.

Sunday, silent Sunday

Feel like your lawn is more than ready for a cut again? You’d better not plan on mowing it on a Sunday in Germany unless you want to get in contact with the authorites. Yes, mowing your lawn on Sunday is legally prohibited. As you might remember you can’t do your regular weekend shopping on this day, either.

That’s it for now though there are plenty more differences to share.

Happiness-inducing today: The brightest sunshine in between all the rain we’ve been getting lately.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

Share your random thoughts with me!

If you’ve ever been to Germany: What’s something else you’ve found odd or was different?

If you’ve never been to Germany but noticed differences between your country and another one you’ve visited: share those! It’s amazing how different cultures are.

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Letting my mind run wild and free [ToL]

… and then there was no Week in Review. Breaking from my usual blogging schedule felt both weird and very freeing. The decision was not entirely spontaneous but my heart just nudged me into the decision-making on Saturday. The sun was out, my mind telling me I’d better start drafting Monday’s post early and me ultimately neglecting my to-do list for the Moment and heading out for a longer walk instead. One of the sort that clears your head and heart, connects you to nature and makes you feel incredibly light and free. A twinge of guilt found its way into my brain again yesterday night but I reminded myself of my intuitive blogging premise. Instead deciding for less screen time on the weekend and returning with some ramdom thoughts today [a few days early as i might have another post coming later this week].. Ready, set, random!

Thinking-Out-Loud

Can we talk about changing taste buds? Because I’m not sure what happened to mine. If you’d asked me not too long ago I would have told you I had a major sweet tooth. Now? I can’t exactly say that anymore. The majority of my meals and snacks are savoury. Some days, I eat way less chocolate than I used to. Edited to add: the joke’s on me here. The very day I write about craving chocolate less what hits me big time? Yes, you guessed it. The intensity is almost crazy.

When I’m reading a really good book the word ‘read’ is actually inaccurate. Rather, I savour books. Which means I assign a certain time/setting to when I will read in every single one currently on my nightstand [i.e. morning/after work/weekends] and slow myself down a bit. Yes, I’m aware that will seem odd but my overworrying as well as money-saving tendencies are at play here. Worrying about not finding a follow-up book that’s just as amazing and saving-savvy in that we all know my struggle of treating myself to anything outside the necessary things by now, I guess. I’d call the fact I semi-decided on a small monthly book budget starting in March a first step of improvement, though. Because nourishing the mind with words and screen-free time is just as important as buying food, right?!

Absence truly makes the heart grow fonder in every area of life. Proof? You might not even remember me mentioning the first time I didn’t put my ear plugs in on a walk. Well, they hardly made an appearance anymore since. Quiet walks are my most creative time. The other day, though, I felt like listening to some music again and it felt so good. I still took in my environment, not letting the lyrics distract me. If anything, my heightened mood made me appreciate the beauty of nature even more.

flower_nature

Speaking of music I’m a classic ‘victim’ of the “mere exposure effect”. When I first heard Coldplay’s new song it didn’t feel up my alley. Being exposed to it during my daily commute, though, I’m suddenly a huge fan and added it to my Spotify. Well played, radio stations, well played. Literally.

Not so well [played] are the glitches my electronics have been going through lately. If you’ve been waiting for all the recipes I promised to share in recent posts I owe you an explanation and here’s why. I’ve been experiencing an unlucky juxtaposition of electric devices and platforms letting me down. My laptop has been on its last legs for well over a year already. Now it’s definitely time to say goodbye after about 7 (8?) years as it’s no longer working properly in regards to uploading pictures from my camera and constantly crashing when I’m online. Additionally, WordPress has been kindly reminding me that my data volume is close to used up meaning new pictures are scarce on here. I know that buying a new laptop is inevitable but any ideas on a quick and easy solution for the WordPress issue? I’m scared of [the cost and technological knowledge involved in] going self-hosted.

Something that never lets me down? Opening a fresh jar of white almond butter. Granted, I’m not a fan of the inavoidable oil spillage but the naturally sweet flavour – way different from the dark kind – and creaminess on top of my oat bran all but make up for it. Not that I’d be opposed to having one of these ingenious tools at hand but – you guessed it – they’re not available over here. So I keep getting those nut butter stirring arm workouts in.

Work’s been insane already again today so I’ll end this here and try not to hit the pillow too late. Fingers crossed and happy Tuesday to you!

Happiness-inducing today: My current [afternoon] book as well as – it never gets old – sunshine.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Share your random thoughts with me!

What’s a song you only got hooked on upo nhearing it multiple times?

Blogging advice?

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Cars, cooking, cash – differences between Germany and the US

First things first: Happy Thanksgiving to all of you in the US! I hope you’ll have a wonderful day with family, friends or whoever you choose to spend it with.

It’s been a hot minute since I previously joined Amanda on her venture of leisurely letting thoughts wander aka Thinking out loud. I’m not entirely sure how much of the blog world will really be around today so I opted for a non-heavy topic fitting whichever day you read it: Differences between the US and Germany. While I’ve yet to visit the US myself being part of the blog world for a long time – far longer than I’ve been blogging for myself – I did notice things here and there all the time.

Ready, set,: thoughts out loud!

Thinking-Out-Loud

 

 

Going places

Say hi to Deutsche Bahn!
A lot of Germans travel via train evidence of which can be found multiple times on my blog. It’s convenient, cheaper and more accessible than flying. And if you like surprises  [beware of upcoming sarcasm] Deutsche Bahn – the main trailway company – regularly has you in for those with delays, broken air conditioning in the summer heat and else. We make it sound more awful than it is, obviously. Well, unless we remember that time your connecting train on a long distance journey was cancelled, you spent an hour standing on a crowded platform in cold wind and seriously questioning if we were going to make it home that day still, all while being sick. Thanks for nothing, Deutsche Bahn.
But hey, we accept that for long distance travels because …

Berlin

Gas is way more expensive than in the US
Last time I checked the gas my dad’s car needs was 1,35 € [around $1,42] – and that’s per litre, not gallon. That’s why won’t see any trucks or similarly big cars on the streets often here. Big hooray for public transport.

Restaurants, supermarkets and home

Running to the store on Sunday? No way.
You guessed that right: stores are closed on Sundays. Exception to this rules can be found in some bigger cities, usually stores located in central stations. And if you run out of snacks at night you might be out of luck, too. Most supermarkets close at 8 PM. Again, cities can be the exception with certain ones not closing until 10 or at the very latest – and I’ve only seen this twice before – midnight.

Just like your car you’d better not be super thirsty.

Because there are no free refills in Germany. In fact, some restaurant owners make the majority of their profit through beverages,  not food. The only exception being IKEA – thank you for introducing me to this novelty as a child, Sweden – where you can drink to your heart’s content.

Got cash?

If you plan on visiting Germany: a) let me know [duh!] and b) bring some cash. Well, you might have to do that in anyway because of the different currency but really: we like to pay in cash. Sure, I keep my bank card in my wallet at all times but only really use it to pay if I’m making big purchases. Some stores even have a minimum amount of spendings you need to reach before they let you use your debit card. And once you’ve paid …

Hurry up!

Because cashiers want you out as soon as possible. This is one thing that seriously annoys me. At best, you’d have your purchases stashed away and be on your way out right after you finished paying. I’m not entirely sure of the situation in the US but a friend from the UK told me you could take a lot more time to pack over there. There’s also no employee to help you bag up your stuff because hey, that could make you feel entirely too welcome at the checkout.

Take your shoes off, please
… and grab a pair of slippers. We do not wear shoes other than the latter in the house. I was surprised to hear people apparently walk around in their outdoor shoes at home in the US. Is that true? Sexier than the Birkenstock-like sandals I’m wearing as I type this for sure ;).

Cooking and baking

Let’s do the math!
… or just break out the kitchen scales. You might have already known that we do not measure in cups over here. Honestly, cup measurements used to seriously confuse me when I started reading blogs and trying US recipes. How many potatoes are you supposed to buy when a dish calls for two cups, diced? By now, I’m way better at this yet still prefer using scales. So much more accurate. [Completely subjective opinon of course]

kabocha!

You’re putting what into your dessert pie?!

Seasonal fact:pumpkin is not eaten the sweet way in Germany. We go savoury. Actually, you won’t find canned pumpkin on the shelves of any store, either. It’s only through social media and also very very slowly that some people – usually inspired by Instagram – start making their own pumpkin puree to use in sweet dishes.

Wrapping it up here even though I could come up with way more examples. But over to you and your experiences in other countries  – let me know about them in the comments!

Happiness-inducing today: More of that glorious autumn sunshine I mentioned in my previous post.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

Did you know about any of these differences between Germany and the US?

What are some differences between other countries you visited and your homecountry?

… and whichever random thoughts come to your mind here.

 

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Running [out of space], my fall must-have + pizza craziness

What do you do when a) Thursday arrives before you actually got acquainted with the new [or not so new anymore] week and b) your brain is technically not out of post ideas but rather jumping from one to another, leaving you with about half a dozen semi-written posts? Well, you thank Amanda for inventing Thinking out loud Thursdays and make lemonade from life’s lemons. Or just a post from random thoughts.

Thinking-Out-Loud

  1. Rather than running with spoons I have been running out of space lately. Everywhere. On my blog [hello, limited data]. On my laptop  [that state has been a ‘current’ for, ahem, months] and my phone. The latter issue will hopefully find a good end soon with the memory card I ordered earlier today. The laptop situation? Trickier yet. Not because I wasn’t ready to buy a new one after having this one for about seven years. It’s my incredible indecisiveness causing the biggest trouble. If you have any awesome laptop recommendations [think: fast, neither too huge nor so small it makes typing for longer a pain and (!) a good battery duration]. The blog situation is a story for another day, really, but at least my phone will hopefully be running smoothy again soon.

Tone-in-tone_phone

2. As I only thought to add it very last minute I didn’t say much at all about the song I included in Monday’s post. What I did mention, though, was that it’s not my usual taste of music. It was only this past weekend when it played on the radio while I was driving that I started to like it. Actually, I probably wouldn’t have had it not been for the moderator introducing it as a song about mobbing and using the hatred of your ‘adversaries’ if you will as fuel to the fire that is your strength. Or at least that’s how I interpreted his words. That made me give the song a chance and yes, it’s been on repeat since.
This also rings true regarding other songs for me. Many times I won’t like a song upon first hearing it but only after finding out the story or deeper meaning behind them. Or when I can connect a memory to a certain tune. Love takes over by Kelly Rowland? I thought it was terrible and would quickly switch radio stations when it came on. Until I made that one memory of what Meg would possibly paraphrase with ‘wink, wink, nudge, nudge’ that I happily recall. Do you have any songs that you only started enjoying at second ‘look’/listen?

3. It’s the season again! So I’m one of – so it seems – the few bloggers that aren’t super excited about the start of fall [or autumn as I prefer]. The daylight fading way sooner? Not a fan. Cozy sweaters? Sound nice in theory but in reality I  feel about them the same way I do about pants. Yes. What I do like a LOT, though? Scented candles! Granted, I’ve been lighting one every now and then in summer, too. Yet it’s only now they’re a daily necessity and coming to their full coziness potential.y favourite? Since I’ve yet to find the famed Yankee candles I’m still fond of my lovely – and reasonably priced! – IKEA vanilla ice cream ones. Honestly, they’re so good!

Vanilla candle IKEA

4. While everybody in the US is running to the stores to stock up on canned pumpkin – which you will not find over here at all – vegans here are currently searching high and low for this pizza.

Lidl released the first ever grocery store brand and very affordable – think: less than 1.50 $ – vegan pizza a while ago, sold out immediately  or even the day before offical sales started in most stores, causing uproar among vegans. Hence the store bringing it back once again. Me? Not buying it. For one, I just enjoy cooking myself  too much and then I also rarely buy limited time only items for fear of liking them too much. Yes, I mean that. Feel free to laugh – I know I have my quirks.

5. If I usually comment on your blog and haven’t in a while: the WordPress spell continues. I’m still unable to comment on the majority of blogs out there – including Amanda’s –  and it’s not cool.

6. Okay., not ending on a bad note here. In good news my sister and the little one visiting us again this weekend. The ‘bad’ part is that she expects me to have some new delicious goods at hand and my mum has been demanding another batch of her new favourite cookies. Which might just mean I’m in for quite some baking today. Fingers crossed I’ll be able to leave work in time/earlier today!

Happy Thursday!

Happiness-inducing today: A calmer day after the week started out rather stressfully.

Stay in touch!
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

That’s it from me today. Tell me your random thoughts on music preferences, candles or whatever comes to your mind!

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Decisions [to make, already made and not even up for discussion]

One of the biggest mistakes one can make as a blogger, it seems, is failing to plan ahead. Or actually, this is considered [one of] life’s biggest mistake(s): Fail to plan, plan to fail. Following this logic today’s post shouldn’t go live as yes, I didn’t schedule my blog posts ahead of time on the weekend. Assuming I’d have a few hours to finish them in the upcoming days. Well, we’re here and this clearly didn’t work out. In keeping with my statement of honesty I’ll admit I contemplated skipping blog posts – the link lovin’ aside – for another week. Not because I hadn’t been looking forward to returning. Rather, this week unexpectedly turned out to be a mentally draining one and work busier than the past. Yet I know blogging is a source of great joy in my life I don’t want to go without for longer [read: as cheesy as it sounds I missed you guys]. While not with any of the posts I’d planned to publish this week I’m linking up with Amanda to get some random thoughts rolling – it’s been a while.

Thinking-Out-Loud

Is anybody else always seeking patterns or themes in what’s going through their mind? Well, at least the parts that end up written down? As I wrote this post I noticed that tendency again. I can’t deny being slightly chaotic in real life but my posts or letters need structure. Selective OCD? Anyway, the overarching theme of today’s thoughts turned out to be. .. decisions. Those I’ve already made, those I’m contemplating and a few that aren’t even to be questioned. You’ll see what I mean in a second …

  1. So: did you catch the news of the third Bridget Jones movie, “Bridget Jones Baby”, being released? I’m not sure how I missed this before but after watching the trailer [three times] I know I need to watch it. If you’re like me and haven’t heard of the movie before: Patrick Demsey aka McDreamy is starring in it. Now if that alone isn’t reason enough to watch it. .. Fun fact, though: I actually wasn’t a fan of Grey’s Anatomy. But when it comes to hot guys Patrick Demsey still makes the list for me. #definitelydreamy

2. Hashtags are what leads to a second thought that’s been on my mind for a while already: Instagram. Or rather: Instabots. Why on earth some people pay for commenting robots is beyond me [yes, I know it’s in hopes of growing their number of followers but I still find it ridiculous – it’s not all about the numbers]. actually, Here’s the deal and where decisions come in again: all of us with Instagram accounts will know the kind of automated comments I’m talking about. ‘Cool’, ‘awesome profile’, ‘keep up the great work!’ Or just a bunch of random emoticons. How do you react to them? Maybe there’s a blogger’s guide to handling these in style and not look like either a fool or an ignorant jerk. But I simply ignore them and respond to genuine, real person comments only. My actual point here, though, are the many accounts of people who don’t seem to know the truth behind the  [usually bigger] accounts that tell they ‘loved [their] feeds’ or let them know ‘you rarely see such great accounts’. And reply to those in an at times overjoyed manner. Okay, I think you might have caught my drift here. The question is: would you tell those people about the automatism behind the comments? Maybe it’s just me but I feel bad for those people being fooled.

my Instagram feed

3. Foolish – that would be me for eating chocolate at work. Why? Because it’s been more than once somebody noticed a little crumb or smudge of the dark deliciousness adorning my lips or chin. Learn from my mistake: always (!) look into the mirror after you ate chocolate. Because there’s no decision to make about whether or not to eat chocolate.  Or else people like my colleague today might assume you’d hurt yourself without noticing. Nope, no blood there. Just a wild harmless little chocolate addiction.

Mint chocolate II

4. Another decision I’ve been pondering? Whether or not to get a Netflix account for December only. The reason: Gilmore Girls!! I’m just a little [too] excited to see Rory and Lorelai – and all the others, obviously – again. So: should I make that investment? If not I’d have to hope for the episodes to air in free TV at some point but that wait … [read: it’s hardly a decision anymore – unless our internet connection stays flunky because interrupted movie streaming tales away from the pleasure]. Are you going to  [unless you already have a Netflix account, obviously]?

Seeing as I’m writing this very last minute on Wednesday night and staying up late to blog is a decision I’d be wise not to make I’ll finish here. Not without wishing you a happy Thursday, though!

Happiness inducing today: My sister continually texting me pictures of little P. – he’s on his first beach vacation and it’s crazy adorable [sorry, aunt mode on].

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

What are your thoughts on the Instagram issue? Bridget Jones? Or any other thoughts coming to your mind right now!*

*unless they’re robot-generated 😉

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

Merken

ToL: Summer TMI, blogger problems and cookies

It’s Thursday and time to let the thoughts run places again.  This will be the shortest intro in the history of this blog but a little trouble I ran into [see below] means I have to finish this at a time I actually wanted to be in bed already sooo … sleep matters, yes? Sorry for this – we’ll pretendit’s part of the schedued andomness.

Ready, set,: thoughts out loud!

Thinking-Out-Loud

Baking for others [and stress-relieve]? I’m so up for that. After recommending this recipe to my sister and getting a rave review from her my mum got curious and wanted to try the cookies herself. I not so unselfishly – an opportunity to taste-test cookie dough?!- offered to bake a batch. It was one of the quickest to prepare recipes I’ve tried so far and the verdict? Divided. I tried a bite and they taste amazingly buttery and have a great texture. At first bite my mum was delighted. Later? Not as impressed anymore – I’m not sure why and will have to investigate . Just to clarify this: Brandi’s recipe is delicious, my mum simply has way too high expectations as you might remember. We’ll have lots of visitors over for the weekend so I’ll be sure to get some more opinons and report back. Because how bad could these innocent chocolate chip cookies be?

vegan cookies_The vegan 8

Oh,  what a difference a few minutes make. More details: just a few minutes ago I was going to excitedly tell you that we got a new internet router that’s allowing for fast internet [less blogging frustrations about pictures not uploading etc.]. Now? Not so much. Fast but flunky. As in: I found myself kicked out for one and a half hours before I could finally get it to work again and write my post. That right here would be the blogger problem mentoned in the intro. Stirring up anxious nerves that I needed to calm. With chocolate.

What is it about chocolate chips that makes them that alluring? Aside from being chocolate, I mean. Because they’re actually not a particularly awesome kind. Or maybe that’s just because I’ve been playing in higher leagues again  [read: mingling with the 80 % bars]. Still,I find my hand in the bag time and time again.

Chocolate chips_II

On a completely different topic, probably verging on TMI territory – though when everybody’s talking about poop what even is TMI anymore? So: summer. Yay sun! For some of us that means not just a risk of sunburn – hi, fellow pale-skinned people! – and also the potential of …. stronger bodily odors. If you know what I mean. Me? I apparently lucked out there. Which is good because I’ve finally made the switch to a [hopefully] more natural deodorant a short time ago. I felt bad about all the chemistry I apply to my skin using regular ones. Though I know there apparently are even more  natural ways to cover unwanted smells but I’m just not ready/daring enough for that.

flower_dandelion_Pusteblume

Speaking of bodily odors – what a nice expression, no? – I told you about my current favourite one already. When thinking out loud about the point above my sister chimed in letting me know that sweat was one of the components of this heavenly scent. Kind of obvious but still  … hmm.

On the note of nice scents: summer’s here! Go and smell the flowers. Or blow the dandelons seeds’! <- does anybody still do this as an adult?

Happiness-inducing today: A walk in the beautiful evening light – without a jacket because it was still warm! Ah, summer is coming.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
Pinterest: MissPolkadot21
Bloglovin’: Let’s get living

 

What are some topics you’d consider TMI? I’m usually not the one to go into topics like the one above in daily life but I guess blogging makes us share a little more random thoughts ;).

Has summer been showing where you are yet? Our early summer weather is supposed to end again this weeked already.