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
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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.

 

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

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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
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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 😉

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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
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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.

 

Quirky and I know it.

Sometimes your head is rumbling with so many ideas and thoughts it’s sheer overwhelming and impossible to calm down the internal chatter. My situation right now and – aside from what I said on Monday – one of the reasons my blogging schedule has been erratic lately. The solution? Get random. Especially after reading another blogger’s post spiked with lots of funny tidbits about herself the other day. Quite a while ago I read a quote somewhere saying that by blogging we felt “a little less lonely and weird”. I’d dare to say it’s true. We”ve agreed that adulting can be pretty rough leaving us entirely fed up with it at times. Good to know we’re not alone in wanting to curl up with a [possibly Disney] movie and … It’s our quirks that make us both special and let us bond with others. That being said I hope you’ll no t only have a good laugh at my quirks but share some of yours in the comments, too. Ready, set, random!

Thinking-Out-Loud

  • As much as I like pretty flower bouquets I often opt against them on my table. Who does that, you wonder? For me it’s about two things: 1. I can’t stand a cluttered table. That’s why not only flowers but also people dropping off piles of clothes, bags or whatever else irk me. 2. I feel bad for flowers essentially being killed for my pleasure.

Birthday flowers

  • While I don’t sleep with stuffed animals anymore but occasionally check under my bed. For … you know it. If you don’t you haven’t watched or understood the deeper sense in “Monsters Inc.”. Okay, actually, I’m afraid of snakes hiding under there. Don’t ask me why because I can’t explain it myself.
  • Speaking of killing: I broke one of my wire whisks. A little background: I’ve been known as the wild whisker in my family for years. So much so that – when we were younger and still living at home – my sister announced she’d write a book called “The beat of the wire whisk”. Luckily, her ambition ended after a mere few pages that never saw the light of the day again. ..

wire whisk

  • Planks are my favourite strength exercise. In fact, I usually do them several times a day. Which I know sounds extreme but I honestly enjoy them. Burpees, on the other hand? I’m scared of them.Granted, I’ve only ever seen videos of these but that alone makes me feel they’re not right for me.
  • Okay, this one might shock some people but: I never wear pants. In fact, I can safely say I seriously dislike – not to say hate – them. Dresses and tights – that’s the way I roll. Up until recently this never presented a problem but my new job requires me to wear pants. No more wors needed here other than that I’m counting down the hours until I can change into tights again. Edited to add: Pants make me feel uncomfortable both on a physical and mental level. Physically, no pants ever fit right for me: squeezing my stomach, sagging around my legs. Mentally theyhave an even huger impact on my self-perfection and mood that would almost require its own post to explanin in full length.

Outfit_Jan

  • Mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard. You name it – I don’t like it. This – unlike what some people might think – has nothing o do with my eating disorder. Even my parents would confirm I was the odd one out as a child eating fries or chicken nuggets – on the rare occasion we were allowed to get those – plain.  Maybe that’s why I’ve never gotten into the salad eating habit?

While I have a plethora more of  quirks that’s it for me today because I can’t risk appearing like a complete nut ;).  Over to you! Share your quirky side!

 

Happiness-inducing today: A good conversation.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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What are some of your quirks other people don’t understand?

Is there any food you eat in mass quantities every day? No, beverages (i.e.: coffee) don’t count ;).


Stop working out to earn [or burn] your food.

February happens to be National Eating Disorders Awareness (NEDA) month and as somebody in recovery myself I have taken part in it several times before. This time touching on a topic not only those diagnosed with an eating disorder deal with.

 

Eating a bagel for breakfast  = run for 45minutes.*

An ice cream sundae =  a 75-minute spinning class.*

A few handfuls of chips = lifting weights for more than an hour. *

No, I didn’t make up the numbers above. Chances are you’ve seen these kind of equations on a magazine or somewhere online*. And if you’ve spent just a few weeks or months around the blog world or on Instagram – and most of us have been around for much longer, right? – you’ll have seen it there, too. “I know this day seems carb-heavy but: leg day!” or “deserved this treat after a hard session at the gym”. I’m not shaming any of the people making these statements because I’ve been there and occasionally still find my mind drifting off. In the past months, though, I’ve made progress here and being forced to lay off any exercise aside from walking helped change my thoughts.

You don’t need to work out like a mad [wo]man to “deserve food – or rest.

You don’t need to justify your food choices through the exercise you’ve done.

Would you deny a toddler, a doctor [somebody working mostly sedentary] or your frail grandma food? Restrict their intakes because they hardly move throughout the day? Actually,  you wouldn’t deny your rabbit/cat/dog food or hush it around the block for another lap making sure it truly deserved its food, either, no? Deny your child a snack on a long car ride because it didn’t [get a chance to] move?  Granted, there might be mums who do but I’d like to think they’re the exceptions.

Are you nodding now and saying yes, sure, point made but these examples are different from you? They’re not.

You, a toddler, your grandma: all human beings. All deserving of nourishment – in large enough quantities – to exist. Breathe. Get sh*t done [if that’s the way you want to express it]. Actually, yes, you do need to work for your food: by earning the money to pay grocery bills but that’s about the only connection between earning and food. Speaking off earning and assuming most of us either work in desk jobs or study: never forget mental work counts, too. Our brains run on glucose = your carb cravings explained. Or just don’t seek for any explanations.

I’m not suggesting for everybody to stop exercising completely and sit around all day long stuffing their face with all. the. food. Extremes again, huh? Rather, tuning into our intuition will lead us to make the right choices food-wise. And by right I mean right to keep us fuelled and happy throughout daily life – carbs and protein, pasta  and cookies just like nut butter and Greek yogurt.

Almond butter jar_Mandelmus

If we were to take this concept further the same is true for resting. There’s no need to explain why you “deserve” binge-watching your favourite show on Netflix at night. Unless that’s all you do all day every day while bossing others around to work for you. In that case please move your butt off the sofa and get work done.

The problem with shifting the mindset of earning food is its ever-presence in our society that makes it impossible to ignore*. Blogs, magazines, TV shows constantly praise the mentality of “burning off your food” and in also glorify the idea of under-eating [hello, 1200-calorie meal plans].

Exercising just for the sake of it: A gift we – myself included – often take for granted. A luxury exclusive to us living in a society where we don’t need to worry about the availability of food to refuel. An activity that some of us even turn around to be punishment for eating “too much”.

* unless you lived under rock which you shouldn’t feel bad to admit as it’d honestly be an admirable state of blissful ignorance here!

You deserve food. You deserve rest. As much of both as you need to feel energized and ready to tackle your days. Eat. Exercise. Don’t make the former depend on the latter but only the other way around in eating enough to fuel your workouts.

 

No questions. Just your thoughts on the topic.

Happiness inducing today: Many many small things all throughout my day. The sun shining. A short chat with my colleagues in between wokring.

Stay in touch!

Twitter: @MissPolkadot21
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