- So many trains, buses, bikers, and pedestrians! I mentioned this in my last post, but it is really impressive to me that so many people use forms of transportation other than cars. The cars that are here, though, are much smaller, and there are a lot of Smart Cars.
- Speaking of buses, they are pünktlich! In Chapel Hill, it's not uncommon for a bus to arrive a few minutes late to a bus stop (actually, I count on it). Here, the bus often arrives when the sign still reads "3 min."
- So many Bäckereien und Konditoreien! The Germans LOVE their bread and pastries (and I'm not complaining!).
- I love being around so many different languages. FUBiS is an international program, so there are people from everywhere! My roommates and I alone speak English, German, Polish, Turkish, and Spanish. Students from Italy live above me, and I have met students from the Czech Republic, Canada, Albania, Ireland, and more. I live on the first floor, and I always hear different languages out my window!
- My shower only runs for 15 seconds at a time (no, I'm not exaggerating, and yes, I counted). Thank goodness for high water pressure and warm weather! No one else I have talked to about it who also lives in the building has this issue, but their showers all drain so slowly that they are filled with water after just a few seconds. Maybe it's a good thing? I am just glad Dad didn't figure out how to rig our shower at home to do this to save water. ;)
- On the theme of showers, my European hairdryer broke the first time I used it (sorry, Mom!). Between the 15-second shower intervals and letting my hair air-dry, I am feeling very German (and eco-friendly).
- I think you have to be willing to make a fool of yourself in another country, because some customs are just different. For example, I spent about two minutes trying to figure out how to unlock a grocery cart, then asked a woman if I could use hers. She said I could after she locked hers back up... but that defeated the purpose for me. She demonstrated, though, that I had to put a Euro coin into the cart to release it from the chain of carts. I thanked her, then realized I had no Euro coins, so still couldn't get a cart. I definitely felt like a stupid American!
- At the grocery store, you have to pay for a bag. THIS MAKES ME SO HAPPY! America needs to adopt this custom like now. It is so easy to bring a tote to the store, but without motivation, a lot of people don't!
Overall, I am loving every minute of being here! I am ever more impressed with how concerned Germans are with the environment. I am also enjoying learning German customs, and trying not to make too big of a fool of myself in the process! :)