The only things I knew about Germany before PCS’ing here were Oktoberfest and World War 2. This did not bode well for my transition.
Already, I wasn’t too happy with the move, having no knowledge of German and wishing our orders were to someplace warm. Still, I gathered up all of my moxie and jumped into German culture headfirst.
That was a really bad idea.
You see, when thinking about the culture shock of moving to a new country, you think about the customs or even the currency exchange. That is not what is going to hit you upside the head with weird. Everyone seems to have their own moments of culture shock. My first came from the appliances.
Case. In. Point.
This was like the washing machine the Air Force provided us. I stood in front of it, slack jawed, for around 45 minutes. I settled on kalt, since it sounded like cold, and went for it. That load was completed without water. Evidently, you have to turn it on and off with every cycle.
I did every load of laundry on cold for around a month before attempting something else.
Now, you could attest the previous blunder to my awful housewife skills, and I wouldn’t blame you. Currently, I am in the running for world’s worst military wife. The results should be in within a couple of weeks.
With that misadventure behind me, I went to the market for some odds and ends. I realized that I didn’t have any euro on me. Germany is almost entirely a cash based economy. I went up to an employee and asked for the “kase” having been told that is the word for atm. The lovely boy nodded and led me to the cheese section.
Evidently, “kase” is cheese. “Kasse” is ATM. Of course.
I wish I could say that after the first month of two that I stopped having these blunders, but that would be a lie. They’re only biweekly now, thankfully. My German is still laughable, and I still am confused by half of what goes on here.
There are ways to help it feel more like home here. Currently, I have downloaded 35 episodes of House Hunters. I think I’m well on my way.
Laura Donnelly-Long is a newbie military spouse and graduate of Rowan University. She made sure to get some gouda along with her cash withdrawal that day.
Photo Credit: Jim Winstead, Flickr.com