Germany VS America

 

 

I have been in Germany for a total of 11 days now and have noticed a lot of differences between here and America. There are large differences and very small differences. Some you really have to look for while others are so blatant. If you’ve ever lived in both Germany and America you might be able to recognize some of these differences, but if you haven’t lived in both of these locations, I thought I’d fill you in.

The Language

  • It is rude to just start speaking English to people
  • Even if you try speaking Germany, people will be able to tell your from America
  • If people notice you’re from America, they will just start speaking English to you
  • A lot of people speak English
  • Always ask for an English menu to make your life easier

 

The Currency / Moneycurrency

  • One and two Euro’s are in the form of coins rather
    than dollars
  • The Euro is stronger than the dollar
  • One Euro is about 1.20 in America
  • Most people refuse to take an “American Express” card so make sure you always have cash

 

 

 

 

The Streets

    • Everyone parks up on the curbs since the streets are so narrow
    • Always watch for bikers
    • There is a specific bike line and specific walking lane. This is an unspoken rule. Bikers will yell and ring their bell at you if you are in the bike lane so watch out!
    • You never cross the road unless there is a cross walk. Also, nobody breaks the rules and crosses on red

 

Paying for the Bill

  • Make sure to have cash. It’s an unspoken rule that they prefer cash over card in Germany
  • The waiter gives you your change at the table
  • How to tip: Just include the tip when you’re paying for your meal. If you leave money on the table, they won’t assume it’s a tip. They will just think you just forgot it

 

 

 

Drinking Age is 16

  • Fermented drinks like beer or wine are permitted above 16
  • You must be 18 or older to order distilled alcohol
  • Common to drink at any time of the day
  • Germany is known for their beer
  • Fun fact: Oktoberfest doesn’t really occur in October. It starts September 16th and runs until October 3rd

 

Less Toilet Water

  • This is because Germany likes to save water
  • You either press the small button, for pee, or the big button, for poop, when flushing
  • Public bathrooms: they make sure there are no cracks between the doors and the wall. Germanys are private people so they even make their bathroom stalls very closed off and private

 

More Public Transportationpublic transportation

  • You can get anywhere with the use of trains or buses
  • You need to purchase a card depending on how much you’ll be traveling. You will then stamp this card before getting on a train or bus
  • “Blackriders” are those who don’t pay for public transportation
  • There are freelance spies whose job it is to catch those not paying
  • Those 20 years and younger only need to stamp their card once while everyone 21 and older needs to stamp their card twice per ride
  • People driving will hardly honk. They take honking very serious

 

Quiet Culture

  • Most people keep to themselves
  • Germans are quiet and don’t speak very loudly
  • It is seen as impolite to speak loud in public settings

 

 

 

 

Castles and Palaces

  • Very famous castles
  • Palaces are common
  • Many people visit these castles and palaces everyday as you can pay to go inside
  • They contain so much history
  • It’s as if you’re in a fairytale

 

 

 

 

Biking

  • Bike tours are a must
  • Everyone rides bikes without helmets
  • Biking is called Cycling
  • Sometimes its fasters to ride a bike than take public transportation

 

The Rules

  • Germans stick to the rules! Most people never even think about crossing the street until the little green man tells them it’s okay to do so
  • Germans go on vacation, go crazy since they are free to break rules, then come back to Germany because they miss the law and order

 

 

 

Churches

  • Gorgeous
  • Usually free to go inside
  • They have a distinct color roof with a point so you can find them anywhere in the city
  • Be sure to check out their beautiful interior
  • All churches are so unique and gorgeous in their own way

 

Time Difference

  • Germany is nine hours ahead of California
  • They use military time
  • Jet lag is a thing. I can attest.
  • Facetiming family can get hard. You either have to call really late at night or not at all

 

Doors

  • Most doors don’t have handles. You unlock the door and then push it to open rather than turning a knob
  • The doors don’t close evenly with the wall

 

 

 

Temperature

  • You never really know if it’s going to be sunny or rainy. The weather changes every second
  • Germany uses Celsius instead of Fahrenheit
  • Always carry an umbrella

 

Sunday’s Are For Rest

  • Everything is closed on Sundays, and when I say everything, I mean everything. Make sure you do your grocery shopping on Saturday!
  • Germans enjoy their time off so Sunday’s are strictly for resting

 

Cable Adapters

  • AdapterMake sure to get an adapter before traveling! The one’s in Germany are very very different
  • You can purchase these an Amazon, Target, TJ Maxx, etc.

 

 

 

Dogs

  • There are a lot of them
  • Most people don’t keep their dogs on leashes
  • You never hear dogs barking
  • They are all adorable

 

 

 

Diet

  • Lots of bread. Bread for breakfast, bread for lunch, and bread for dinner
  • Ice cream shops everywhere. Even when it’s raining, people want their ice cream
  • There are less fruits and vegetables
  • Germans don’t snack as much. Rather, they eat three big meals a day
  • You need to try the beer. Mind. Blowing
  • Wine or beer with every meal is a must
  • Water at restaurants is NOT free

 

Starbucks

  • starbucksYour Starbucks card won’t work in Germany, just a heads up
  • They might not speak a lot of English so if your name is Katie, they will call you Cathy. Accept it now.

 

Sirens

  • These sounds very different. It’s a higher pitch and seems to echo as they drive away
  • Not heard very often
  • Police cars and ambulances look different, of course

 

License Plateslicense plate

  • This is harder to describe so here’s a picture
  • Also, people have very nice cards since most people take public transportation
  • Licese plates are similar in different countries, however, you will see little changes in color, arrangement of numbers and letters, and different symbols

 

Futball

  • Any bar you walk into you’ll see some futball
  • Germanys are very proud of their national futball team
  • Futball. Not football.

 

These are just a few of the differences I noticed while being in Germany! Thank you for reading and if you have any comments, questions or concerns, be sure to email me at exploringtheworld.me@gmail.com 🙂

Hans im Gluck

September 10th // Hans im Glück // Munich, Germany

Hans im Gluck

Our first and last meal of the day. Fae, Imogen, and myself went to this cute, earthy restaurant tonight where the inside felt as if we were in a treehouse. We all ordered vegan burgers and split a pound of fries. Fae got the Juglans burger (wheat bread with wheat brioche, cranberries, sprout & walnuts), I got the Kutscher burger (wheat bread with piquant brawling, grilled vegetable tatar & rocket), and Imy got the Fabelhafter burger (sour dough bread with wheat, avocado, orange mustard & herb salad). Themeal was absolutely delicious!

Website: https://hansimglueck-burgergrill.de

 

Cubs Win!

 

August 29th // Chicago, IL

The day has come. My dad bought Fae and I tickets to a Cubs game about a month ago and I have been dying to see my boys play in person. I told my dad to just get us cheap seats in the outfield, but my dad, being the amazing man he is, wanted to get us the best seats possible. We ended up sitting in the sixth row behind home base where we were up close and personal with the players.

From the second you start walking towards the gates, you can feel the high energy of fans rushing inside to grab their seats. My eyes were locked on the giant red neon sign that states “Wrigley Field. Home of the Cubs.” with the score below it.

Wrigley Field

Fae and I entered the stadium and run to find our seats to find out that our view is mind blowing. You can see the whole stadium and even the sweat coming from the player’s brows. We watched a few innings and then got up so we could wander around the stadium and take in Wrigley Field. Everyone was getting food wearing their Cub’s shirts, hats, and jerseys and my heart was so happy. I felt at home. All these people were true fans, my kind of people. After adventuring around the stadium, we fled back to our seats to watch the Cubs win, yet again. My favorite part was the ending song. Everyone stood up on their chairs, whipped out their Cubs win flag, and sang together as one. I am including a video below so you can see what I mean.

 

After the game, Fae and I wandered around Chicago for some late night food and found “The Doll House” where we got rice and vegetables. For more about this meal, go to “Late Night Eats” post under Food for more details!

Bretzels, Magic & Art

August 28th // Chicago, IL

Three amazing things happened today. 1) Lunch with Wes. 2) Art Institute of Chicago. 3) The Cubs game. I will only keep this blog post to amazing things number one and two and save the Cubs game for the next post.

Lunch with Wes

It’s not everyday you run into a familiar face from Los Angeles in Chicago. Our good friend Wes Mathison just recently moved to the city of Chicago to follow his dreams and start anew. A quick text and then bam, the three of us reunited in Hannah’s Bretzels to catch up on life and scarf down some food. We talked for hours on how our summer’s went, what we were each up to, and future plans. Wes, on the topic of future plans, explained how he wants to pursue his love of magic and combine that with his acting skills. Since we were on the topic of magic, we insisted that Wes do a few tricks which left us mind blown and speechless. One of my favorite things in life is watching people talk about their passions, and that was exactly what Wes was doing in this moment. Thank you for a nice meal, lots of laughter, magic, and a beautiful friendship. Be sure to check out Wes’s website here: http://wesmathisonmagic.com

 

Art Institute of Chicago

I’m not a very good artist, but I do appreciate art! And since Fae is a big art lover and an art major, I am always going to new museums and seeing art installations such as LACMA and Salvation Mountain. Fae has always talked about how jaw-dropping the art is in the Art Institute of Chicago and now I was about to find out for myself. Since we were limited on time, we only went to the impressionism and contemporary wings of the museum. Here I saw famous pieces by Picasso that I never thought I’d see in person. His vibrant colors and obscure paintings drew me in. I did a little jump and squeal when I turned the corner and my eyes locked with Claude Monet’s series of “Lily Pads”. Monet is my favorite artists due to his pastel colors and soothing pieces.

Does the photo on the right look familiar? Well I hope your answer is yes! If you’ve seen Ferris Bueller, you might have recognized that the photo I’m looking at in the jersey is almost the exact same shot from the movie (see photo below). Ferris Bueller

 

Dear Future Me

I first heard about this idea in high school when my friend’s teacher had them write a letter to their future selves. At the end of high school, the teacher would give these letter’s back to his or her student’s where they can then see how much has changed. I had wished one of my teacher’s did this and this idea of writing to my future self stayed in the back of my mind.

Since I am now about to study abroad, I thought that this would be the perfect time to write my future self a short letter. On the plane ride overseas, I whipped out my notebook, clicked my pen, and began writing. In this letter I asked myself if I’ve been to all 15 countries I want to go to, who my friends are, what the food is like, and more. I express my current feelings of excitement mixed with the fear of the unknown. It will be neat to look back at this at the end of my study abroad trip and see how much has changed and how I may have become a new person. This short piece of writing to myself will also help me realize how I felt before embarking on this new journey.

I advise you to try and do something like this. You can even write something right now to your future self maybe asking if you have that job you’ve dreamed of, questions about the person you’ll marry, how much you’ve traveled, etc. Have someone hold onto this, maybe your best friend or a relative, and ask them to give it back to you in a couple years. Write on my friends!

Packing Abroad 101

Packed bags

Okay, just to warn you, I am an overpacker. I can’t help it! I always want to make sure I have an abundance of clothing and shoes because you never know what you’ll need until you’re at your destination, and plus, weather changes every second. However, this is must my excuse to pack three bags.

Since my cousin has already studied abroad, she helped me narrow down things that I actually needed. I referred to these packing list that we found on Pinterest as a basis.

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Here are some of the things I packed in each bag to give you a sense of what’s actually important to bring and what you can leave at home.

Large Purse (I suggest getting a Long Champ bag)

  • Wallet (Make sure to pull out cash so you can exchange it for the correct currency of where you’re going) (Be sure to get an international credit card to avoid exchange rates and to pull out cash)
  • Passport + ID
  • Boarding Pass
  • Empty water bottle
  • A key chain (I left my car key and house key at home, but when I arrive at my University I will be given another pair of keys, so just keep that in mind)
  • Neck pillow (This was a lifesaver on long flights!)
  • Beats + Apple ear phones (In case you want to watch a movie on the plane)
  • A good book
  • Documents: (You’ll need these if you’re getting a student VISA: 1) Travel insurance (both before the semester starts + the paperwork from your University regarding insurance) 2) Letter from the University you’re studying at abroad 3) Letter from the University that you go to in America 4) Vaccine documents 5) Financial statement / Bank statement
  • A notebook and pen (On planes I like to doodle, write poetry, or just discuss how I feel in the form of words) (This is a great time to write down what you’re feeling and what you think your trip will be like so you can look at it after you finish your adventure)
  • A bag of food (Trail mix, bars, chocolate, packets of tea etc.)
  • Laptop + laptop charger
  • A portable charger
  • Small camera
  • Plug / Adapter converter
  • U.S. Presidents flash cards / Flags flash cards
  • A desk of cards
  • Sunglasses in a case
  • A change of clothes (Shorts, T-shirt, socks and underwear)
  • Sleep mask
  • Hair ties / Hair clip
  • Toiletries in a clear bag (Clear bag for taking out when going through security) (Includes: deodorant, face wash, tooth brush, tooth paste, mouth wash, headband, tissues, medicine, face moisturizer, lotion, and floss)

*** You will need to take our your laptop from the case, your portable charger depending on the size of it, your toiletry bag, and your bag of food when going through security

Carry On Bag 

I used this bag to put things that are heavier in so my checked suitcase would weight less. Also, this is a good bag to put delicate items in!

  • Books / Notebooks / Pens
  • Shoes: Heels & Flipflops
  • Hats
  • Jewelry bag (Includes: watches, rings, extra belly button rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets)
  • Small travel toiletry bag (Includes: Mini shampoo + conditioner, floss, pads / tampons, makeup recover, razor, tooth brush + toothpaste, roller-ball perfume, hair ties, deodorant, q-tips, headbands, face wash, lotion for body + face lotion)
  • Sweatpants
  • Stuffed animal
  • Hair curlers
  • Belts
  • Makeup
  • Maps
  • Brush
  • Money belt

Suitcase

Packing cubes are lifesavers and help keep you organized! Get these before packing your bag. You can buy them off of amazon.

  • Front pocket of my bag
    • Underwear (x15)
  • Clear, mesh zipper inside pockets
    • Bras (Regular, bandos, bralettes, sports bras) (x7)
    • Socks (x 10) (7 for working out, 3 cute pairs)
    • Swim suits (x 4)
    • Scarfs (x 2)
    • Post shower head wrap
  • Large packing cube (Included: x 3 leggings, x 5 shorts, x 5 t-shirts)
  • Medium packing cube (Included: x 5 dressy tops, x 3 plain shirts,
  • Small packing cube (Included: x 5 workout tank tops, x 4 crop tops)
  • Small packing cube (Included: snacks, another plug / adapter converter, Biotin, Advil, Neosporin, Vitamin C, B12, gum, tweezer)
  • Clear bag: (Included: makeup remover, razor + extra blades, q-tips, nail polish, nail file, nail polish remover, coconut oil, deodorant, lotion, dry shampoo, It’s a 10 leave in spray, curly hair creme)
  • In the rest of my bag I rolled my other clothes (x 4 jeans, x 3 shorts, x 3 short skirts, x 2 long skirts, x 4 dresses, flannel, x 5 dressy tank tops)
  • Shoes (Included: flipflops, little black booties, converse)
  • Other: eye mask, umbrella, second copy of documents, trash bag for dirty clothes
  • (I’m waiting to get my big winter jackets and shoes until I arrive in London to save room and keep the weight of my bag lower)

***Reminder !!! Your bag must weight less than 50 lbs. or you will be charged more!

****Leave dryer sheets in your bag to make your clothes smell good

Outfit On The Plane

  • Tennis shoes + socks
  • Tank top + sports bra
  • Running leggings
  • Lulu jacket + jean jacket
  • Lulu scarf
  • Sometimes a hat

 

Chi Town

August 27th // Chicago, IL

After a quick-lunch, Faeln, Aisha, and I headed into the city for a Greek festival that was occurring. We only stayed for about half an hour since the street was crowded, the food didn’t look too appetizing and we were craving some warm coffee. We grabbed some Starbucks and headed towards Cloud Gate, or also known as “The Bean”. Some fun facts about Cloud Gate include: The Bean is cleaned every night and twice a year, it is bathed in 40 gallons of Tide, the artists doesn’t like the nickname “The Bean”, and the inside of Cloud Gate is made up of wooden frames and beams.

As well as seeing, touching, and taking many photos with Cloud Gate, we worked our way over to the Crown Fountain. Jaume Plensa is the artist behind the giant LCD screens that shoot water out of them. This interactive piece of art highlights dualism, water, and light. Although Crown Fountain is one of the most controversial features in Millennium Park, I thought the idea and execution as well as the enjoyment other’s got from the piece was a great touch to the park.

While walking back to the car, we heard a noise that caught my attention and decided to give it a look. At the Pritzker Pavilion, some young men and woman seemed to be practicing spoken word for an upcoming event. We closed and our eyes and listened as we slowed our walk to the car and took in the moment. A cold breeze hit my face and chill sparked due to the soft, yet impactful words of the girl speaking about racism. I try to take in these moments, how I feel, what I’m thinking, listening to my senses, etc., because these are the memories I will never forget.

I love the fact that a giant, beautiful park that includes large art pieces can be found in the heart of a city. At one moment you’re looking at all the different colored flowers and vibrant green trees, and the next second you look up and your eyes fixate on the twinkling lights of the city.

Getting to see the city and famous art pieces in person was a perfect ending to a very, very long day. Here are some other facts about Millennium Park that I found to be interesting:

  • The idea for Millennium Park occurred during a dentist visit
  • The Pritzker Pavilion’s speakers are faster than the speed of sound
  • The park is technically a giant rooftop garden
  • “The Bean” is so popular that it got ripped off
  • The architect’s visions for the park were not perfectly realized
  • You can rent Wrigley Plaza for $250 an hour
  • You can actually take a shower in the park

(Facts from https://www.thrillist.com/lifestyle/chicago/chicago-facts-secrets-about-millennium-park-the-bean-buckingham-fountain )

Chicago Bound

August 27th // Chicago, IL

The start of the journey! Since Fae and I don’t start class until the end of the September, we decided to do a little traveling before we get to London. I have never been to Chicago, however, my dad had lived there when he was younger and Fae went to high school in the heart of Chicago a couple of years ago, so we had plenty of suggestions and activities to do for our three-day trip.

The Flight

Five hour flight here we come! For this flight I listened to music on Spotify that I had downloaded before leaving which included “Dear Evan Hansen” and a couple of chill playlists that I had made. I, personally, don’t like the Apple earphones, so I made the decision to buy Beats which worked magically and didn’t hurt my ears for a change. On the flight, I also tried to sleep a little since we had to wake up early and be at the airport an hour before our flight. I can never actually fall asleep while traveling, but resting my eyes and killing time was very nice. Since this flight wasn’t too long, the resting and listening to music did the job until we touched down in Chicago.

Arrival

We flew out of the Orange County airport (SNA) around 8a.m. and got into Chicago at 2p.m with the time difference. We then took a Uber Pool (which is must cheater than a taxi) to Faeln’s friend’s apartment where we would stay for the next couple of days. While in the car, I noticed how different the atmosphere already felt compared to California. The structure of the houses were brick and the roofs were more pointed than the one’s in Cali. I was trying to take in all my senses from looking at the city, to the smell of pizza, and even the loud sounds of honking. I was stepping into a new city that I would soon fall in love with.

Bane’s World

August 26th // The Observatory, Orange Country

An unexpected night. If you don’t know, I am a terrible music fan. Why? Because I love music, I even have a tattoo of a music note, however, I am horrible when it comes to going to concerts as I lack to keep up with when and where artists are touring. I tend to always just tag along with Faeln and her family since they are avid concert fans. This leads me to tonights story. Lily, Faeln’s younger sister, saw that Banes World was coming to the Observatory in Orange County and bought the three of us tickets to go see them, even though I have never heard of this artist before. Banes World was just the opener, but that didn’t matter to Lily. It was to our surprise that Bane’s friends, who are also musicians and well known boys on Spotify, decided to join in for the night. We, being Faeln and I, stood towards the back while Lily made her way to the front. We swayed and enjoyed the music that we had never heard before. After the last song, we saw Lily run out and try to talk to some of the musicians as well as get a couple photos with them. We were all hanging out while Lily fan girled over the boys. We could see everyone’s attention shift to a man, who to our surprise, was Tyler, The Creator. Tyler is a friend of Bane’s so he came to support his friend, however, Tyler made it clear that he didn’t want to take any photos since today was about Bane, not him, which I think is very mature and awesome. Overall, the night was full of music, Tyler, and good company.

Website: https://banes-world.bandcamp.com/releases

BYEola (Only for a Semester)

August 25th // Biola University // La Mirada, California 

Shoutout to the parentals for driving me all the way down to Southern California today! It warmed my heart that both my mom and dad got to see my big hammock project successful and completed where they even decided to take a swing! We walked around Biola after I showed them the hammock stations where I then ran into friends and said my goodbyes. There were lots of “Have fun in London!” and “Be safe!” After reassuring my friends that I would be back soon, my parents and I headed to Huntington Beach. I was staying at Fae’s house until we flew out to Chicago in a few days. The goodbye with my parents ended in tears and lots of “I love you’s.”

I’ll be home in no time. But for now, let the adventures begin!