May 17, 2016

5 French Habits We've Carried to Germany

When you visit another country or cultural area, it's easy to pick up on the differences. But when you live in another country, the differences can end up picking you up into their club!

We knew we had adapted several French idiosyncrasies, but they have only become more evident since moving to Germany. Now that I've been back in Paris for two weeks, our French habits are even more obvious!

1. Bonjour, Merci, Au Revoir

I don't even know for sure if this is not a German thing, but I literally cannot walk into or out of a store without all these salutations. I do it when I visit the USA now, too, and I'm sure people just chalk it up to me being a supremely friendly person.

2. Wine vs. Beer

We. Just. Can't. We fell in love with the sophistication of French wine, but there is nothing sophisticated about pounding back a liter of beer. Sorry. We both don't like the taste, I can't stand anything carbonated, and we know it's just useless carbs when we would prefer to be drinking anything else. When our German friends can't accept that we don't drink beer, we respond, "But that means there's more for you!" And everyone can live with that!

3. Pastry Expectations

I've been moaning about this all year. I returned to Paris and completely confirmed that I wasn't just glorifying the good old days of French bakery delights. This struggle is SO real. It's best explained like this: at a French bakery, 95% of your options are going to taste amazing - even if it's a flavor you may not be particularly fond of (for me: pistachio, almond, raspberry). At a German bakery, 95% of your options look good, but genuinely only 10% actually taste decent. I doubt many Germans or expats living in Germany will agree with me. Unfortunately, that simply means they've never lived in France.

4. Style

There are a thousand different ways I could take this paragraph, but I'm only going to mention two. First, my "au natural" look of no make-up and lazy undone long hair blends much better into the Parisian scene than into the Bavarian one. Second, German men do not wear scarves, but Marc still does...and probably always will. We have a weird style mélange of Californian sporty and Parisian date night. This might be why we seem to fit best in Spain.

5. Vacation

When we first moved to France, we had no idea we would have so many days off. We got four two-week vacations with the school holidays, plus three months of summer! Talk about only working part-time! Our sports jobs in Germany aren't very different, except time off from school doesn't actually mean time away from sports for normal people. We will always value our vacation time dearly as the French do, but we can take it down a few notches for the sake of keeping our German bosses happy.

It makes me wonder what German habits we will end up with in the long run. The pretzels are awesome, there is more general respect for authority, and we have incredible pizza and gelato within ten minutes of where we live. While we may miss a lot of things about France, our German life is a ridiculously happy one in another wonderful part of the world.

What habits have you picked up from places you have lived? Do you have any French or German mindsets?