Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thoughts on the German Ways

We have been in Deutschland almost 3 weeks, and are getting used to a number of things, including eating lots of sausage and ground beef. We are accustomed to hearing German all day, and to crazy German football announcers every night. We are even getting used to the honking cars after the game each night.

But what I think is most interesting are the unspoken manner of which people of different countries conduct themselves. In the UK, at least where we lived, it was all pretty in-your-face. You might walk down the street and have a very personal conversation with an old lady, then be hollered at by some teens outside a convenience store. Not to mention the predilection for drunken tom-foolery.

But Germany is entirely different. The people are quieter, though I have gotten occasional remarks in the elevator or in the grocery que. People prize their dignity. In church on Sunday the pastor was talking about our humanity and human rights and he talked about the right of each person to have dignity. Its interesting how cultures define rights so differently. In the US its "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Which doesn't necessarily lend itself to dignity, especially when they're pursuing that happiness on reality TV. Basically, get a bunch of Americans together and sooner or later we'll all start acting like idiots. And no offense to my English friends, but when drinking they seem to chuck away dignity with both hands.

Our French friend Ludo who stayed with us last week introduced us to his Bavarian friend, Flo. We had some good laughs with Flo, but it was mostly us being silly. He was very friendly, but I do get the feeling that we are still at arms-length. The Germans we have encountered in bars don't even act that goofy, minus the ever-present drinking songs. Maybe it is their way to be more introverted. I'll be investigating...

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