Things That I am Desperately Starting To Miss About the USofA

This is sort of the counter-list to my previous post (see “Things That Are Awesome in Germany). Now that I’ve been here a full month (plus more), I feel myself starting to miss a few things that I used to take for granted in the country of red, white, and blue. 

  1. Americanized mexican food. Burritos from Chipotle, stuffed with beans and meat and pico de gallo, wrapped so when you peel away that aluminum a perfect first bite is revealed, that first bite of rice and steam and tortilla stuck to the roof of your mouth. And so much guac. I really don’t care how much extra it will cost me. I’m getting 3x the guac when I eat my first burrito after my homecoming. 
  2. Free water. Water costs more than beer here. Not that I don’t love me some great beer, but seriously, sometimes I just want water. Preferably with ice.
  3. Pumpkin spice lattes. As the first week of September flies by and the weather is getting chillier, I want nothing more than a pumpkin spice latte to warm me up as I walk down the cobblestone streets in a fashionable scarf. I don’t even like Starbucks that much. But there’s something about this seasonal drink that marks autumn for me, and it’s sad that in Rostock, there are no Starbucks to buy one.
  4. Cheez-its. Goldfish.
  5. Giant jars of peanut butter. Nutella is great, don’t get me wrong. But there is just something about a good old fashioned PB&J. Peanut butter is available at the bigger grocery stores here, but it only comes in tiny jars with the brand name “Barney’s Best” and an American flag label. And I could go through that thing in like, a day. 
  6. Public bathrooms I don’t have to pay for. Whenever I leave the house, I have to be extra certain my bladder is empty so as not to spend that 50 cents for use of a public bathroom. You even have to pay just to wash your hands. Too bad if they’re sticky. Bring baby wipes! 

Of course, first and foremost I miss my family and friends. I love you guys, and will be looking forward to eating some burritos and giant jars of peanut butter together while watching some crappy American reality television in 2013.

Things That Are Awesome in Germany (and can’t be found in the USofA)

  1. Dogs are allowed everywhere. Like the mall. What?
  2. People aren’t deterred by penis shaped foods. In America, people would giggle like 3 year olds if they bought a wurst twice the side of the roll it came in, sticking out the ends. Here, the 3 year olds eat it happily with no giggly thoughts. As it should be, because they are delicious.
  3. The bread. OH THE BREAD.
  4. The cheese. OH THE CHEESE.
  5. The meat. OH THE…yea, you get it. 
  6. Going back to bread, Germans don’t worry about carbs. And it’s freaking awesome. One of my favorite things is Abendbrot - dinner which involves a basket of fresh bread, a spread of various cheeses and meats, some mozz, tomatoes, and basil, and Nutella. And you can eat all the bread you want and no one will judge you! But no one here is fat because…
  7. They ride bikes everywhere! It’s not to the extent that I saw in Amsterdam, but people ride bikes to work, to buy food, to walk their dogs, etc. And it’s super safe because of the nice lanes cut out just for the happy bike rider. 
  8. Playgrounds here so best the playgrounds in the US. I think the safety rules in America have gotten a little out of hand, almost inhibiting the potential fun to be had for kids on playgrounds. Here, kids are allowed to run free and play in the sand! And jump on really awesome trampolines, run up and down on stairs made out of tires, climb through a graffiti covered playhouse, and pretend to fly a giant wooden dragon.
  9. No open container laws. What’s better than walking down a busy road drinking a beer openly, no shame? Or pregaming while walking to the club, or drinking at noon in the middle of a park…
  10. Döners. See below post, and be jealous.
  11. Beer. I mean, please. 

I am sure I will come up with more awesome things that Germany has to offer as time goes by. So more later, but that’s all for now!

This, is a Döner. At 3 Euros and deliciously filling, it’s what you would call “magic”. 

This, is a Döner. At 3 Euros and deliciously filling, it’s what you would call “magic”. 

Down and Dirty

Before all of you perverts out there that think this post is going to be about something sexual, just exit now. Because it’s mostly going to be about poop. And spiders.

One important thing that I am learning as an au pair, is that when taking care of kids, you can’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. What may have been deemed disgusting, is no longer allowed to be. Because you will be picking up dog poop, wiping kids butts, cleaning up peed in pants, squashing spiders, and basically doing all the dirty work that your parents used to do for you. Afraid of blood? Then this job is not for you. Dealing with scraped knees and bloody splinters should be part of the job description. Au pairs cannot be squeamish. 

I used to be afraid of spiders and wasps. No longer. The other day I killed a wasp with my bare hands and I have a friendly spider who has taken up residence in a corner of my bathroom. And the smell of poop? Puh-lease. In fact, it’s just a warning that danger is a coming, or the boys that you are taking care of have farted (in German, to fart = pupsen), but hopefully not at the dinner table. 

Ah, I am a woman of steel.

I have definitely learned to grow a backbone this past few weeks. I have built up strength from lifting up children and pulling the big dog away from other big dogs. Of course, it also helps to have 5 eyes and 4 pairs of hands, but I’m afraid that most people can’t pull off that look. :)

Finally…a post!

Wow. I have been terrible at posting on this blog! Meant to start writing on my long layover in Düsseldorf (pause a moment to laugh here, I know you want to), but then became so overwhelmingly taken over by my new life here, that I completely forgot. I can’t even begin to explain everything in one post, but I will try to begin…

First and foremost, I would like to give a shoutout to the inventors of Skype. Without it, I never would have found this incredible family that I am au pairing for. It is no excuse for meeting in person, but otherwise it would have been impossible for me to get a good vibe from this family. I probably would have ended up with a crazy family with no rules, or one with so many rules it would be boring. But here I am, completely lucked out, staying in a beautiful apartment in the basement of their home with three unruly but adorable boys, two amazing parents who treat me like a part of the family, and of course the slightly dumb but incredibly sweet golden retriever, Amiga. 

The city is not too shabby either. Rostock, Germany. 200,000 people. Not as big as Berlin, but the perfect cross between city and suburb. I live 10 minutes away from downtown, with it’s cobblestone streets and long history. A little farther are the docks on the Warnow river, leading out to Baltic Sea. A five minute walk in the other direction is the Hauptbahnhof where I can catch a train to the beach, or to Hamburg, Berlin, or Poland. I have done quite a bit of exploring on foot and bike, and must say that I am already falling in love. 

This is my second day in my third full week here living in Rostock. Already I feel very well acclimated. My German has already improved immensely, since I speak it everyday with everybody, and especially since the little ones only speak German. It’s difficult, trying to balance friendship and authority figure with little kids who don’t speak my native language. But it a challenge that I fully accept. I had a bit a rough day babysitting them this past Saturday, but when they are cute, they are really freaking cute, and while we sit together watching Scooby Doo in German, I feel myself falling in love with them, too. And then I go do something like ride on their boat, or swim in the Baltic Sea, and I remember just how lucky I am. My life could have taken so many different directions post graduation, and I have no doubt that I made the right decision. It can be hard, living so far away from home where you know no one, but I’m learning how capable I am of doing things on my own. And as I feel more and more a part of the family, become more comfortable with the city, and slowly make friends, I understand that life is freaking good. 

This was more a reflective post than anything else. But stay tuned for pictures, stories, and more from an American girl in northern Germany who has no idea what she’s doing - until she does.