People have asked me how I’m settling in here, and the truth is—it’s been quite easy. For the first few months, living in Thailand was completely, unsettlingly foreign and almost everything felt like a struggle. But the German culture shock has been much less intense (though unlike in Thailand, adjusting to the weather is infinitely harder).
To be fair, I have a lot of help. A built-in network of friends made the city feel like home almost immediately; whenever I feel lonely, there’s someone to spend time with. These same friends have also helped with the overwhelming things. Arguing with Telekom about my internet services, negotiating the rental agreement, translating the endless stream of letters I get in the mail (more on that later).
But there are some things my friends can’t help me with. In fact, sometimes they don’t even see these struggles as “problems” at all. It’s normal to take three days for a bank transfer to go through! It’s normal to meticulously keep and file every piece of post received! It’s normal that no one takes credit cards, even for 800-euro IKEA runs! Things that drive me fucking crazy or completely confound me are things my German friends don’t even blink it.
So while German culture shock has been pretty minimal, that’s not to say it’s nonexistent. In the posts below, I share a few things that have given me pause: