How to Germanise Yourself

Germanise - HausschuheStep 1: Put on your Hausschuhe (house shoes/ slippers)

Purchase a pair of Hausschuhe and wear them around your house. When you go to bed, they should be placed next to your bed, where you can slip them on first thing in the morning, and when you leave the house they should be placed next to the front door so you can change into them as soon as you get back home.

Step 2: Respect the Ampelmann (traffic lights)Germanise - Ampelmann

Regardless of whether it is the middle of the day and the streets are full of people and cars, or whether it is 2am and there is no car in sight, you must not cross the road until you are given the green light, otherwise the guardians of the traffic lights will come and get you (well, not really, but it is highly frowned upon and people will give you filthy looks if you do jay walk!).

Germanise - VersicherungStep 3: Get versichert (insured)

Are you alive? Get health insurance. Have a house? Insure it. Buy a new car? Insure it…. This all seems pretty standard, but do you have your explosion insurance? Volcano insurance? Have you insured your bike? What about your favourite chair? Make sure you spend a large amount of your income after tax on insurance. Whatever you have, insure it, just to be safe!

Step 4: Love and respect the Natur (nature)Germanise - Natur

Nature is important in so many ways and Germans have definitely accepted and embraced this. Make sure you go hiking as often as possible – it’s not only good for your health, but also good for your soul. In fact, whenever you have time, don’t waste it watching Netflix or playing video games, instead, go outside. In addition to this, make sure you only buy Bio products (organic), ensure that you never litter. Ever. No really, never ever litter. Which brings us to our next step…

Germanise - RecycleStep 5: Recycle, recycle, recycle.

In Germany the waste disposal system is a little more complex than one bin for recycling and one bin for general waste (and a compost heap in the backyard, if you’re lucky). There’s a paper bin, yellow bin (for recycling empty tins and plastic packaging), brown bin (for organic waste) and black bin (for any residual waste). Batteries must be collected and disposed of separately and recycling bins for glass can be found in every village and city (of course the glass must be further separated into brown glass, green glass and white/ clear glass). Ensure that you recycle everything properly – if you move into a new house your neighbours will most likely check out your trash cans to make sure that you recycle accordingly before they decide whether to welcome you or not (ok… we may have made this last bit up, but you get the point – we love our recycling!).

Step 6: Pfand!Germanise - Pfand

Pfand is a fantastic thing! You generally pay a few cents more per plastic or glass bottle when you go shopping, you then collect these bottles in a reusable bag and once the bag is full you return them to the store. When you return them you have the choice of receiving the Pfand back as a store voucher (i.e. you save that amount on your next grocery shop) or you can choose to donate it to charity.

Step 7: Get to the Punkt (point)

Germans are not big on small talk. If you go to the grocery store the cashiers will be friendly and greet you, but don’t expect them to ask how you are, that’s private and even if they did ask, you’d probably just reply ‘fine’ anyway. If you need a favour from a colleague just ask them. Don’t spend 10 minutes asking them about the weather. Be polite, but if you need help or have a question, just come right out and ask.

Step 8: Make it a SchorleGermanise - Schorle

Germans love everything carbonated. Why drink plain tap water when you can drink sparkling mineral water? Why drink apple juice, when you can drink an Apfelschorle (apple juice and carbonated water)? Why drink flavoured flat water, when you can make it a flavoured Schorle? If you’re not into carbonated drinks you may have a problem…. (just kidding, there are plenty of non-sparkling options!).

Germanise - BroetchenStep 9: Get your Brötchen

Why sleep in on Sunday morning when you could get to the bakery super early and make sure that you get your favourite bread rolls? Even if you want to sleep in, many bakeries are open until midday or later on Sundays (remember that all other shops are closed on a Sunday – i.e. do your grocery shopping on Saturday!). If there is one thing Germans love more than their Schorle, it’s their Brot and Brötchen and with thousands of types of breads and bread rolls in the country there is something for everyone!

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