Category: Day-to-day life

heat German home

NINE EASY STEPS TO SAVE MONEY WHEN HEATING YOUR GERMAN HOME

Winter is coming. I’ve never watched a single episode of Star Wars, but I’ve been seeing the quote bob around the internet, so I thought I’d join the cool cats and kittens and use it anyway. Kidding! Obviously, I know it’s from Frozen. Or was it Ice Age? Oh well, just let it go, because no matter who said it first, winter IS coming, although it has never really left Germany this year in the first place. Just like those new neighbors who seemed pleasant at first, so you invited them over for dinner, and realized that they’re actually slightly...

sunday

HERE’S WHAT’S OPEN AND CLOSED ON SUNDAYS IN GERMANY

“Let’s get a new *insertitemthatjustbroke* tomorrow.” – “No.” “Why not?” – “Think about it.” This is probably the most frequent conversation I’ve had with my husband on Saturdays over the past seven years while living in Germany. If you’re not in the country yet, I hate to break it to you, but German stores are closed on Sundays. To make your weekly shopping trip even more convenient, they also don’t stay open late at night during the week. Granted, this mainly applies to southern Germany – rules are a little less strict in the north, but still, be prepared for...

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GERMAN TAP WATER IS STELLAR! FIND OUT WHAT ELSE YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT IT!

Every once in a while, I see some articles floating around – mainly on Buzzfeed and the like – claiming that Germans don’t drink tap water because it’s viewed as “toilet water”. This couldn’t be farther from the truth! We love our tap water, we boast about its excellent quality, and a boatload of people, including me, don’t even drink anything else! Except for beer – obviously. I mean, we’re still in Germany, after all. But there’s more to German toilet wa… uhm – tap water, than just its good quality. Read on to learn about water hardness, and what...

German emergency numbers

GERMAN PHONE NUMBERS YOU SHOULD KNOW IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY

One of the most important things to know for any country you visit or move to is how to say “Can I use your restrooms?” in the native language – closely followed by emergency phone numbers. So, without further ado: here’s a list of the most important German phone numbers you should know. Learn them by heart, put them in your phone, download and print the list on the bottom and stick it to your fridge. Nevertheless, avoid having to use these numbers in the first place. One way is to stay safe around yellowjackets, which can be a problem...

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DO THIS DAILY TO AVOID GROWING MOLD IN YOUR GERMAN HOME

Did you know that the total amount of different types of mold in the world is estimated to exceed 200,000? Read on to discover the unexpected beauty that lies in each and every single one of them. Just kidding, don’t worry. Due to the way our houses are built, accidentally cultivating mold is an ever-looming threat in Germany. So, let me walk you through some simple steps you can take to prevent that. WHY ARE GERMAN HOMES PRONE TO MOLD? If you’ve read my article on How To Keep Your German House Cool During Summer, you know that the vast...

German recycling

THE GERMAN RECYCLING SYSTEM EXPLAINED – SEPARATE YOUR TRASH LIKE A NATIVE

What do the deadly sins, my trash cans, and Snow White’s dwarfs have in common? Hint: it’s not their reeky odor. It’s their total. Yes, I do indeed have seven bins set up in my home. They’re for paper, yellow bag/recycling, bio, Restmüll, Pfand, batteries, and cans – the latter being redundant as I found out two hours into researching this article. But oh well… more on that later. I have received quite a few calls for help and I know sussing out the German recycling system is more labyrinthine than doing your taxes by yourself in a foreign language...

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YOUR ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE GERMAN PFAND BOTTLE SYSTEM

Wanna know the secret behind how Germans can tell which bottles are returnable for Pfand and which ones aren’t? They haul the entire mound of empties they have accumulated in their house over the past six months to Kaufland at ten am on a Saturday, wait in line for 37 minutes, and then jostle them into the machine, one by one, hoping for the best. Whichever one gets burped back up is not a Pfand bottle – or at least can’t be returned at that specific store. Is there a better way to tell which ones are returnable? Sure. But...

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EIGHT ESSENTIAL TRICKS TO MASTER ANY GROCERY CHECKOUT PROCESS IN GERMANY LIKE A NATIVE

When I was checking out at a US grocery store for the first time, I snatched everything from underneath the bagger’s nose and hurled it back into my cart as if my life depended on it. I like to think the looks I was getting were due to people being in awe of my nimbleness. Grasping on to that belief helps me overcome the delayed feeling of utter humiliation, I suffered about a day later when I realized my mistake. I hope your first grocery haul in Germany was less cringey – however, don’t fret if it wasn’t: I’ve got...

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SIX GREETINGS THAT ARE ESSENTIAL TO KNOW IF YOU’RE LIVING IN GERMANY

What’s worse than bearing false witness against your neighbor? Not greeting your neighbor. At least in Germany. It’s part of our unwritten additional seven deadly sins, along with mowing your lawn during quiet hours and jaywalking. So be pious and greet as if your life depended on it – several times a day, if need be.   Read on to learn the six greetings that are essential to know, so you can master any situation – formal or informal – like a true native. RISE AND SHINE – GUTEN MORGEN Just like its English equivalent, it can be used in...

Facts about the German Autobahn featured image

SIX FACTS YOU WISH YOU HAD KNOWN BEFORE BRAVING THE GERMAN AUTOBAHN FOR THE FIRST TIME

“Wow, you live in Germany? Have you ever driven on the Autobahn?” Sound familiar? Many foreigners seem to view that place as some magical, elusive, amusement-park-type venue that people go to, so they can put the pedal to the metal for an hour and idle away some time. If you thought so too, I’m sorry for the disenchantment but it’s just a regular motorway and, rather than to race, most people simply use it to irritatedly twiddle their thumbs while stewing in traffic for hours each day until they clock in late. About 70% of the German Autobahn doesn’t have...