Many people think that the Germans are harsh and unfriendly. They think the Germans are trying to look cool by not talking much. This isn’t true at all, and I will tell you why, of course in the eyes of a foreigner like me. Having lived in Germany for a little bit more than 4 years has made me know about the country itself and the people better than anyone else, who has never been living in Germany or in contact continuously with the Germans themselves. In other words, they only depend on the media to get to know them.
Some people say that the Germans are not friendly to us when they know we do not speak German. I remember the first time I came here to begin my life with my husband, I always felt uneasy dealing with the local people. One of of the reasons was that because my German was still very limited, plus I had never tried to speak German continuously before I moved here, so I wasn’t used to it. I remember using only simple German when communicating with the local people. I was afraid if they ever sensed a wrong grammar in my spoken words, they would have stopped talking to me. Later, I realized that it was not because they were not nice, but because they simply did not understand what I was trying to say, and they got tired trying to understand me. I could’ve used English, but since the first time I came here, I have avoided as much as possible to ask them whether they speak English. Most people here do speak another language too, since children at schools are learning some foreign languages, like English, French, plus many of the people here are coming from outside Germany, like from Turkey, and have decided to stay here for good. What I mean to say is that, the Germans are in fact tolerant to differences. Germany is one of the countries in the world that is proud of their languages. So, unless you state that you don’t speak German because you are, say, only a tourist here, they would assume you understand German. I can understand if many local people whom you are dealing with are feeling at a total lost when you don’t speak German with them. This is Germany, and people speak German. However, do not worry! People here are still friendly even though you don’t speak German, or bad German. Regarding languages, people here have respect to those who can’t understand German. I, for example, need a switch to English when dealing with doctors to discuss something crucial about my health for example. But even so, I try not to use English all the time. It is because I live here, and I respect the people. My husband always soothes me every time I feel nervous when I need to deal with important institutions like dentists, for example. His only suggestion is : You can ask them whether they speak English. I shrug and end up making a research on German specific medical terms.
After my baby was born, I have brought her out every day to have some fresh air. In Germany, there is a saying ‘There is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothes.’ the saying means that you can’t really wear a sleeve-less shirt and short skirt when it’s freezing and snowy outside. You should wear your thick jacket, scarf, gloves, and all suitable garment for winter time, for example. So back to my baby, I used a stroller or we call it ‘Kinderwagen’ when I brought her outside.The random people I met often help me sometimes without being asked to when they noticed I had problems with my ‘kinderwagen’, for example getting on or out off the train. When the escalator broke down and there was no elevator, and only way was to take the stairs, people directly helped me with my kinderwagen. Those random people I meet are often smiling to me and my baby, and sometimes making a small talk ‘Oh wie süß’ (How sweet!), ‘Wie alt ist sie?’ (How old is she?) and things like that, and sometimes we end up discussing about kids. Then the short small talk often end up with ‘Alles Gute’ or ‘Schönen Tag noch’which mean like all the best to you, and have a nice day! Whoa isn’t that the friendliest greetings one ever gets from strangers? and you know what the amazing part is ? some of them say many good wishes for my baby like someday she will be a great person. There are many good things happening to me here in Germany, that indicates Germany and the people are full of good friendly people.
People here are also very helpful to anyone, regardless you are a mother with baby in the stroller or in your arm with a lot of groceries bags, or an elderly, or just a youngster. They will ask you ‘Kann ich etwas helfen?’ (Is there something I can help?). One time, I was on my ride home on the bus with my daughter, and was about to pay a bus ticket ( because I lost my monthly ticket) that cost 2,50 euro. I paid 10 euro, but the driver asked me whether I had a small coin of 10 cents.While I was searching for some small coins of 10, all of a sudden, a guy behind me offered his 10 cents for me while saying to the bus driver ‘Ich habe 10 cents’, (I have the 10 cents), the bus driver got confused and asked whether the coin was for me or him. I was surprised, and offered him the change I got. He said ‘Nein, ist gut, ist okay’. There are possibilities why he did this : 1. He just wanted to be quick and sit down, instead of waiting for me to find the coin. 2. He saw me with a toddler and he felt he wanted to help 3. He is a friendly guy. See? how can people still think the Germans are rude? I obviously can’t comprehend that.
This is it for the meantime!I almost lost counts of many good things happening here. So, do you still think the Germans are unfriendly and harsh? If you still think so, please stay and come here for some period of time! You will see, I am telling you the truth.