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Observations (Pt. 1)
« Fan MailGetting my Germany On »

Observations (Pt. 1)

06/02/10 | by Comp615 [mail] | Categories: Welcome, The Life

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Germans have a habit of closing doors and leaving them closed. For instance, in an office building in America. A worker would generally leave his door open if he were available, and close it when on a phone call, away, or in a meeting. This extents to other areas as well, I repeatedly found bathroom doors closed in peoples houses, and other private environments. Maybe it's just me, but I always find it more clear in America. If the door is open, you can go in, otherwise you can't. (Well I guess you can knock anyways). But in the case of the office, you generally wouldn't.

I think this is points to Americans avoidance of conflict. IN much the same manner, an American coverstaion might go something along the lines of:

A: "Man my computer keeps making this weird noise."
B: "I could look at it for you"
A: "When? Now?"
B: "Let's shoot for sometime next week" (And it actually gets looked at in a month)

Germans would probably not offer to help because they were either busy or not technically able to (At least that's what I'm told). I'm not advocating either approach, just stating differences. Even on the street, Germans seem to be more willing to bump past people. A lot of customs in America are centered around avoiding conflict. Even we we aren't qualified to help someone, we'll probably say we'd like to anyways, just to be helpful.

The Department of State is even less helpful in Germany than in America. Not only is there a huge line, but they close at 12...noon. Meaning they are open a total of about 4 hours on a given day. Gah!

Final thought: I've discovered that the word "Not" means emergency. Which if you didn't know German could lead to problems. For instance, when I saw "Notbremsen" meaning Emergency Brakes, I couldn't help but think: Oh, it's just telling you these aren't the brakes...look someone else. Perhaps even more problematic would be the "Notausgang" meaning Not-an-exit or Emergency exit depending on how you look at it :-P

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A collection of musings from my time at Yale along with some thoughts about my "Freshman year of life" in San Francisco.

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