It already begins with the morning greetings: should I say Guten Morgen (in Hannover), Moin Moin (in Hamburg) or Grüss Gott (in Bayern)? And, of course, foreigners in Germany flood me with questions as they just cannot make sense of us.
Then, on the way to work, other rules can be observed, which simply cause despair and raise a question: why are only dark-colored Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Porsche allowed to drive on the left lane of the highway? And caution is required as cars will not be used, they will be worshiped, so don’t even think about leaning against one and NEVER touch it! And it goes without saying that there is no such thing as instinctive parking.
And all this despite the length of the traffic news report, which only mentions traffic jams of more than 5 km, and are much longer than normal news.
Once at work, you wonder then why Germans drink the weak but undrinkable filter coffee in the office only during work hours. There will be no mercy: no lunch but just a quick, unappetizing sandwich as one has to be disciplined and finish the daily 10-point work plan. There is no room for small amenities. In addition, there are rules and unwritten laws for literally everything. Why else would you always have to introduce yourself by name on the phone, despite the fact that you don’t even know each other? Or address work colleagues formally and remain stiff and distanced with one another in order not to seem unprofessional. They are all so horribly disciplined!
And it just gets more and more complicated because as a foreign investor, you find out how hard it is to find employees, not to mention specialists. So why exactly has German Chancellor Mrs Merkel allowed so many specialists to retire early when they are clearly lacking in the economy? And why so much talk about high unemployment when employees are missing everywhere? Questions and questions, which seem to point out that we Germans make life more complicated for ourselves!
Yet, every work day eventually ends and you look forward to the free evening until you realize that you need a calendar even for your friends! Once this obstacle is overcome, in South Germany, you make your way to the Biergarten, but there too, dangers exist. The folding benches can bounce right up like a rocker when someone at the other end suddenly stands up. How do the Germans navigate all this? But again, the next cultural shock is already around the corner: while the rest of the world spends a fortune to remove legs and arm pits hair, we German seem to actually fertilize these body parts. Why is that?
Finally, as you walk back home and cross the street on a red light in absence of any traffic, you will get lectured or even scolded by other passers-by. And yes, local buses and trains do run punctually but by the time you have figured out the system, you have already missed three metro trains.
In case I have (just) slightly exaggerated, do take it with humor to avoid the ridicule of taking things too seriously!