A German in England | 10 weird things

I’m taking a short break from my travel diary posts, because we’re now officially living in the U.K. for about two months. So it’s time for a first short recap. I assembled a list of 10 weird things, 5 positive and 5 not so positive. Most of them are about food. It’s an important part of my life apparently, haha.

Here’s my five “Yes, please” points:

1. Groceries home delivery/Opening hours

I don’t understand why this is still not a thing in Germany. We love everything that is organised and can be planned weeks ahead. So why do we not get our groceries delivered?

It’s great, seriously. I usually order during the weekend and get a delivery slot Tuesday or Wednesday night (it’s just £1 extra). Why would I bother to carry loads of things myself (on my bike) if it’s just £1? Also I don’t buy a lot of unnecessary stuff. If it’s not on the list, it’s not in the shopping basket.

Oh and if I forgot something, I can get it even on a Sunday.

2. Free tap water everywhere

Something that exists in nearly every country, except Germany. If you don’t wish to drink anything else than plain water, you get free tap water. Most places even serve it without you asking for it. I wonder if German restaurants would really loose money if they’d serve free tap water.

On a different note, keep asking for it! I sometimes ordered a glass of tap water in Germany with my beer or coffee, but I think a big factor there was the fact that I got it together with a paid drink. I believe that if enough people keep asking, it might one day become a habit in Germany as well.

3. Yay, Kale!

Kale has apparently become a very trendy vegetable. However, you don’t find it in German supermarkets. So I’m happy that here I can finally try all the kale recipes in my favourite cookbook, which is this one by the way:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Part-Time-Vegetarian-Flexible-Recipes-Meat-Free/dp/1848992653

4. Being polite

Maybe that’s something that especially strikes you when you lived in Berlin for most of your life, but a little politeness never hurt nobody. I think it’s a very nice habit to greet the bus driver when entering the bus and saying “Thank you/Cheers” when leaving. Smiling at people is also something that can lead to interesting reactions in Berlin, but will just result in a friendly smile back over here.

5. Permanent contracts

Coming from Germany it was very surprising to me that both Francisco and I got offered permanent working contracts with the companies we’re working for. That is something that German companies should definitely come back to. I know labour law is different in the two countries, but if a German company seriously wants to get rid of an employee, they can no matter the contract status. So why keeping everyone in an unstable position? There is also much more permanent positions in academia in England. And guess what, it’s not making people lazy (most ridiculous argument I kept hearing from Professors in Germany).

And my five “Not so much” points:

6. Kohlrabi?

I’m missing this vegetable:

GreenKohlrabi.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kohlrabi

It’s not my favourite one, but apparently it’s something every German child gets to eat a lot. So maybe it’s the German kale. By moving here I just exchanged one by the other.

7. Separated hot and cold taps

I get that for historical reasons, hot and cold water taps are separated in England. But we live in the 21st century, all other countries managed to move forward, and I just want to be able to take a shower and not burn myself by accident. Get over it!

8. No plugs in the bathroom

Staying with the bathroom. Why is there no plugs in English bathrooms? Where do you put your electric toothbrushes (not that I have one, but wondering)? I have to go to the bedroom to blow dry my hair. That’s weird.

9. Drinking Australian beer

British people love pubs. In my company, people count how many different pubs they visited since the beginning of the year (some visited over 70 different pubs already, my count is 4). And there’s a lot of nice IPAs and stouts from all these local brands. But when it comes to pilsner, people drink Fosters. It surprised me a lot that there is no English “standard pilsner” and the most common one comes from the other end of the world.

10. The tea issue

English breakfast tea everywhere. And tea drinking is a big part of the daily culture here. But what surprised me is how little variety in tea is found in England. There is only black tea, green tea, and mint tea for the evening. So whoever comes to visit me from Germany, bring a selection of herbal and fruit teas with you. They don’t take up much space in your luggage and are a great gift 😉

Let’s see what I come up with after living here for a bit longer, and please don’t take this list too serious. So far the U.K. has been very good to us, even with Brexit on the horizon. And we’re happy that we made the move.

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