Being a German in England

Having lived in England for about five years now, I've basically become British, but when I first came to this rainy country there were quite a few things that annoyed/confused me. Some of these are just stupid little things that I simply wasn't used to and some are slightly bigger, but I thought it would be fun to write a post about them.

1. Holding open doors at school. I don't know if this was a private school thing, but if you saw a teacher/prefect/anyone higher in the door opening hierarchy across the quad, you had to stay and hold open the door for them. Even if it meant awkwardly standing in said door for a minute. In contrast, at my school in Germany the teachers had to physically push through the students in the morning to get to the door.

2. Efficiency. You don't really appreciate German efficiency properly until you've lived somewhere else for a while. 

3. Informality. This was actually weird at first because when I was at boarding school our interactions with the teachers were very formal and we'd call them 'Sir' or 'Miss', which I wasn't used to. However once I left college and went to uni and started working, I realised that British people are actually a lot more informal than Germans. I would never say 'hey guys, you alright?' to people I don't know in Germany, yet it seems quite common here to do it in shops, etc. British people also use first names a lot more, whereas in Germany you usually wait until the person says 'by the way you can call me by my first name', which is quite a milestone in your relationship.

4. Drinking. It's funny because Germans seem to have that beer drinking reputation, but Germans actually don't drink that much compared to British people. We definitely don't have the same kind of drinking culture where your local pub is basically your home.

5. Letter boxes. You just don't appear to have them! It baffles me that most houses here just have a hole in the door and the letters just get put through and you find them when you open your front door. In Germany you usually have a letter box that has your name on it and if you go on holiday for two weeks, you probably need to give the key for it to your neighbour so they can take the post out because otherwise it'll overflow.

6. Door handles and toilet seats. They're so much lower in England! I don't know if this is because British people are on average a bit shorter than Germans (or at least I think they are) but every time I come back to Germany now I reach far too low when looking for the door handle and it's very confusing.

7. Bathroom light switches and plug sockets. I remember the horror when I first went into someone's bathroom and couldn't find the light switch- little did I know it was the random piece of string hanging from the ceiling! British people seem to be very scared of being electrocuted in the bathroom because there are no plug sockets to be seen either so you have to dry your hair somewhere else.

8. Driving. It terrifies me a little to think how little you have to do to get a driver's license in England. In Germany you have to do four hours of lessons on the motorway, four hours at night, eight hours on country roads, ten hours of theory lessons, a first aid course and countless more lessons. The thing that baffles me the most is that in England you aren't allowed to go on the motorway until you've passed your test, which makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever and I have friends who are just terrified of motorways because they never learned how to drive on them- I guess that shows how much more Germans love cars and driving!

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