Germany and the USA

Today is going to be mainly links. Spending time anyplace can go well or badly or a bit of both. It often depends on a variety of factors.

Like so many of you, for whatever reasons I had some online activity. Amongst it all, have been videos. Today I will share the links to a few of these. Thanks to all readers, but also to the folks out there who decided to try making the videos and sharing them with the rest of us. As it turns out, despite other efforts, the most watched video I have made is this one. In some ways the situation has not improved since then but in some respects it has. My life was not a constant flow of happy happy joy joy back in my native country either. Sometimes I get my way on what matters most to me and only some of the time do I get my way without guilt and without being punished for doing so.

Germany / USA Cross-cultural information December 2013

Coming at this from the American side, most of what I discover about the Germans they already know.  There are some other YouTube videos out there about this.  Some are simple video clip German lessons, often made by exchange students who used some of their free time ‘constructively’ and did things like make language education videos instead of just getting drunk in local bars or staying sober and playing loads of “fooz ball” in the student lounge.  I have watched some of them and found them helpful.

There are some bands that even Americans knew about.  In all my childhood I heard of course about Beethoven, Wagner, Bach, Mozart – all Germans, but of contemporary bands in the rock world:  Nina Hagen, the Scorpions and Einsturzende Neubaten are the only German bands I believe I ever heard of…and two singles that have any German in them at all:  Neuen und neuenzig lufballons, in one song, Alles klar Herr Kommissar / Der Kommisar’s in town – oh yeah, that’s English again.  Anyway, that was “it” for German bands in America in the 1980s and 1990s.  The last time I was there in 2010 and 2013 that hadn’t changed.  There is some polka rumored to have come from Southern Germany.

Up here in Northern Germany they aren’t running around in Lederhosen, and don’t have the giant horns for playing on the sides of mountains. 

The topography of Germany is very much like the American state of Indiana, where there are a lot of Americans with German great grandparents: there are hills and mountains in the South but up North it is flat, flat, flat and a bit windy.  Southern Germany is more mountainous than the South of Indiana and the North of Germany may be even flatter than North Indiana (we may need a level to judge it properly) but both have wind farming nowadays.  North Germany so far 2010 – 2013 seems warmer in the Winter than Indiana but breezier.  The wind is sometimes scary due to how strong it is, which is more encouragement to continue the wind farming. 

The people in Indianapolis, Indiana are pretty friendly and rather direct and straightforward – they say it actually is partly or entirely because so many of the Americans there have German ancestors and so even though they are Americans they act a little more like the Germans than some of the other Americans. 

Where I grew up in Syracuse NY, just South of Lake Ontario, there were a few people who had German great grandparents – mostly “Bavarians” or Southern Germans, but most Americans there have British – English or the Irish, or Italian great grandparents, but at least 50% have mixed, as Americans so a lot of those Americans – where I grew up are 3rd or 4th generation Americans with one English and one German set of great parents and then someone from “God knows where” – Sweden or a town in Denmark or Mexico or Peru or even Wales or the Netherlands. 

Out in Minnesota they say, there are so many Americans who’s great parents are from Norway and Sweden that out there, they still have people called Sven. 

Anyway, that’s America and North Germany “cross cultural points” for today.

Scattered thoughts about real life: cross cultural November 2013

At the moment, I’m in the USA after 3 entire years in Germany, actually a little more.  At this point, I expect to go back to Germany at the beginning of December. 

The time in Germany is the longest that I ever been out of the USA at one go.  I had not actually intended for that to be the case.  I had intended for both my son and I to spend weeks of each of the years that we lived over there, over here – keeping in touch with it.  Sometimes plans don’t work out, but sometimes they do. 

It is nice to have relief from what has been hardest for me over there that first 3years.  I feel like I haven’t figured out ‘how to work Germany’.  By that I mean: it is clear that it is a place that can be wondrous and is loaded with great potential.  Nowadays, it is also a popular nation, internationally.  Nevertheless, in some aspects I had a very hard time there, whereas other aspects were pretty good.

Obviously, I hope to be able to make it work better in all aspects over there when I go back.  I do plan to move me and my kid back here, but not until my son finishes secondary school.  As a heads up, they have Grade 13 over there, like the Canadians, which I had somehow not found out despite having had a German partner in my home for 9 years (in that case, I mean my kid’s father). 

Blah blah blah, stuff that’s different / stuff that’s the same.

General cultural statement about the Germans:  They probably did tell you, in very clear German, which is why you still don’t know even though they told you.