“A person needs at intervals to separate himself from family and companions and go to new places. He must go without his familiars in order to be open to influences, to change.” –Katharine Butler Hathway
I’m sitting here eating a bowl of rice. Nothing fancy, but I figured it would work for my third dinner in Germany, and it gave me a chance to experiment with my little stove, because yes, it’s slightly different from those in America. In order for me to turn the burner on, I have to turn on a 15-minute timer first. As soon as the timer runs out, the burner turns off. I guess this prevents people from accidentally burning down the apartment building.
It’s Thursday and nearing the end of my third day in Munich. And I like it here. Like the stove example, there are several little differences about living in a big German city rather than a (much) smaller American one, but that’s part of what I really like about this experience. So after three days, here are three observations:
- WiFi: It’s everywhere in America and nowhere in Germany. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but there is only Ethernet in the StudentenStadt (where we live) and WiFi in some coffee shops (not in almost every big store or public area like in America). The Junior Year in Munich (JYM) office does have it, which was my primary place of connecting with my family for a few days until I bought a router and set it up in my room. That was more confusing than you would think, since each of us has an IP address, router numbers, and DNS numbers that we have to use. Don’t ask me what those actually mean, because I don’t really know. At any rate, it’s nice to have Internet in my room now. I can connect to the outside world!
- Stores: Absolutely no Wal-Mart. Germany has grocery stores such as Aldi and Rewe that are super, super cheap. I found cheap pots and pans and utensils from WoolWorth and shampoo and conditioner from Deutsche Mark. So lots of different stores. Sales tax is already added into the price, and I had to buy my own bags and bag my own groceries. Germans also generally pay with cash; some stores won’t take cards at all.
- Food: So. Much. Bread. Everywhere. Instead of a lot of chain restaurants like in the U.S., there are many adorable little bakeries. Many places offer big sandwiches for between 3 and 4 euros (so around 3.5 – 4.5 dollars). Germans like big breakfasts, and their breakfast style (bread, meat, cheese, honey, or jam) definitely agrees with me.
It’s also been really fun getting to know the other people in the program and speaking a mixture of English and German with them. Tomorrow we take a placement test, and eventually we will sign up for classes that start in about two weeks.