Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Since living in Germany, the Scientist and I have encountered many new situations. To deal with these new experiences, we have a little game we play called "What would a German do" or WWaGD?

We have had many conversations with our German colleagues and friends when we wish to deal with something like a local. We have also consulted WWaGD aka Toytown, an entire website devoted to this concept.

One of the most common things I bother ask my German friends about is medicine questions. Often, things that I would go to a Dr for in the US, a German might choose to go to the Apotheke or Pharmacist instead. (Besides, you always get free pocket tissue samples!)

Another example we encountered recently was hosting a dinner party for some friends. One is a vegetarian. What should our menu be?

a. Tofu stir-fry
b. One meat dish and one veggie dish
c. just let the veggie person eat side dishes

If you answered c, you might be German. :) Choice "a" is unacceptable because as we all know, even well traveled Germans wrinkle their nose at the thought of eating tofu.

Another incident happened this morning which required me to ponder WWaGD. The bakery in our apartment building has been playing loud music very early in the morning breaking noise regulations called Ruhezeit. I don't know about you but I don't particularly like being woken up at 5:00am and I definitely don't like dealing with cranky-preschooler-who-is-skipping-naps anyways.

Before I give you my options, let me take a side track to explain something my American readers won't understand. Ruhezeit or Quiet Time is from 13 until 15 in the afternoon and from 22 until 7 at night. They take Mittagsruhe (link only in German) very seriously here, even prohibiting vacuuming in your own apartment during this time. I have written about this before or rather wrote about it and THEN found out from a helpful commenter what this was.

When I asked around this morning to my German colleagues, it seems my options are:
  1. call my Hausmeister or Apartment Manager
  2. Call the police
  3. ***Confront the offenders and ask them to be quiet in the morning***
***I added option 3 just because these others seemed a little extreme to me.

I decided to be American about this and confront the bakery downstairs and warn them that next time they are loud, they will be reported!

And what happened??? They denied having any music on! Lesson learned. When in Rome, do as the Romans do...or Andere Länder, andere Sitten.

The Scientist, in the spirit of when in Rome, do as the Romans do,
eating Sülze or leftover meat in unflavored gelatin.

I hope to have other installments of WWaGD on the blog in the future. I think there is a LOT of fodder here!


lettershometoyou said...

I always got the impression Toytown was set up as a safe place for permanent whiners to vent their frustration at hating Germans and Germany but not having the guts to shut up and leave.

Amber Liddle said...

I thought of this post today when we got a wedding invite. The reply card said "please indicate # of people in your party that are vegan." Definitely not Germans :)

Yelli said...

Well, that too Ian. ALthough if you wade through the crap, you can find some very useful info there!

@Amber - we once went to a resturant with a vegan friend here. He ordered pasta vegan style with no cheese. It came LOADED on the top with parm. The waiter seemed confused when we told him that parm is still cheese!

lettershometoyou said...

You're right, Yelli. At one point I realised I knew where the good stuff was if I ever needed to go back to it, so that's what I do: use it as a Germanywiki in English. The forum I only drop into occasionally.