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How many years have you been living in Germany, Rob?

I’ve been living in German speaking areas for about seven years. Just over seven years. Erm..I spent…erm..about four years living in Germany the first time, or Giessen rather, and…near Cologne. And then we moved down to Basel for a couple of years, and now I live back up not far from Cologne again.

How does life in Germany compare with life in the UK?

It’s more orderly. It’s more organised. Streets are cleaner. Erm…the bureaucracy is a system that…’s one people laugh about a lot; Germany bureaucracy and paperwork and organisation…but the system does work.

So you can get things done. If you have go to the local government to get some papers, you can do it quite easily.

, yeah. To register in a new area is something that takes a half an hour. It’s very simple, very easy. You take along the papers you need, they get stamped and you walk back out again. It’s easy.

Sounds fantastic! Erm..what about the weather, the food?

Heh… depends on the area of Germany. The area I keep landing in is grey, relatively cold. It never gets really cold in winter, it never gets really hot in summer.’s quite like England, actually. But..erm..but southern Germany really’s beautiful and they have good heavy winters…lots of snow, 35 degrees in summer…

Lot’s of skiing presumably..

They have..yeah.. lots of skiing in Schwarzwald….yeah, it’s…er..there’s a big variety across Germany.

How’s the food?

Heh..heh..heavy! Heh…the food is very heavy..erm..lots of pork, lots of cream sauces..on..on foods..erm…lots of… Bratkartoffeln …these fried potatoes, very fatty. Erm… sauerkraut..this pickled cabbage that’s’s terrible..

Heh..heh… haven’t acquired the taste for it?

No, and I don’t intent to.

How would you describe German relation to the Spanish and the Italians...Mediterranean people. How would they compare?

More reserved. It takes a long time to get to know..erm..German people in comparison, I would say, peoples. They’re very direct. If you ask a..a direct question, however personal, you might be told ‘that’s none of your business’, or you might be given a fairly complete answer. They won’t go…they won’t talk around the subject. They’ll tell you what they think.

So, quite direct.

Very direct. Erm..and that can be…as a Brit moving to Germany that can be quite unnerving to start with.

But you obviously feel comfortable with that.

I like it because you know exactly where you stand. And..there’s..there’s no bullshit, you get exactly what..what the person thinks.

Is it easy to get get to know…to meet people if you go out socially. Are they approachable and friendly and open?

It depends. You move into a new village, then it will take a good six months or so before people start to speak to you. They want to assess, they want to come to their own decision about you first. Erm..once they decide that actually you're not too bad, erm..then.. once..once they decide they like you then they mean it..erm…and then you’re really there.




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