Today I treated myself to some frozen yogurt. It was delicious! A little expensive, but delicious nonetheless. I was somewhat surprised at how many people were there eating frozen yogurt because it’s really starting to get cold here in Berlin. Most nights it gets just a few degrees (Celsius) above freezing. Today was not so bad, though.
I wanted to share some more observations I’m made about Berliners. I love comparing cultures because it’s just so interesting!
1) Berliners love breakfast. Today in class we talked about what we ate for breakfast, and the two Americans in the class both had no breakfast (well, I had some juice, but that’s it). My teacher, on the other hand, a true Berliner, prepared his breakfast the night before. There are tons of little breakfast shops all over Berlin that stay open pretty much all day, selling croissants and pastries and, of course, bread.
2) Another thing Germans love is bread. My goodness, but they love bread! I don’t know how many times I’ve seen someone on the train or walking on the sidewalk snacking on a piece of good plain German bread. Since I am a bread lover myself, I am very happy here.
3) Germans also like butter. Butter here is much tastier than in the US, and Germans use it on pretty much everything. They even put butter in their turkey and cheese sandwiches. When you think about it, that’s a much better substitute than mayonnaise.
4) Peanut butter is very hard to find. Not all grocery stores sell peanut butter. Nutella, however, is sold pretty much everywhere, and people spread it on just about anything.
5) Advertisements are everywhere! And when someone wants to put up a new poster, instead of removing the one before it, they just paste it on top of the old one. Eventually, all these posters accumulate over the years to look like this:
6) Have I mentioned already how much Germans love chocolate? Next to Switzerland, Germany consumes the most chocolate in the world. The United States is in 3rd place. German chocolate is very cheap here (since it’s produced in Germany), and Germans eat it all the time as a snack. And I thought Americans were sweet! 😛
7) Most Berliners are very polite. They are definitely nicer than Atlantans. If you’re lost and need some help figuring out where you are, you can ask anybody and they will do their best to help you. Even if you don’t know German, chances are good that they can speak English, since they are required to take English in school. When panhandlers ask for money on the train, many people actually give money. In Atlanta that is a rarity, whereas in Berlin it’s rare for a panhandler to leave empty handed.
8 ) Something really cool that I learned about in class is the Stolpersteine. A Stolperstein is a small brass plaque put into the sidewalk in front of homes that used to belong to people, mainly Jews, who were killed by the Nazis during WWII. They say something like: Here lived so and so, deported such and such year. Here are two examples of Stolpersteine (plural of Stolperstein) near the meetinghall. It’s really sobering when you think that not too long ago people who lived in this very building were forced out of their homes and deported to some place where they had no idea what would happen to them.
9) Sex is not taboo here in Berlin. It’s pretty much everywhere you look- from advertisements to shops to the way people dress. Berlin is very proud of its gay and lesbian population and embraces it wholeheartedly. There are whole parades and museums celebrating sexual orientation and encouraging you to “live life to the fullest.” It really makes me sad because what these people really need is Christ. Europe is really so dark; it needs some shining luminaries to expose the vanity of this world and turn people to Christ!
10) It’s completely dark by 5:00 PM! I am still not used to this at all. By the time it’s 8:00, I feel like it’s midnight or something because I’m not used to the sun going down so early. But this doesn’t stop Berliners from having fun. The night life here is very active. People here live for it! There’s plenty of clubs and bars that you can go to, and young people especially are very active in the night life here. It can get pretty crazy, so I usually just stay at home and go to bed around 10:00 or 11:00, which is usually when the crazy partying starts.
Well, those are my ten nuggets of culture for the week! Last week I got the opportunity to go see a movie with some classmates, which was really fun. My classmates are really cool- there are 13 students in my class ranging from age 18 to late 30s, and there are at least 8 countries represented in our classroom. If you count the teacher (who is German) then I suppose that makes 9 countries! The different countries represented in our classroom are: Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel, America, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and the Czech Republic. It’s so interesting to hear about the different cultures in all these different countries! And of course I can’t help but think of how wonderful an opportunity this is for me to preach the gospel! Next Tuesday I will be giving a 10 minute presentation on the three parts of man as portrayed in the Bible: the body, soul, and spirit. Oh Lord, open the hearts of all the students!
Here are two of my classmates. The one on the left is from Czech Republic, and the one on the right is from Spain.
Here is a beautiful stretch that I get to walk every day on my way to school. Unfortunately yesterday they vacuumed up all the leaves, but there are plenty more that have to fall. 🙂
Well, I have to get going to the home meeting! I’m so happy every time I get the opportunity to be with the brothers and sisters in the Lord. Thank you Lord for taking such good care of me!!