USA vs. Germany: This Time, You Decide Who Wins

In light of the USA vs. Germany World Cup game last week, and since they’re also both playing today and tomorrow, I decided to put together a list of everything I personally find better in the United States or in Germany and publish it here for the world to see. ūüėČ I actually started making this list a very long time ago, in the summer of 2011- 1 year after my study abroad year. I don’t know where the physical list is now, but I remember it well. Before that, I must have made a mental note of this stuff and I suppose I have also been doing that ever since! This should be interesting… I can’t tell you who will win since the “things” will range from frivolous – having little importance to our daily lives – while other things clearly matter to the well being of a person and country. Just a warning though, many things pertain more to the state of California, but I think it’s fair since that’s my version of the United States. Opinions/comments/additions are happily welcome!

U.S.A.

-Refrigerators (and freezers):¬†Americans would laugh all over the fridges in Germany. The would walk into a German kitchen, take a look around and with a puzzled look on their faces, they’d in all seriousness ask, “Where’s the fridge?” As a student in Germany, you’re lucky to have what American’s consider a “mini-fridge”, and even luckier if you’re one of few who has a freezer. Fridges in America are beasts. That’s right, beasts, I tell you. For a hungry kid, they’re a dreamy walk-in-closet. Massive, towering and made of steal, refrigerators are no joke in the land of red, white and blue.

-Opening hours: I’m mainly just complaining about¬†the fact that every thing is closed on Sundays in Germany. Excluding some cafes and restaurants, it isn’t possible to buy groceries, run errands or have a spontaneous shopping spree on the holy day. While I am sure retail store and all shop employees appreciate their single promised day-off a week, I think it’s kind of lame. Sure, I’m used to it by now, and I always appropriately prepare, but Sunday is SUCH a good day for shopping. On Friday, the weekend has barely begun and you either want to collapse or go wild. On Saturday, you want to go on an adventure, take a day trip and spend the day outside and stuff. But Sunday, that’s the day to run your errands, catch up on the chores and SHOP! And aside from the whole silly Sunday thing, grocery stores should not close at 8 pm. I know this isn’t everywhere in D-land, but still, 24-hour Safeways are a must!

-Las Vegas: Need I say more? Where’s your Disneyland for grownups, Germany?!

-The wide assortment of chips and chip bag sizes: Gahd, I miss Hot Cheetos. & Gahd, I’m so tired of “Paprika Chips” (bell pepper flavor).

-The wide assortment of breakfast cereals: Cap’n Crunch Crunch Berries, baby! And Chex (but just Corn Chex), Cheerios, Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Pebbles, Rice Crispies, Golden Grahams, Life, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, Corn Pops, Count Chocula, Crispix, Frosted Mini-Wheats, Kix, and Trix!

-The ocean: This beautiful entity. The smell, the sound, the way it chases you up and down the shore. The sea shells, the rocks, the sand, gah, even the seagulls and seaweed! If you didn’t grow up having the ocean never more than 50 miles from your front door, then I guess it’s okay because you don’t know what you’re missing (sorry to all those who are living landlocked). But if you’re like me, and the ocean is a part of you, then you lose this time, Germany, and I don’t want to hear anything about the East/North/Baltic Sea, it’s not the same!

-Burritos: Burritos, burritos, burritos. Okay, just one more time, BURRITOS. I’ve tried burrito after burrito in Germany and I’ve also mastered the art of making them at home. But nothing beats a California burrito and when all else fails, Chipotle. If I could, I would literally travel home just to get my quick burrito fix.

-Amusement parks: I’m talking about real roller coasters. Monsters for roller coasters. Adrenaline rushing, heart racing, mile high, “shit, why did I do this?”, rides and roller coasters. Europa park is a joke and I feel bad for all the children here who have never flew through the sky, wind forcing back their cheeks, so freaked out they can’t manage a scream on a freaking roller coaster!¬†¬†¬†

Spring Break: Chyah.

-Free drinking water at restaurants

-Free toilet usage at restaurants and outdoor events: This is just a man’s right, come on!

-Fast Food: We probably shouldn’t be proud of this, but America rules at Fast Food. For starters, we’ve got heaven on earth, a.k.a. In-N-Out Burger. Just spelling out its name makes my mouth water. Then there’s like Wendy’s (mm $1 Frosties) and Taco Bell (mm the whole menu). And I love me some Panda Express, not to mention I’m always down for some curly fries from Jack In The Box.

-Diversity

-Humor

-Peanut Butter

College life

-Sushi

-The customer is always right

-Strip clubs

-Houses/apartments come with a kitchen and a closet

-No cobblestone

-English is the national language (biased alert)

-Costco

-Bagels

GERMANY

-Windows: Germany never fails to be sufficiently efficient and practical in all areas of life. This particularly holds true for their windows. America had no imagination when it came to installing their windows. Windows slide up and sometimes windows slide right to left. But German windows, oh boy, I am getting gitty just thinking about it. That magical handle is truly spectacular. Ninety degrees to the right and the window opens wide, allowing a flow of fresh, smog-free German air. Turn it a full 180 and the window leans towards you, letting just a breeze inside. “Kip” the window, the German’s say (literally “tilt”, we’d call it “cracking” the window). Then if you turn it some weird way the whole window falls off and smashes you. That’s not cool!

-Prices of groceries: Milk, bread, cheese, eggs, butter, cream cheese, fresh fruit and vegetables, pasta noodles, pasta sauce, deli meat, oatmeal, canned vegetables, water, not a single item listed costs more than 1 Euro and many groceries cost only half of that!

-Healthcare: Every one pays, everyone’s covered. Fully. You make more, you pay more. You’re a student? You still pay, but it’s affordable. You’re a single mom with three kids, you get a special family coverage. Family’s are covered together and it’s affordable. But what about if you have pre-existing conditions? Germany’s response? “Pre-what? What does that even mean?” It doesn’t matter, YOU’RE COVERED (you’re covered since birth, so PRE-existing conditions aren’t even possible!). Everyone contributes their share. It’s fair and it works and no one has to worry. Chronic illness, cancer, dental, emergency room visits, vaccines, prenatal care, women’s health, nutrition, physical therapy, mental health, it’s all included! And that’s how it should be. And if you want to cry about paying for other people like a turd, you also have the option to get private insurance. There. Everyone’s happy. ¬†¬†¬†

-Cost of Education: With the exception of a few, nearly all Germany states require no tuition fees to attend university. And when there is a tuition fee, it’s between 500 and 750 Euro a semester. So, if you’re one of the rare students who pays tuition in Hamburg or Bayern, you’re looking at a total of 3,000-4,500 for your education. That’s what I paid per semester at Sonoma State and my university tuition was considered cheap. Then you throw student fees and housing on top of that and I was almost paying triple THAT a semester. In T√ľbingen, my single dorm room, bathroom included, shared kitchen and common space and the internet/electricity/water flat cost 257 Euro a month and THAT is considered pricey in Germany. Education is highly valued and handled very differently here and this is clearly evident looking at their university and other higher education systems (like Ausbildungen at Hochsch√ľle- apprenticeships at professional schools/community colleges).

-Phone plans: I currently pay 10 euro a month for the following plan: 100 text messages/100 minutes (to all providers)/and an internet flat rate per month. I don’t need text messages with What’sApp or iMessage and I rarely need my minutes. With the internet flat, all other means of communication are covered: Skype, Facebook and email.

-Recycling: I love my Pfand. ‚̧¬†Learn more here.¬†

-Alcohol policies: The legal drinking age is 16 and public drinking is a yes-go. What else is there to say?

-Public transportation:¬†I could just shower the public transportation system in Germany with kisses. I never understand why all my visitors from home ask if I have a car here, but thinking more about it now, it must be hard to imagine a life where a car is actually MORE of an inconvenience than a help. I couldn’t possibly manage to get around in the Bay Area without a car. Talk about a stressful situation. Even when there is a public transportation system available, it sucks. Here, I can accomplish everything with these two feet! I either walk somewhere, or I walk to the next tram or metro stop. Simple as pie.

-International travel (Easy and cheap)

-Beer

-Mandatory multi-lingualness in school

-Awareness/banning of harmful chemicals and ingredients in food 

-The price you see is the price you pay!

-Castles

-Cakes

-Bike lanes

-Everything’s old

-Erotic Stores

-The Autobahn

-Festivals (All, music and more)

-Gummies

-No Hummers

-Chocolate

-Churches and cathedrals

 

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