A lot of aspects of my life have changed since I moved to Germany. To my surprise, I found out that several things that were easy to deal with back at home are not that simple here.
For example, turning on the electric heating system. In the past, I did not have to care much about such devices as furnace or built-in boiler controls, for instance. Thermostatic radiator control valve was the only tool I used to control the temperature in my room. Life was simple and easy.
Well, everything is more complicated now. After feeling cold in the apartment, I decided to see how the electric system worked. That was the first time in my life I saw this:
Mechanical timer switch. OMG… The landlady had no manual instruction for that. She gave us the manual instruction for the fan assisted storage heater only. (I apologize for using so many technical terms 🙂 ) I read the instruction and I felt like a schoolgirl at a physics lesson. I calmed down and tried to understand what the manual instruction was saying. Oh, ok… I guess I CAN turn the heater on.
Hmm… but the mechanical timer switch?! What the heck?! I managed to find the first two pages of the English manual instruction online. It helped me to understand what the timer switch was for. I did my best and set it up, but only to my disappointment. The cold air was coming out of the heaters. I asked the landlady what was the problem. She could not give me an answer. I was about to call the service company, but then I did realize the heaters were working fine. Some hours must pass before the heaters start producing hot air. I believe many people are familiar with such heating system and would have no complaints. For me, that was quite a stressful time. I would prefer to deal with automatic control system. I gave up. My husband will take care of the electric system in our apartment. He is my savior. hehe
Nowadays, every time I come home from a supermarket I check if I get €0.50 change. In the past, I could wash my clothes anytime I wanted to, but now I have to see if the washing machine downstairs is free. I have to pay €0.50 per a wash cycle of 1h40min. So, if I do not have €0.50 I cannot wash my clothes. If I only want to wash my clothes for 45 min, let’s say, I still have to pay €0.50. If somehow the washing machine prolongs the wash cycle to 1 hour 50 min, for example, I have to pay another €0.50 for 10 min of washing. I find it not so convenient.
Supermarkets are closed on Sundays and nothing works 24 hours. Back at home I could go shopping at 11pm Saturday night. Ah, I miss those days. At least, I learned that on a weekly newspaper we get for free, there is the information about the drug stores and doctors’ offices that are open on the weekdays. Instead of trying to find this information online, I can simply get it from the free newspaper. This can be extremely handy!
Another thing is my bus ticket. Bus tickets here are made of paper. I miss my electronic public transportation ticket that matched my purse. The bus ticket I have now is too big for my purse. According to the rules, I cannot fold it and I have to carry it along with my passport (or ID card) all the time.
Finally, I was amazed to see Christmas chocolates at a supermarket in September. Some days ago I found out that for Germans autumn starts on September 22-23, just like in the US. I am talking about astronomical seasons. At the same time, some other countries in Europe consider meteorological seasons. Meteorologically autumn starts on September 1. Anyway, why do Germans start selling Christmas chocolates in the end of the summer?! It reminded me of my trip to the Philippines. It was unexpected to see artificial Christmas trees being sold in October. Nevertheless, who wants to buy Christmas chocolates so early?!
I believe many people will not understand my complaints. I am not trying to say that things shall be different in Germany. I simply provide an example of how foreigners see life here from a different angle.