Germanification

I feel like my inner German is growing stronger by the day. I’ve even started glaring at people who jaywalk – not because I disapprove, but because it seems like rather a German thing to do.

The process is being accelerated by the fact that I live with two German girls, and I believe that their German influence over me is stronger than my Irish influence over them. Although, in the beginning, I thought that the Irish might win out.

Hildeberta: Last night I had a night that you would be proud of. 

Me: I assume that something terribly sophisticated happened. 

Hildeberta: HA! NO! (A classic example of that German delusion-crushing directness you’ve probably heard about.) No, no, I ended up drinking with a bunch of randoms in some gay bar, then somehow found myself in an African bar, then finished the night sitting in the road eating pizza with a homeless guy. 

Me: Hmm. Yeah, that does sound more like something I would do…

However, despite this little Irish blip, it is, most definitely, a German apartment. This is mainly evidenced in the fact that it is spotless – apart from my room, obviously.

The cleanest bathroom in the world
The cleanest bathroom in the world

The reason for this is that Germans never stop cleaning. Even when something is clean, they’ll clean over the clean – just for good measure. When it comes to O’Grady vs Germ, I adopt a very ‘live and let live’ attitude – it’s worked for me so far. When it comes to German vs Germ… well, let’s just say you feel sorry for any germ that has the audacity to lurk on German soil.

The most used hoover in the world
The most used hoover in the world – and Elvis

I think that all of this might, one day, have the effect of turning me into a good decent semi-decent Hausfrau. The other day, I actually hoovered – spontaneously. However, I feel that my progress may not be speedy enough for ze Germans.

Last week, I was über proud of myself when I finished a carton of milk and remembered to put it into the “cardboard” bin. I swaggered off somewhere and came back to find Hildegard standing in the kitchen holding the offending item. I’d messed up in two ways –

1. I hadn’t folded the milk carton to the size of a 10 cent coin.

2. I’d put it into the “cardboard” bin, when it was lined with plastic and probably still contained some drops of milk. (Actually, I knew it did.)

Hildegard: I know! It’s such a German thing! 

Me: Yeah… haha. 

Although she was laughing, there was German steel in there at the same time. I then got my first lesson in Mülltrennung (rubbish separation), the one thing every foreigner dreads when they move to Germany.

20141104_122954[1]

20141103_150751[1]

Guess which one is mine…

Still, I console myself with the fact that while my German Hausfrau-ness is a work in progress, my German beer-drinking abilities are second to none. Well, apart from the Germans – natürlich.

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130 thoughts on “Germanification”

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      1. The gits who rent my house in the UK are not paying their rent. Mrs S is out on some fancy doo and I have had to resort to drinking wine at San Carlos and a Kebab at the Turkish take a way. Ok the last 2 items are ok

        Liked by 1 person

  2. But, but… what on earth is the point of folding up a milk carton like that? Just so there’s more space in the recycle bin? I don’t do that here in Czech Republic, but the beauty of this country is that they give NO shits. About most anything. So I could be doing it wrong for all I know, but I’m not sure who cares.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, if I was living by myself, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t bother! I actually squashed one perfectly this evening though – quite proud of myself 😉 I imagine the Czech Republic is a bit more like Latvia in this respect!

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    1. I guess I should look at it as a positive 🙂 One of them suggested I pour my leftover soup down the toilet yesterday and when I looked delighted at the prospect, she was like ‘yeah, I guess that’s more Irish’ 🙂 It was disgustingly ploppingly satisfying I must admit!

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  3. I’m not sure that I would say constant cleaning is a German trait, most of my German friends are ‘normal’ in this respect or maybe even a little messy, although Germans as a whole DO like order, so less of them are messy than not.

    As for the directness in things like “HA! NO!”, we have all been there. As an English expat in Germany, I feel your pain. I always feel a little crushed before reminding myself they don’t mean it sarcastically like I would!

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    1. Ha, me too! I guess it’s actually quite refreshing! An Irish person would dither for around an hour before getting to that point 🙂 The German approach is more like pulling off a band aid 🙂

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  4. “german vs. germ” – – – you are ALWAYS so crafty with your words! Love it! I have to say that Italians are crazy clean too. SPOTLESS! I often purposely walk around in white socks at my mother in law’s house…hubby’s aunts’ homes, my godmother’s home just TRYING to turn those things even the slightest of grey…..never works….they scrub down the floors every day. What can I say? I don’t have the time to scrub down my floors every day…..I DO however, love my hoover…..love the “click, click” sound it makes when I use it. I admit to using it on the balconies as well. I thought I was the only one so smart as to vacuum the balconies, then I found out everyone does it. Anyway….your apartment sounds fab…and of course I love the Elvis pic!

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    1. Ha ha! Love the thought of you going all Tom Cruise on Italian floors! I watched a documentary that said that the average German Hausfrau did something like 4 hours of housework a day – I mean, really! What house NEEDS four hours’ cleaning every day! 😉

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      1. ha, ha, ha…yes!!! I was TOTALLY doing a Tom Cruise….ha, ha, ha…that is so funny…..I believe the 4 hour thing…..drag…..but I think the Italians are doing the same….wait…add another 2 hours for time they have to spend cleaning the house of their 40 year old kid…(that is – – IF their 40 year old kid has actually moved out) 🙂

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          1. Ok…that video! Gosh….I was laughing A LOT…have not seen that in a looooooooonnnnnnnnnnnggggggggg time! funny…..and yes…..when it comes to Italian Stallions…..well….it is true many of them are “mammoni” (means: mamma’s boy). Ugggg….they are very spoiled. But on occasion, you find the rebel who actually wants to take care of himself and his own family, but who still loves and treats his mother like a queen. Those are the REAL Italian Stallions…

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  5. So, did you totally confuse your housemates by calling it a “hoover”? I got a very confused look the first time I said it here (Denmark), but now everyone in the house says hoover! I just can’t get used to “vacuum cleaner” – way too cumbersome!

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    1. They were alright with it actually! One of them had lived in England for a while so she’s used to it. My Canadian friend cracks up every time I say hoover – in Canadian slang it means blow job 🙂

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  6. Hahaha! Love this one! I guess, sadly, that you are outnumbered, hence failing to Irishify them too much (though pizza chez hobo is a good effort).
    Next time I see you, I will be ready for the glaring! 😉

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    1. You’ll be all Portugueseified by then – that will be a challenge 😉 She actually gave the homeless dude her number as well – pretty marvellous effort! We were out until 7am this morning but I’m not sure if that’s an Irish or a German thing any more 🙂

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    1. It’s funny stuff! I’m not sure I’ll ever be properly Germanified – at least not in this respect. Pretty much everything else I can get on board with. Except the poo shelf. Never the poo shelf… 😉

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  7. The Germans would kick me out … of the country. I do get peeved about the Russians not recycling, but there’s like, a million times years gap between recycling and all that nitpicky nonsense they get up to in Deutscheland.

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    1. I’m sort of dreading getting my own flat. Then I’ll have to think about all of this stuff by myself – and probably get shouted at by old ladies for doing it wrong 😉 At least now I just get friendly scoldings and lessons from my flatmates 😉

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  8. Hahah, a few things:
    1) hausfrau, love it! (And I didn’t have to google, some words in German are easy to understand after all!)
    2) Do these roommates know of/ read your blog?
    3) Is the milk carton being recycled? Why does it have to be so wee?
    4) You got me into trouble! I have a German colleague and we were talking about something work related and I was yelling at her for being so German as she was being very precise, rational and direct! My other coworker was horrified (obviously out of context it sounds not great) and I was like no no my friend lives there. Apparently I’m really picking up on the day to day foibles of Germany through you!

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    1. Ha ha! My roommates do read the blog – I told them about it when I moved in, just to be fair! One of them was supposed to be having a quick nap before we went out last night – then she saw the post and I could hear her laughing all over the apartment 🙂 The milk carton has to be wee so it can make room for other milk cartons – and other stuff. Same with pizza boxes etc – amazing how small you can make them when you try! And NEVER shout at a lovely German 😉 And especially don’t blame me for it haha! “Oh, it’s OK, I can yell at you cos my friend lives in Germany…” Umm 😉

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      1. Glad that they like it! I still don’t get why you need to make it small, can’t you just take the recycling out as needed and keep them regular size? Or not efficient enough?

        And hahah, I see your point, it’s a slippery slope. I was merely trying to commend you for making me feel like I’m right there with you.Are you still planning on getting your own place? Seems like you have a good thing going…

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        1. Yeah, I’m still planning on that! The lease on this place is finished in April anyway so we’ll have to leave. And it will be nice to have my own space – and leave it untidy if I want to 😉

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    1. They both had nights I would be proud of last night – and I was there 🙂
      I’ll ask them if they fancy a trip – I reckon if a German knows that a place is in need of a good clean, they’ll travel anywhere. That might be why you always meet Germans on holidays – no matter where you go 😉

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  9. Goodness, you’ve gone from one extreme to another in your living situation. Of course, your current situation is so much better and as long as your German roommates laugh at your foibles, you can be yourself. Interesting about the German penchant for cleaning: in my (very) small town, a fair number of the elderly residents were descended from German immigrants and these people knew how to keep house! My stepfather’s stepmother had antique furniture that looked like it was brand new. Our neighbor (a bachelor who “adopted” my family) was always cleaning, cleaning. He too had old furniture that he kept in mint condition. Too bad none of that rubbed off on me. I spent a lot of time with him (he was like a grandfather to me), but I never got the hang of cleaning. And I HATE dusting 🙂

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    1. I’ve never even owned a duster 😉
      Germans – good to see that it lasts through the generations no matter where they go! My flatmate saw the post last night – I could hear her laughing from the yard 🙂 She was like “Hildegard? Really??” They’re such fun girls – we went out last night and got home at 7am 🙂

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        1. Ha, but of course! I’m happy here but it will still be nice to get my own place in a few months. I’ve always lived by myself so I feel that that’s my natural state! But I’ll definitely stay friends with these crazy chicks!

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  10. This takes me back. Always be sure to properly recycle batteries as well. You’ll notice that it’s only ever the bad guy in german films who throws his batteries in the ‘general waste’ bin!xx

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  11. After living in Asia and South America where many expats, like myself, have a maid clean once or twice a week, I’m not sure I will be able to work in Germany. Unless I can find a German man who likes to clean for the both of us. See any single, clean, German men wandering around?

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    1. Single, clean German men are EVERYWHERE! I’m like a kid in a candy shop here 😉 I had a cleaner in Poland and Latvia (for a while) – I miss those days 😉 But I’ll take a German man over a grumpy Polish cleaner any day 😉

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  12. What, didn’t Germans think of some sort of a press or a vice to crush the cartons properly?

    (maybe Hermann has one – if a man has something as silly as an egg cooker, this device would have seemed the pinnacle of usefulness to him)

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  13. Haha!!
    you know, my new roommate is German. We got über drunk last Friday and we came home around 6.
    I passed out straight away.

    She cleaned the whole kitchen.
    She wrote a couple of pages of her master thesis.
    She has been studying Latvian.
    She watched a movie.

    Then she passed out.

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  14. I don’t know what happened, there must have been some kind of mix-up in my DNA or something. I keep hearing about Germans and their cleaning habits and cleaning although everything is clean already etc. I’m German through and through and that NEVER happens! I start cleaning when I see my own footprints in the dust or when I think “damn, what a grey day” and notice outside that the weather is great but the state of my windows not so much. I want to be like all the other Germans!
    I’m not so bad in the Mülltrennung department though. Which is a bit of a relieve. 😉

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      1. Ok, I see I was exaggerating. I clean when it’s all dusty etc. but once I’m outside I couldn’t care less about the windows. From the point of realisation to the actual window cleaning I live through autumn and winter (no point in cleaning windows when it’s raining and freezing) and in spring I might clean them. Unless I know I’m moving house in a couple of months.

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  15. Hey. Is it me or are you much more forgiving of German foibles than you were of Latvian ones? I seem to detect a nuance of….not sure how to say this – btw, this is not criticism, just sheer curiosity- laughing at the Hermans of this world a touch more affectionately than at its poor Janises. Do you know why?

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    1. Interesting point! I think you might be right! I guess one reason is probably that I’d been in LV for 2.5 years when I started that blog – things had more time to fester and annoy me! I’ve only been here for 9 weeks so everything is still very new to me – and I love it here as well, which probably makes a difference!

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  16. Ha! You’re having a hard time finding a happy medium BerLinda – first a housemate who is filthy and then house mates that are so clean you can’t keep up. Have you seena doctor yet for that episode of spontaneous hoovering that happened? Ha! beware dust bunnies – Berlinda is turning into a Hausfrau. 😀

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  17. Oh, boy. I feel your pain on the recycling – I stuff it all in the container and say that they’re lucky I make that much effort to start with. I found MMM (MM’s Mum) washing out the tins before she put them in the recycling box. I told her off. She seems to spends hours of her life separating the lids from the bottles. Gnn.

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    1. Yeah, I just stash stuff in my room now and wait until everyone goes out before I put everything in the wrong bins 😉 Ugh, who washes out tins before putting them in the bin? That wouldn’t even cross my mind! MMM should move to Germany – she’d be in her element 😉

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  18. There’s nothing more intimidating than sorting out trash to German standards. I fear it… and secretly love it at the same time. After returning from our visit in July, I started sorting all our household trash. And the U.S. is nowhere near to enforcing mandatory Mülltrennung! But when it comes to keeping my house as spotless as a German hausfrau, I surrender. So long as the dust bunnies aren’t prolific enough to raise an army, I’m fine just keeping things moderately tidy. 🙂

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