Dixie Peach: Know before you go

Cooler than the other side of the pillow.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Know before you go

James is moving from San Francisco to Düsseldorf in a little over three weeks and he's asked me if I have any tips to hand over regarding moving to Germany.

To make this a bit easier on me I'll just assume that you've not lived in Germany before - that way anyone reading this can use the tips. And you expats - feel free to chime in with your own!
  1. Carry fifty cents with you at all time. Not only will you need it for the pay toilets but you'll need it to use a shopping cart.
  2. Learn to network. Finding someone to hang wallpaper or lay carpet for you is much easier when you learn which of your friends knows the proper people.
  3. Become a soccer fan. And if you're going to be fan, be a fan of an 1. Liga team. Don't bother with being a fan of Köln unless you like having your team go from 1. to 2. Liga every couple years, plus being as you'll be in Düsseldorf it'll save you torment from your neighbors . Just go for the best and become a Bayern-München fan.
  4. Check your calendar twice. Most calendars in Germany start with Monday as being the first day of the week as opposed to American calendars that start with Sunday. Don't just see a date in the middle of the week and automatically assume it's Wednesday - it's probably Thursday.
  5. Learn which holidays your state celebrates - not every states has the exact same holidays. Not only will it keep you from showing up to work when you're supposed to be at home but it'll keep you from realizing it's a holiday and you don't have any food in the house. Should that happen, you can find grocery items at the gas station.
  6. Alternatiave food purchase site on Sundays and holidays: Video rental stores.
  7. Learn the bottle deposit rules. Some bottles go back to specific stores, some go back to any store that uses mehrweg Flaschen and some bottles drinks don't require a deposit.
  8. H-milch - the milk that's super heated to kill germs and therefore doesn't need to be refrigerated until it's opened - is okay. It's real milk and it's not weird. You'll be glad you've got H-milch in the house when you realize it's a Sunday and the stores are closed.
  9. Check your newspaper or your local cinema's website for their schedule for showing movies in English. Most of the big cinemas show big release movies in original language at least for the first couple weeks after its release.
  10. Learn who Thomas Gottschalk, Günther Jauch, Harald Schmidt, Johannes B. Kerner, Dieter Bohlen, Peter Kloeppel, Oliver Geissen, Til Schweiger, Verona Pooth, Michael Schumacher and Franz Beckenbauer are. It's more important than knowing who the Bundeskanzler (or Bundeskanzlerin, as is the case now) is.
  11. Don't trust your TV guide 100%, no matter which one you use. Shows start early, start late, end late or aren't even what's listed.
  12. Most important for someone moving to Düsseldorf: For God's sake it's Helau, not Alaaf!


Blogger christina said...

Expert advice, Dixie! Except that our shopping carts only take Euro coins. Is it different in Magdeburg?

11:11 PM  
Blogger James said...

Thank you, Dixie! That was some great advice. I had no idea milk could be left on the shelf and not be refrigerated--wild. I don't really like sports, but I hear soccer games are crazy events in Germany. I guess I can go if I have a beer and everyone is in a party mood. Thanks again for the great advice. James

6:05 AM  
Blogger Haddock said...

James should support Werder Bremen and not Bayern Munchen!

Of course I am biased :)

....and besides Bremen is closer tahn Munich!

10:31 AM  
Blogger christina said...

If James doesn't like sports he should support Hannover 96 because they hardly ever win! :-)

11:13 AM  
Blogger Dixie said...

Christina, try a fifty cent piece sometime. I'm forever not having a euro on me and I've not had a problem using fifty cents.

But recently I bought a shopping cart chip to hang on my keychain so that solves my problem all around - except for the pay toilet part. Then again I just moved to the Stadtzentrum so if I need to I just go home.

Haddock - "Was ist grün und stinkt wie Fisch? Werder Bremen!" Heh! I simply couldn't resist. :)

Actually I sort of dig Hannover. And I have no objections to Schalke except when they're too close in points to Bayern. And I don't mind Stuttgart or Wolfsburg. But Dortmund? Bremen? Leverkusen? Yech!

James, I was once completely clueless about Germany and would nearly go into vaporlock if I had to go across the street to the grocery store. If I can make the move and adapt, you can. Holler if you ever need advice.

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Belinda said...

I just always use those "cart tokens" that I get free when I buy water.

speaking of drinks, you can buy stuff in crates here James.

lol @ number 10. Ahhh the promi list.

and number 2 is so true, most of the work we've had done to the apartment is via friends of a friend.

11:45 AM  

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