Friday, July 2, 2010

Life Without Umlauts

It's been a while, dear readers. Much has happened since my last post about German words. Namely, we packed up our life in Germany and moved back to the States. But if you happen to be one of our few loyal fans who still continues checking in for an update instead of being productive at work, well, wait no longer.

I have been back in the States for exactly a month now. Culture shock began the moment I was greeted heartily by the "Welcome home" of the smiling, Southern-drawling customs official at the airport. And the culture shock moments have been adding up though ever since. Here are eleven for starters:
-I must drive to the grocery store now rather than walk or ride the subway. Sometimes I need to get back in the car if I want to visit the store... next door.
-Everyone greets me with a big smile and a beautiful tone of informality.
-The check-out ladies at the store gladly bag my groceries, even though they seem shocked if when I present my own canvas bag or decline to use any bag at all.
-Recycling in the US is about a decade behind Europe.
-Air-conditioning exists. Americans don't fear drafts like the Germans do. Thankfully.
-I have two hundred TV channels to choose from rather than twenty. I've quickly realized, however, that more does not equal better.
-Americans wear more colorful clothing and more shorts, and flip-flops seem to be required attire in warm weather months. The very sound of flip-flops is unescapable. I haven't decided how I feel about this yet.
-My pockets are lighter because I lack one- and two-Euro coins.
-A liter of Coke once again costs noticeably less than a liter of beer. I preferred it the other way around.
-I must calculate for tips again at restaurants. This is a royal pain.
-Umlauts no longer adorn signs.

So, our life with umlauts has come to its end, but readjusting to life without umlauts might take a little more time. I will probably still add a few more entries over the next few weeks to wrap up my reflections on the past year. Stay tuned.


  1. About time. And so glad you're back. Culture shock is an interesting thing, isn't it? No matter which way you're going.

  2. YES! You're back! Augh, flip-flops. Here in the District, I've experienced another kind of shock. Everyone walks, even when the light is red. I had to stuff my German Ordentlichkeit and learn to just go.

  3. You're saying "must" instead of the less imparative "need to, have to, or gotta" that most Americans use. Must is reserved for real "situations" zum beispiel.

  4. Welcome back! Yeah culture shock is fun and can be experienced even in the US. When I got back from my 6 months in Colorado, as soon as I was leaving RDU I heard someone say something about Yankees. I busted out laughing because I hadn't heard that word in 6 months.