Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Five: Things we miss about Germany


It's been a week since we returned home, and everyone is still adjusting to life back in Singapore. It feels rather odd not having to sort your trash, or have a roomy cellar to store your stuff, but I know the hubby's rather glad that he no longer has to pile on the layers just to take out the trash! (But he really really misses the dishwasher though.) So while I'm up battling jet-lag, allow me to share some things we do miss about living in Germany:

1. The slower pace of life
In general, things just moved slower. No hustle and bustle. While we were so used to efficiency and quickness, the pace of life there did teach us to slow down a little. We learnt not to rush about so much. 

The hubby started work really early (The Germans tend to start work early), but that also meant he was home early, which gave us lots of time for slow walks out with the kids. There was lots of time for family. Almost all shops were closed on Sunday, so that forced us to spend our Sundays meaningfully (Sunday used to be our rush-to-the-supermarket-and-stock-up-day!). 

We learnt how to not sweat the small stuff and be a little more patient. If you're stuck at the supermarket cashier counter trying to pack your groceries while trying to keep a firm grip on a very distracted 4 year old who is trying to harass his brother, everyone just patiently waits in line. Even the cashier just waits. No dirty looks, no "tsktsk"s. With everything moving at a more leisurely pace, we learnt to mutter less "hurry up"s. 


2. Room to breathe and play
Perhaps Singapore is extremely starved for space (and of course, her love affair with building more and more malls doesn't help), but it was quite a joy staying in a place where pockets of nature could be found everywhere. There were parks tucked into little corners everywhere we turned. And the playgrounds! While my biggest grouse was how much sand the boys tracked into the house after every playground visit, playgrounds in Germany were plentiful, and mostly made of natural materials like wood. I loved how these playgrounds aged beautifully with the elements, and lent an extra dimension of texture to play, compared to the modern plastic playgrounds that are so common now.


3. The farmer's market
Every Wednesday and Saturday morning saw the plaza in front of the Dom (cathedral) being transformed into a farmer's market. Going to the market was a lovely experience, with so much to see.


The market sells almost everything, from vegetables and meat, to dried fruit, nuts, herbs and other produce like honey and fruit juice. There's a cheese section (which the hubby always avoids because of the smell!), and section selling bread, and even places to stop to have a cuppa and a slice of cake. There are sweet stalls, some craft stalls, and even a stall specializing in canine treats (the Germans love their dogs and bring them everywhere!).


Junior J especially loved making the trip down to pick our flowers for our home, and the blooms were really affordable (think 1 Euro for 10 daffodils). He also loved it because he sometimes came home with little gifts, like a slice of ham from the butcher, a carrot, or cookies!



4. The food
German food isn't anything to shout about, in fact, it's extremely salty. And there's only that many times that you can eat currywurst and fries before you start to get sick of it. However, we do miss their fresh fruit, which was extremely cheap when it was in season, and really yummy. Another thing we miss is their bread. Having been spoilt for choice when it comes to bakery selections (oddly enough, while they bake amazing breads, we've found the German cakes to be rather wanting), our usual Gardenia bread now requires some getting used to. 



Hubby was also lamenting about how much more expensive fresh produce in Singapore is, and how stuff just tasted better back there, from the creamier eggs to the juicier tomatoes. Oh, and the pork ribs were way cheaper in Germany!


Dairy products are also alot more expensive in Singapore. A litre of organic milk costs only 1 Euro in Germany, and the range of cheese and yoghurt was mind-boggling. We loved how most yoghurts were full-fat versions (in Singapore, I think there are only one or two brands that carry a full-fat yoghurt), and an ice-cream cone from a posh eatery cost 0.90 Euro a scoop!


5. The cycling culture
Muenster is the bike capital of Germany, and the bicycle is one chief form of transport for getting around the town. Everyone owned a bike and cycled everywhere, and children were transported in carriages clipped unto the bikes. Cycling around was easy, since there were cycling paths running along most roads, and drivers gave way to cyclists (something that usually doesn't happen in Singapore!). Getting around the city center was easy too, since there was a path (the Promenade) that encircled the center, and we spent many happy evenings in summer cycling around.


Ok, my list was supposed to end at five, but I couldn't resist another little aspect: German-made products. The country has its list of well known brands, and while of great quality, are a whole lot cheaper when purchased locally. Think WMF, Volkswagen, Audi, Schleich, Haba, Playmobil and Ravensburger. The hubby was smitten with the realistic dinosaur models produced by Schleich, and I really loved the games made by Haba!


Don't get me wrong, we're glad to be home. After all, every country has its nice points, but home is the best place to be! (A bowl of piping hot wanton noodles or char kway teow beats pork knuckles and flammkuchen anyday!)

Mum in the Making

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28 comments:

  1. I just love your photos! Germany sounds amazing... slower pace, farmer's markets - sold.

    Wishing you a lovely day!
    xoxo

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    1. Thanks Jennifer! Germany was nice, but its nice to be home too! :)

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  2. I miss the weather in Germany. Beautiful pictures!!! Now you made me miss it even more!!

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    1. Oh yes, I remember you went there last Christmas right?

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  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Klessis! :) Instagram helps lots!

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  4. Replies
    1. Thanks Sandra! You'll have plenty of pretty pics to take when you move, i'm sure!

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  5. Yes, yes... I could totally feel it as I read each point in your post...
    Reading it makes me start to miss the days at NZ again :(
    Hope you're adjusting well (it will take some time :) )

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    Replies
    1. Oh, I can understand, we miss NZ too, its such a beautiful country!
      The boys are still adjusting in terms of jet lag and all. LIke you said, it'll probably take some time before we get into the swing of things!

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  6. Lol tell me about the pork ribs!!~ And all the pig organs, way cheaper than here! =p You are making me miss Europe too! I hope to visit Germany someday! =)

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    1. Summer, you mean you didn't get to visit Germany? So funny that we both were in Europe but missed visiting each other's countries!

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  7. Welcome back to Singapore! Your photos are amazing, and I can totally understand the slower pace of life, and wish it is the same here! We will be vacationing in Germany soon, and I cannot wait, especially after reading your post. Great post!

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    1. Oh you'll be visiting soon? That's great! It's finally started to warm up over there, when we left it was still single digit temps and snowing! Now some days you get highs of 20s. Which part of Germany are you headed to?

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    2. We will be headed to Munich, with a little bit of time in Frankfurt. I can't wait, because I think Munich is beautiful!

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    3. Believe it or not, we never made it to visit Munich! But yes, we've heard its beautiful too! Have a great trip!

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  8. You know, Jus, those fresh food and slowing down our pace sometime are the reasons for us to getaway, with the girls.

    Welcome home;).

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    1. Oh yes, Pc, those are the reasons why we travel too! Its nice to get away from all that hecticness over here.

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  9. Oh.... I miss Germany too :( Went there for my honeymoon and really learnt to relax and let go.
    Love your photos by the way.

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    1. That's nice! Which parts did you visit? And thanks for dropping by!

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  10. Such lovely photos and smiley little ones! Welcome home!

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  11. Love the soft autumn colors of your photos... u are so blessed to be able to spend some time away from the hustle and bustle of life here and get to experience the simple beauty and uncomplicated lifestyle of another country.

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    1. Thanks Rachel, and yes, we certainly count ourselves blessed for having that opportunity to spend time experiencing living in another country!

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  12. My goodness! The size of those parsnips!! :p wow i would so go to the farmers market every wed and sunday! you know, it's cos of you (and summer) that I keep asking hubby now if he could get a job back in Canada just for a year! mght as well now since the kids haven't officially started school. Right?

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    1. Hey Adora, yes, it will quite an eye-opening experience for you and also for the kids too! Easier too when they have not started school, that is for sure. And its great to get away from the stressful melting pot that is SG for awhile!

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  13. Love the photos - everything looks so vibrant and fresh! Makes me want to visit Germany too. Must be nice to have the cold crisp air too for a change.

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    1. Thanks Meiling! Its a lovely country and the cool weather was certainly nice! Not too fond of our hazy muggy weather that's for sure!

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