1. Coffee. Germans love their coffee and although it can be VERY strong sometimes, I still love me a good cup of Joe.
2. Abendbrot. Germans usually eat a breakfast of breads, lunchmeats and cheeses. Then they eat a large, hot meal for lunch and then rolls with meat and cheese for dinner. We adopted this "evening meal" about once a week for quite awhile but do it much less frequently now. I still like warm rolls with butter and jelly and sandwiches for dinner every once in a while.
3. Downtown Dresden. I just love our city. It is so pretty especially from a couple of the bridges in town. I love to catch a glimpse of downtown whenever we drive over the bridge, it warms my heart and reminds me of how thankful I am that we are here. There is also a lot of shopping, touristy places and building and I feel like I live in the big city there.
4. Hazelnut cookies. I like nuts, but I am not particularly fond of hazelnuts, but they have a little sandwich cookie here that is delicious. Two hazelnut cookies with a creme filling. I don't generally like creme cookies either, but there is just something about these things, they are addictive.
5. The people. After getting to know some Germans better now and spending more time out and about, the people are friendly and helpful. None of our experiences have shown us otherwise but getting to know some of them better has been fun and a pleasure. I hope I get to know more, better soon.
Honorable mentions: tea varieties (they have stores with just hundreds of types of tea and everything that goes with it), mild summers, and awesome ice cream that one can eat at anytime in the day.
1. Parking. With a family of 6 we have a rather large car. It is a minivan, but even smaller than the ones in the states. The parking spaces here are designed for smaller cars and the spaces are very tight. I have to be very careful with opening doors so as to not bang the other car and trying to maneuver into a spot can be tricky. I also have to parallel park way too often for my taste. I can't see the front end of my van and I have difficulty judging distances. Did I mention you have to pay almost everywhere to park?
2. Condenser dryers. I hate having to empty out the water after every load and I have no place to dump it near by so I end up filling up buckets of it till my sweet husband empties them or I have to because they are all full. I really need a sink in the laundry room but there is no bathroom on that floor. It also takes about 2 hours to dry one load and they just don't smell as good as the clothes I air dry.
3. Winter darkness. In the heart of winter, it begins getting dark at 3:45 and is totally black by 4:15-4:30. The sun doesn't come up till after 8 either so it makes for a really short day and can get a little depressing. Thankfully, they leave the Christmas lights up for a while and it helps a little although most people don't hang lights here, mostly businesses and city property.
4. Short business hours. Besides grocery stores, most stores open about 10 and close at 6 or 8. A couple grocery stores open at 7 and stay open to 10 but this is a new development. Saturday, the hours are even shorter, closing at 2 or 4. Everything is closed on Sundays, except one designated pharmacy and a few bakeries are open till 11:00. It makes getting shopping done difficult at times.
5. Medicine. (or getting it). Many over the counter drugs (i.e. aspirin) aren't over the counter here. Some you can get by asking the pharmacist but for many, you have to have a prescription. I have brought a lot of medicines from the states because I had heard that it was sometimes difficult and expensive to get pain relievers, etc. So, this hasn't been too big of a problem, but I sometimes wish I could walk in and get just what I needed without having to ask the pharmacist or go to the doctor.
Honorable mentions: Staus (traffic jams that can last for hours), no after Christmas sales, and Christmas decorations are pretty pathetic and the same every year.
Coming up with some of these was difficult because I am used to life here now. After spending time this summer in Texas and New Mexico, I have come to appreciate some things more and miss others. I don't miss the HOT summers, huge cars, and the dependence on cars but I did appreciate the really soft breads, Chinese food, the many varieties of ice cream available at the stores and for more choices in fast food and reasonable priced clothing (or clothing in general).