Today we went to visit a local "Bad" (swimming pool) in our community. While there, we were asking the clerk at the desk questions about memberships, hours, etc. and she was extremely pleased to be speaking English with someone. Since it wasn't very busy today, we humored her and spent a few moments with her so she could use her English. During the conversations, she asked where we were from and the hubby said, "Australia" and I told her "America." "America?" she asked. "Isn't there a lot of violence and shootings there like we see in the films?" As I started to explain that what one sees here in Germany is what Hollywood portrays as real, isn't necessarily reality, the husband goes into an uproar about how all Americans carry guns and our crime rate is so far above Germany's.
Now I know he does just this to pull my chain, and between us it is funny and I get it that he is exaggerating just to get a rise out of me. But, after we left I began to worry that her notion of what America is really like is probably no different from what the rest of the world sees. They only see what we (Hollywood) want them to see--a violent America. I guess we shouldn't be surprised when they actually believe it.
Another event that happened today had me practically doing cartwheels across the lawn was when I went to the drug store to refill my prescriptions. I take four different medications daily. I have them refilled for a three month supply. Even though I have medical insurance in the U.S., I rarely leave the drug store under $70.00 every three months. Now, since we are local in Germany, we carry German medical insurance. Today, under the German medical insurance, I paid €18.30 for the very same three month supply!! Imagine! I couldn't! Even though I questioned the pharmacist a number of times, she assured me the amount was correct. Yea for German medical insurance!
We spent another lovely weekend by the lake and I came to appreciate another fact about Germany that I hadn't realized until now. There are no speedboats, motor boats, or jet ski's on German lakes. WHAT?? How can that be? American's would be in an uproar if they couldn't race around in watercraft on the lakes and rivers. What would a weekend on a lake be if not for the yacht, high speed motorboat, or revved up Skido? Not so in Germany. They have been banned for years. Noise pollution and environmental pollution. Again, I just love Germany.
One more tidbit, before I go,that I would like to share with you is how German's pay their bills. Like Americans, they can go online to their bank account and have money transferred to pay a bill. But what they cannot do personally is send a check.
Instead, they take the bill to the bank and the bank pays the bill directly. The bills come in the mail with a detachable form that you write in the amount, your account number, and your signature. You drop it in the slot and off you go. Now how cool is that? No checks to order, ever! No waiting in line at a store while someone writes a check. Like us, Germans use cash, credit, or debit cards; otherwise, all bills are paid directly by the bank. It couldn't be any easier.
We have a lot to learn from our German friends.