Monthly Archives: May 2010

This German Life: The Perfect WG

A typical WG-hallway - used for drying laundry and storing stolen neon-backlit beer-advertising

A typical WG hallway - used for drying laundry and storing stolen neon-backlit beer advertisments

For many of us non-Germans in the 20-30 age bracket, one of the best things about living here is, well, how easy it is to live here. By that, I mean: how easy it is to find somewhere to live.

Even Germany’s most overcrowded cities like Munich and Stuttgart are a long way off from London and Paris when it comes to finding a flat, and some of Germany’s coolest cities – like Berlin – are also among its emptiest. A major part of this is the huge extent of flatsharing amongst young people, providing cheap rental space until they are ready to settle into their own flats.

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Bavaria’s finest Dutchmen against the Italian team without Italians

This Saturday, 22nd May, Bayern Munich will be playing in the Champions League final against Inter Milan. Yes, you read right: on a Saturday! It’s unusual, what with Wednesday tending to be the day for European football – but the marketing whizzes from UEFA will no doubt have noticed that Saturday is far better for viewing figures. And we all know that bad TV ratings are a sure way to destroy a good competition.

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Bags Packed, Fingers Crossed: On the Way to the World Cup?

Photo (cc) flickr user moomin lensMy bags were packed, boots polished, jerseys neatly folded. One by one the national team managers announced their squads for the World Cup last week. One by one they reeled off the names, the stars, the personalities; most of whom will be travelling to South Africa for the great party which kicks off in 22 days’ time.

I couldn’t wait to join them. Like an excited puppy on Puppies’ Day, I waited for my name to be called out. I’d been waiting four years for this moment. Since watching the great Zidane walk, head-bowed, past the trophy down the tunnel of Olympiastadion during that fateful final in Berlin, I couldn’t wait to appear on the same stage. “Oh Zizou! I wanna be like Zou too!”

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Meet the Bloggers: Der Irische Berliner

With just 23 days left until the World Cup begins, we thought it was about time to fire up the Young Germany World Cup Blog.  We’ve got writers who will be reporting on World Cup happenings from Pakistan, Ghana, South Africa, Japan, and, of course, Germany.

Our first World Cup blogger is an Irish fellow who fell for Berlin and hasn’t looked back.  Check back tomorrow for his first post.

Irish in Berlin

Ciarán Fahey came to Berlin on St. Patrick’s Day 2008, to live, love, and learn all there was to be lived, loved, and learned in this wonderful city. And for Kürbiskernbrot.

Expecting the school German learned 13 years previously to come flooding back as soon as he stepped on German soil, he was disappointed to find it didn’t. Na ja!

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Ich bin ein Berliner

Berlin, Ick liebe Dir

Berlin, Ick liebe Dir (Flickr: K.a.i.)

Berlin is a marvelous city. The metropolis offers an endless array of cultural events and is admired by many for its international diversity. Every year, Berlin welcomes a large number of tourists from all over the world. And sometimes, they fall head over heels for Berlin, decide to stay and call this their new home. For example the Turkish. Over the course of time, a large number of Turkish immigrants have settled in Kreuzberg, making this the second largest Turkish city by population after Istanbul. Or look at the Swabians, who’ve “invaded” the oh-so-loved Prenzlauer Berg, making it hard for Berliners to find an apartment there anymore. Nonetheless, most Berliners embrace their new neighbours, and in the future we’ll likely grow closer and all live together as one big family…

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Hamburg and the Franzbrötchen: Real Classy

One thing newcomers have got to learn about Germany is the importance of regional identities: That’s why I posted on state elections in Germany just last week. Especially for Brits, the sheer variation between different parts of this country is astonishing; Germany is far more American than British inasmuch as the capital city is not the be-all-and-end-all of everything – and every city has its own identity markers of which it is exceptionally proud.

So just as each American city has a nickname (Chi-Town, the Big Apple, etc) and a baseball team, no German city would be complete without a major football team, a regular episode of the long-running who-dunnit legend Tatort, and a trademark item of baked goods. Germany is, after all, well known for its penchant for baking, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise.

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A Tourist at Home: Wiesbaden, Germany

The Russian Orthodox Church in Wiesbaden, Germany.  Photo (cc) flickr user alles-schlumpfOnce you’ve lived abroad for long enough, you stop noticing the little differences between your home and adopted cultures. Then one day an old friend arrives at the Frankfurt Airport, and you’re back looking at your adopted home through a newcomer’s eyes, through the eyes of the visitor who hasn’t spent the last four years living and breathing German culture.

You stretch and strain, trying to remember how it felt to be new here, to see through a lens of excitement (at all you find exotic), shock (at all that you find strange), and euphoria (at all you find even better than what you are used to at home).

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