I just got back from Germany. It was a work boondogle. I had no important meetings. My boss just dragged me over there to “meet people.” I am not a huge fan of meeting people. I am sure in the long run, it will lead to better working relationships, but in the short term, it was a nuisance. Here are my random observations of Germany (I was here once before 9 years ago and I barely remember it. So let’s consider this my first visit)
My office (which is a huge campus of 20 buildings) is so eco-friendly that most of the time, people work only by light through the windows (and it was very cloudy all week.) They have the option to turn on the lights but they don’t. I feel like I spent the entire week in the dark! I pointed out to the team that they were sitting in the dark and they just looked at me blankly (I got a lot of that this week!) Is NYC unusually bright, perhaps? I need light. It was weird.
They eat pickles for breakfast and have an abundance of processed meats. That is awesome.
The food was very salty. I could not get enough water.
Speaking of water, what is up with the bubbles! Not a fan. No gas is how I roll.
The Riesling is less sweet there. I wasn’t planning to drink, but the next point led me to be very bored at our evening events, so I did put a few back.
Germans are really serious. I know it’s not good to generalize, but I met way more serious Germans this week than not so serious ones. Small talk was like pulling teeth. I mentioned this to my boss and she said it is because they feel so guilty about killing all of the Jewish people. I was mortified that she said this out loud where people could hear her (we were luckily back in the US in line at customs). I just shook my head and pretended she didn’t say it. You know, like because we are so serious here in the US because we feel guilty about the slaves?
Those serious Germans are efficient and organized. Love that! At the airport, instead of piling up bins at the end of the security lane and having someone carry them back to the start of the line (how many times have you had to wait for someone to bring more bins?) they have a special conveyor belt for the bins that sends them back! How cool is that? I loved it so much I took a picture.
Everyone eats the same thing for lunch in our Germany office. I was expecting them to point out the sandwich line and the hot meal line and the salad bar. Nope. Everyone gets in the salad line first. Then they all move to the main course line and can select from two options for the day (one vegetarian, one meat) and two veggie options. Then everyone grabs dessert (choice of two). Everyone eats in the cafeteria. You are not ALLOWED to bring food out of the cafeteria and eat at your desk. Not ALLOWED. This all takes about 45 minutes and they end lunch with “shall we get a coffee”? And then they get coffee and sit and chat for a while before going back to their desk. I, of course, skipped the coffee and went back to work. Fascinating. I have to say, it was kind of relaxing to not have so many options once I got over the shock of it.
It was too cold and rainy and windy to do much exploration…so my observations are limited to my office, the Marriot Heidelberg, and the airport. I think I pretty much summed it up.