Tuesday, September 13, 2011

all the small things

Tomorrow, TLS and I are going to try to fly out of there to Baltimore and make our way North to Philadelphia for my cousin's wedding. Right now, I should be packing, but as usual, nothing will actually go into my suitcase until the 11th hour. Of course, it's all in neat little piles ready to go.

While everyone always imagines that you miss the big things (friends, family, etc.) about being back home, sometimes it's really the small, every-day minutae that really make you homesick. Here are the things I'm looking forward to about being back Stateside.

Plastic- credit cards are not as common in Germany as they are in America. As in, everyone has them, but most places don't take them. The processing fees are just too high overseas. We've been to plenty of nice restaurants where you can only pay in cash. Even if your bill is like 100. Considering I used to routinely charge $0.50 refills at Starbucks and hate having cash on me, this took a lot of getting used to!

Ice- as I learned the hard way over at Homburg Hospital, frozen water is an American delicacy. I kid you not. There was not a single ice cube to be found in the entire building. When you go out to dinner, unless the place really caters to Americans, they will not give you ice in your drink.

Sunday- have I mentioned that the entire country pretty much shuts down on Sunday? I'm really looking forward to just going into a store on a Sunday. I might be really crazy and even pay with a credit card!

Reasonable Drink Prices- for soft drinks here, the prices are insane! The glasses are teeny tiny and a large beer will end up being 0,50-2€ cheaper than a soda. And don't even think about such a crazy thing as free refills.

Delivery- when I lived by myself, I hardly ever cooked. I hate cooking for one. 95+% of the time I did delivery. Since I haven't been doing great and can't stand for long periods lately, cooking has not been an option for me. For the past month, we have lived off takeout and meals that my friends have prepared for us. (Y'all can guess how much weight we've gained from that!) I don't know if it's because we live in a small town as opposed to living in NYC, but there aren't a lot of choices for delivery in the area. (Two pizza places and a Chinese place. But who's counting?) The majority of places do takeaway. And of course, the delivery places don't take credit. Naturally. One day, I'm just looking forward to being able to get sushi delivered to our hotel or my mom's house and pay by credit.

Starbucks- I grew up in Manhattan, the land of one Starbucks directly across the street from another Starbucks. Here, the closest one is about 25 minutes away. For us, it's become a treat rather than a 10x a day occurrence. (Yea, I earned that gold card a little too quickly.) Plus, the drink prices are more number-wise here than they are in the States and the prices are in Euro. (Think $4.50 for an iced tea.) And no such thing as a $0.50 refill. But at least they put ice in your drink!

no VAT- sales tax is essentially 19% here. On everything that isn't food. This adds up fast.

not looking like an idiot in stores and restaurants- I only know "supermarket German"- words I learned by reading labels in the supermarket. It will be nice to converse without having to say sprechen zie Englisch? in a questionable accent. 

mani/pedis- the first thing I do when I land, and the last thing I do before I fly out is always to get a mani/pedi in the States. After trying out around 4 or 5 salons, I still cannot find one that does as good a job as an American place. And the prices here are crazy expensive. Around 40-60€ for a basic mani/pedi. I hate the euro.


  1. I'm with you on the ICE! It's something I truly missed in Mexico. I had a filter on our fridge to make ice and everyone was amazed.

    SOOOO sorry I forgot you were coming to Baltimore!! You could try Woodberry Kitchen or Petit Louis for restaurants.

  2. Different countries do things so weird! It leaves us realizing things we miss about the US and certain things we wish we did like them!

  3. Oh the ice thing is HORRIBLE! I was in the UK in July 2006 and it was the hottest summer they'd had in 30 years! We had to ask for ice and then they only gave you a few cubes. That was one of the things that drove me nuts!

  4. Have a great trip!! Enjoy Philly! I have tons of suggestions of things to do/see if you need!

  5. still catching up with all of the blog posts from when i was away...

    i hope you found a great dress for the wedding! i'm sure you did, you have excellent taste.

    i'm SO sorry to hear about this APO madness. what terrible mail service!!

  6. there is a hard adjustment at first, but i promise- you will learn to adapt to it, expect it, understand it... and eventually- LOVE it. :) haha, it's funny- but it happens!