Things I Miss About Germany

Nobody saw this post coming, right? 😛

Truth is, Europe was our home for two years. I don’t believe you can spend extended periods of time in any place and leave it exactly the same as you were when you entered it. People and places change you, whether you want it to or not.

For example, Johannesburg has no rules about recycling. It’s something those folks in tune with nature do, but the Joe Averages of the world can ignore. Germany is more rigid when it comes to recycling. For a while, we had to make a conscious choice whenever we went to throw something away. Now, we recycle with our eyes closed.

In the same way, we learned to do many other things as the Germans do. We’ve been in Toronto for almost two months now (WHUT?) and I still get nervous when we near the cash register in the grocery store. Shopping was a huge rush in Germany. You had to get out of the way as soon as you possibly could. This rule doesn’t apply in Canada, where you’ll most likely keep up the line anyway while in random conversation with the cashier. And the folks in line probably won’t get upset about it either.

I don’t miss the rush in line at all, but I do miss some other things.

  • The smell of baking bread.

For every Tim Hortons in Canada, Germany has a bakery. Sometimes, four or five in the same street. As you can imagine, the scent of baking goods really warms up even the rainiest, foggiest of cold days. And I miss it. Timmies isn’t bad, don’t get me wrong, but wonderful as the smell of brewing coffee may be, there’s something magical about baking bread.

  • Amazon Germany

Yes, we have Amazon here in Canada too. For some reason though, the service isn’t the same. In Germany, same day delivery means same day delivery. And if you have a complaint, it’s handled immediately. In a land otherwise not that well known for its customer service, Amazon Germany really excelled in this regard.

Maybe we just have cosmically bad luck, but for some reason our experience with Amazon in Canada has gotten off to a rocky start. Sure, the customer support staff are polite, this is Canada after all, but they’re not that effective. Customer service aside though, when you pay extra for a prime subscription so you can have the stuff you bought online the same or next day, you expect to have it the same or next day, right? So… Take my money and deliver my package on time? Please?

  • Cosmetics and Toiletries

I miss these for two reasons. First, they were so much cheaper! Germany’s personal hygiene products or cosmetics sell for a fraction of the Canadian price. Heck, I’m about to blow your mind – these products were even less expensive in Germany than they are in South Africa. In Rands. Can you imagine how much makeup one former makeup artist could buy at such a low price?

Then, due to the EU’s ban on animal testing in Europe, all of the German brand cosmetics and toiletries were definitely cruelty-free. I really learned to love the freedom of choice, finally able to buy a variety of products that were delivered to our shelves without harm coming to any furry being. Here, with so many products imported from the States and the east, animal testing is probable in most brands. It’s not that much fun navigating this minefield again.

  • Inexpensive, but sturdy

Even the most inexpensive clothing brands offered quality products. In Germany, this brand is Kik. You can expect to pay the minimum for clothes and shoes, but still get good wear out of them. Since I have a growing child in the house, this shop was my go-to for Kayla’s clothes. Most of the stuff we bought would probably only work for one season before the munchkin outgrew them and needed new threads, but many of the too-small clothes have found their way to friends and family in South Africa and are still in service there.

When we find this go-to shop in Canada, we’ll let you know, but so far it has eluded us. 🙂 We’re still learning about this place, so I’m sure it’s out there somewhere. *Suggestions welcome!*

I find it ironic that the stuff I miss seems to be exclusively consumer-driven. Well, not exclusively. The most important thing on this list is the family we left behind. People who came into our lives as strangers, but made a massive impact on us and became our tribe. You know who you are. We miss you.

Thank you for stopping by, have a good Monday and see you again soon.

Yolandie