Lisa's week: A Reminder
My mum will be arriving later today for a short visit over the weekend. Of course, I’m really looking forward to that, and it will be lovely to see her and spend some time with her.
However, one of the things that happen when she’s here, is that I realise just how long I’ve lived in Germany (15 years 7 months and counting). She notices stuff or comments on the little things about the day-to-day here that I just don’t notice any more. I’ve very much integrated myself into the German way of life and follow the “rules” – both spoken and unspoken – of a social existence in my adopted home country. But the outside perspective reminds me of how different it is to the UK in some ways.
For example: I always have a lot of fun taking her out to the local shopping centre, for example. It’s just a few hundred metres but we need to cross four pedestrian crossings. As all good Germans, we press the button and wait for the little red man to change to the little green man to indicate that it is safe for us to cross the road. Sometimes you have to wait for a whole 30 (!!) seconds. Sometimes there might not even be a car in view but there we all are, standing and waiting to be “allowed” to cross the road. This drives my mum crazy! She can’t understand why we don’t just cross – there is no car to be seen after all. But there we all are, at the side of an empty road, waiting. I can almost feel her stress levels rising.
It’s not that we don’t have pedestrian crossings in the UK, or busy roads where it makes sense to stop and wait for it to be safe. It’s just that we often dash out across the road where we see a gap in the traffic or even weave our way through the cars to get to the other side of the road 20 seconds earlier. We also just cross wherever we can, whereas here in Germany, I always try to go to the next crossing. I’m so used to the German way that I often nearly get run over back in the UK when I go home as I’ve lost the habit of crossing in the less structured way.
As a child we all learnt the “Green Cross Code” which was how to look “right, left and then right again” before heading out across the road so it’s not that this is a land without the concept of doing the right thing. It’s just that as we grow up, we also grow out of that habit! Social norms have a lot to answer for.
I’ll be watching out for the other little differences that I notice when she’s here so you can expect me to report back to you again on some more quirks of living here!
Now, take care crossing the road, won’t you?
What is Lisa's week?
"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"
Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday
Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?
Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?
Episode 4: The sound of London
Episode 5: Not just a last resort
Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise
Episode 7: Title talk
Episode 8: The Union Jack
Episode 9: Why Thursday?
Episode 10: Quick tip of the week - Are you watching or just looking?
Episode 11: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness
Episode 12: Don't forget to take you handy to the public viewing!
Episode 13: Up in the Highlands
Episode 14: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends
Episode 15: Pie in the sky
Episode 16: Through the tunnel
Episode 17: Keep left!
Episode 18: Quick tip of the week - Rise vs. raise vs. arise
Episode 19: How do you say that?
Episode 20: Back to School!
Episode 21: Sweet cravings
Episode 22: Can you change a fiver?
Episode 23: Grabbing some "me time"
Episode 24: Typical Mistakes (part 1)
Episode 25: Fancy a cuppa?
Episode 26: Quip tip of the week - Fell vs. fall etc.
Episode 27: Things that go bump in the night!
Episode 28: Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpower, treason and plot
Episode 29: What's that badge you're wearing?
Episode 30: Bless you!
Episode 31: What are you thankful for?
Episode 32: Where's the larget Christmas Market outside Germany or Austria?
Episode 33: What's behind the door?
Episode 34: The joy of a Christmas cracker!
Episode 35: Does it all fit on the table?
Episode 36: Seeing in the New Year
Episode 37: How are your resolutions going?
Episode 38: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends - part 2
Episode 39: What will the Year of the Rooster mean for you?
Episode 40: Sweet Valentine