CONTRIBUTED BY LUCY B.
Sometimes it’s just not your day. You need to file some paper at some German office and you keep getting the runaround. You just want to buy a few groceries and it seems like everyone is pushing you out of their way and huffing and sighing over your turn at the checkout. The people on the sidewalk seem to be jumping three feet in the air to leap over your stroller so they can cross the street two seconds earlier than you do. Every grandma on every corner tisk-tisks you for taking your kid out without mittens on. What should you do when you’re just sick of it?
1) Remember that you would have bad days no matter where you lived. Sometimes it’s Germany, and sometimes it’s just the universe. As my dad has always said, “There are jerks everywhere.” Try to keep things in perspective.
2) Minimize your frustrations. Learn a little German and focus on the phrases you need the most. Language books tend to be focused on tourists and study abroad college students and you’re probably neither of those. Rather than learn, say, classroom phrases, try to learn phrases you need for shopping, asking for help, what to say when someone is in your way or you bump into them, for example.
3) Try not to apologize too much. It’s seen as a sign of weakness. If someone bumps into you, let them say sorry.
4) Say something horrible (inside your head only). It’s not legal to flip the bird or incite others to violence (by challenging them to a fight, for example).
5) Vent on one of the many forums dedicated to just that. Try googling “Why are Germans so…” and you’re bound to find one you like. Try not to wallow too long, though. Focusing on the negative and griping on the internet all day gets old pretty fast.
6) Smile and nod. Pretend like you’re having a great day. If someone is giving you a lecture, this will probably tick them off much more than any witty retort you could come up with.
7) Drink a really nice beer or eat a pastry or a great piece of chocolate. See? Germany isn’t all bad.
Have you wondered how culture shock is affecting you? Here is another Germany Ja article about overcoming the culture shock of living overseas.
Note: Click photo for source.