Last week I took a class through ACS (Army Community Services) here on base - it was a free class and sounded kind of interesting. It was called Culture College 101 and was open to soldiers and family members. Andy was busy working, so I went by myself. It was mostly me and a bunch of soldiers. But oh well. I found a few people to talk to and learned some things about German culture that made it worthwhile.
We had a little bit of class time which included a light German breakfast and a game of Jeopardy with facts about Germany and German culture. Then we left the classroom. We walked down to the local bus station, learned how to read the bus schedule and take the bus. We took it to a larger town nearby and went to an old German restaurant. At the restaurant, we learned some German words and how to order, and a few other things like the fact that in Germany (and in most of Europe) they eat with the fork in their left hand and the knife in their right. We practiced what we learned and I ordered a delicious pork meal that was a specialty there - which I ate with my fork in my left hand like a European. I had a much easier time with that than a lot of people in the class - finally being left handed was an advantage!
The class was a two day class and the next day we learned about the German train system and took a train trip to Barefoot Park. I'm going to do another post about the park since it was a pretty interesting and I have a lot of photos. The lady who took us on the trip was German and was really neat to talk to - she works at ACS part-time to help with the Culture College and teaches German language and she teaches at a local school and owns a quilting shop downtown. She made the trip a lot of fun and I learned a lot just from talking with her and asking a lot of random questions.
A few other random things from the class:
- Germany is a very rules oriented society. They have had following the rules ingrained in them and have a hard time understanding why we or anyone would think that "rules are made to be broken".
- Germans aren't really trying to be rude - they are usually just a little tougher to get to know. Like M&Ms - a thick shell....but once you break through their shell, they are friendly and warm and really want to get to know you and talk about deep topics such as politics, religion, values, philosophy, etc.
- Buses, trains, public transportation in Germany is usually very on-time (and really nice!)
- Germany is known for efficiency.