Surviving in Germany/Überlebenstipps Deutschland

Spiegel Online is preparing a Germany Survival Bible.

bq. If you’re an expat or someone who has spent time in Germany, we want your help. Why do pedestrians wait for the light to change at 3:00 a.m.? Why are the shops closed on Sunday? Is German beer a stereotype or a reality? Why do toilets have shelves? Why do we have to bag our own groceries at the supermarket — assuming we get to the checkout in the first place? And why are there so many dogs on German streets and naked people on German beaches? Are Germans rude? Why are there so many sex shops?

I might not be tempted to enter, but see here:

bq. If you’re an expat blogger in Germany, we’re also happy to consider republishing any blogs you may have written that are appropriate to the Survival Bible. We’ll give you credit and provide a link back to your site.

The trouble is, I’ve never seen myself as what is called an expat. I think of an expat as someone in the diplomatic service who may or may not speak the language of the country where he or she has landed, and who has an offshore bank account, sends children to public school in Britain and will retire in Surrey. But it’s not impossible that Spiegel Online defines the term expat in a different way from me.

Anyway, Spiegel Online thinks the Germans have a fixation with garden gnomes. Yes, they do. They would be surprised to hear that garden gnomes are not a purely German phenomenon. Anyway, here is a photo I took this week outside a one-euro shop in Fürth:


4 thoughts on “Surviving in Germany/Überlebenstipps Deutschland

  1. Hmm, there we differ–for me, as for my Irish peers, expats are just people living abroad, expatriates. Would an Australian living in London be an expat for you?

  2. Margaret, I have to agree there that I’d understand expat to be anybody living long-term outside their home country, not just dips. But just for a laugh, check out “expatriot” on Google and be astonished at the number of hits (and I don’t think they mean Philby, Burgess,
    Maclean & Co).

  3. Well, the diplomatic service was a bit of a comic exaggeration. Certainly Irish and Australians might be expats. I suppose it’s partly that I don’t feel part of any expat community.
    Expatriot is one of the more amusing eggcorns. I seem to have mentioned it to Language Log myself.

  4. Margaret
    I guess I am also an “expat” … but you are correct in a way….the term does seem to have connotations of offshore bank accounts and binge drinking these days. There also seems to be a sense of the temporary, i.e. they all can’t wait to get back to the mother ship for fish & chips, bitter, crisps, tabloids they can understand, up-to-date football results and standing around in pubs with beer dripping onto their new shoes…I know “expats” like that …


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