Friday, February 21, 2014

The Kindness of Germans



[Germans have this stereotype of being cold, rude and humorless. I’m not sure where this comes from, but after eight months of living here, I simply don’t agree. This is my new column where I will share stories of my friendly encounters with German people!]

**
It was 5pm and raining. My shopping had taken me less time than I originally thought and now I had an hour to kill before meeting the ladies for our Conversation Group.

The rain was coming down hard now, so I duck into the nearest bar, Paulaner. A dark wooded bar ornamented with the Bavarian flag- very Oktoberfest-esque. I take a seat at the bar and the bartender probably asks me something like, “Was würden Sie gerne trinken?” He’s a jolly man; wearing old wire rimmed glasses and his hair a long, white scraggly mess.

I smile and ask him for a dry red wine.  He brings me back the typical German banquet pour. I read and people watch for the next hour, noticing how this must be the old man hangout. There are at least four other gentlemen sitting alone at the bar. They all know each other and the bartender, shouting and laughing, some demanding refills.

Once I finish my glass, I gather my things and pay the friendly floppy head as he leans in and says to me, “My English…not good… but I try.”

“Ok.” I smile.

“Last week…American girl sat at bar,” he pauses and closes his eyes briefly as he finishes, “Beautiful!

I smile and nod.

“And then this week…. Here you are. And…beautiful!”

I laugh.

“Every week, beautiful American girls sitting at my bar.”

“Seems you’re on a lucky streak.” I tell him flattered.

“You understand me?” he asks.

“Yes, yes. Your English is good.” I assure him.

I walk back into the raining feeling genuinely complimented.

* * * *

(The above abstract map is of Munich from an amazing Etsy Artist. Their stuff is really great- I recommend checking it out. Maps from all over the world are available.)

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