Lest my readers get the impression that I think everything over here in Germany is better than in the U.S., I thought I'd mention a few of the things I miss. Obviously I miss my people and spending time with them - my children, parents, extended family, and best friends! Following are the things I miss at times.
Vacuum cleaners with rotating brushesOurs only suck. Pun intended. Granted, we have no carpeting but rather all wood and tile floors. But when it's time to vacuum our area rugs, I switch the floor tool for the carpet tool. Why, I am sure I do not know. The carpet tool still only sucks. It's just bigger than the floor tool and has wheels.
Garbage disposalsUnheard of over here because they wouldn't be legal anyway. We are not supposed to put kitchen junk into our sewers, no matter how ground up it might be. That goes into the Biomüll, of course. What about something like stew, which is too liquidy to go into Biomüll and has chunks of meat and vegetables? You shouldn't be disposing of that anyway. You're in Swabia - food is to be eaten, not wasted. Some people pour thick liquidy things into the toilet. I guess worse things are flushed down there than asparagus cream soup, but in general that practice is frowned upon.
A double sink!
Condensed soupI brought quite a few cookbooks and recipes with me from the U.S., and I never realized how many call for condensed cream-of-something soup. There are lots of soups here, but I haven't found condensed yet. I suspect that's because a good Swabian cook makes his or her own sauce with fresh ingredients and herbs rather than using something some machine in a factory mixed together.
Pam cooking sprayAgain, lots of American recipes tell you to use cooking spray. We use Butterschmalz (ghee), but I did use Pam a lot in the States and was used to it. It's quite convenient, especially when everything is ready to go into the casserole dish, which I forgot to grease.
Wide streets and roadsIf you've ever watched "The Holiday," you have seen Cameron Diaz driving down a narrow road facing an oncoming truck and wondering how they're both going to fit. Even though we drive on the "right" side of the road in Germany, the streets and roads are much narrower than is comfortable for me. I often hold my breath when a semi passes us, though I'm not sure how that helps.
Shoulders on both sides of the roadI have seen shoulders on some sections of the Autobahn, but only thick, short wooden poles on country highways where the speed limit is 100 km/h (62 mph). So if I would edge to the right of the narrow road/lane to inch away from an oncoming semi or bus, I would slam into at least one of these poles. There is little wiggle room on Germany highways.
The photo on the right shows a country road rather than a highway. Clearly the pole in the foreground has already been hit at least once. The speed limit here is 70 km/h (45 mph). Martin says it used to be 100 km/h (62 mph), and it still is just around this bend.