We have seen a lot of ‘How to piss off someone from…’ posts (I even wrote one: How to piss of someone from Bangkok) but not many of those posts actually covered how to piss off a non native living in a certain area. This might be the case because as an expat you are thought to be careful and blend in and adapt to the culture that you are ‘invading’. Nevertheless, especially considering that it’s 2014, not only expats should adapt to local culture, locals should also understand that expats might be different and not always piss us off by doing one of the following things – from a German expat’s perspective.
Germany? You know Hitler?
I stopped counting how many times I came across that question. Yes, I know Hitler. In fact we’re best buddies and used to hang out when I was younger. WTF? This question is also very often followed up by “You think he was bad?”. Not even dignifying this with an answer. So yes, we all know about our history, no, we don’t want to kill everybody else – unless you ask us about Hitler.
Bayern Munich! Matthaeus! Ballack! Schewei…Schewei…Scheweischeteiger!
I hate Bayern Munich. So do 83% of German football fans. I’m happy you know something about German football and not only praise those inferior teams from this funny island with the bad food close to mainland Europe. However it might not be the best idea to ask someone from outside of Munich whether he likes Bayern. This might be your first and last question you ask a German expat since he might start pouting right away.
You do not look German!
I know it may come as a surprise but since that dude mentioned in the beginning wasn’t as successful as (he) planned we do not all have blond hair and blue eyes. In fact Germany has a very high immigration rate and almost every city has plenty of multi-cultural citizens. So sorry to burst the bubble but we do not all look like the stereotype.
Alright. We are in your country. I get it. So we should obey to your rules. Yes. And if coming late is one of those accepted habits, we should live with it. But if you set up a meeting with us which indicates you want to meet us please make sure you do not arrive to late. We will be on time (10 minutes early) therefore you should not be 15 minutes (or 30) late. Otherwise it might get very hard for you to get what you want from us. Not because we try to get revenge but because we will be disappointed and we won’t be sure we can trust you.
Serve us German food
First: It’s not going to taste like home. It’s just like I would serve a Thai person Thai food in Germany. It wouldn’t be the right spicy, the right rice, or whatever. Same for us. Just because it looks like a sausage doesn’t mean it tastes like a sausage from home (I don’t even eat a lot of sausages. Who came up with this stereotype?) – you get the point.
Second: We’re in a foreign country for a reason. We are usually not running around looking for the next KFC or BK or German restaurant. We want, yes really, we want to experience local culture and cuisine. So there is no need to take us to the closest German bar, restaurant or beer garden. We’re good, thx.
Tell us all other Germans are our friends by default
“There is this other german Guy I know. You will be friends” or “I know this one other German guy XYZ, do you know him?” – There are 82 million of us. Chance we know the one other German you know are not very high. Furthermore, related to the point mentioned before, we do go abroad for a reason and that is usually not to hang out with even more Germans. It’s not that we hate each other or so but we are here (abroad) to, again, learn different cultures, meet different people. Usually you will not see Germans running around looking for other Germans (with well known, obvious, exceptions – but that can be found in every nationality). We usually do not even speak German when there are other nationalities around. We accept that we’re in a foreign country. We even appreciate it. No need to hook us up with any further Germans. We’ll see them again at home anyways.
Honestly, I am baffled by the fact that so many foreign people I met on my travels have been carrying a ‘native dress’ around. Every time there are events or parties with ‘native themes’ lots of peeps pull out their native dresses and represent their country. Well. Firstly Lederhosen do not represent Germany. If it would represent a country, cliche wise, it would probably be Austria (the small Germany next to real Germany). In Germany itself Lederhosen are mostly home to the province of Bavaria. And while I am from Bavaria (if there is now a German sitting next to you he/she probably says something like ‘Bavaria is not ‘real’ Germany’ – tell him/her to shut up or, better, punch him – not her though.) I, and many of my friends, do not own a single Lederhosen. We never did and we never will. The only moment in time you wear a Lederhosen is probably when you go to the Oktoberfest and since most sane people don’t like hanging out in overcrowded places with overpriced beer those people do not own the aforementioned stereotypical German native dress.
Scheisse! Not Funny & harsh language
Not quite sure why but most people immediately start to swear in German when they find out that I am from Germany. At least “Scheisse” is something that most people are able to somehow utter. While I also know how to swear in different languages I still don’t see the need to do that in front of native speakers for no reason.
Another point regarding our language is that it is supposed to be “harsh”. And, admittedly, while Rammstein does come from Germany we also are home of some of the most brilliant poets what proves that it might sound harsh to the untrained ear but contains a lot of expressional power.
Alright rest of the world. Here we go now. Down the serious road. Ever since starting to travel I have seen a lot (I don’t really do this usually but let’s do the “web 2.0 emphasis”: A LOT) of 3rd Reich and Nazi shit abroad. In Asia way more than in other countries but even a little is way to much. Shirts with the Nazi Swastika (don’t try to bullshit me here like “the Swastika per se is not a Nazi sign” – I’m from THAT (did it again!) country – we know “our” signs when we see them) on it are among the more “harmless” stuff. My latest highlight: “Nazi TV” in Thailand. Amazing. Not (!).
Why does that piss us off? Well we learn for our entire school life how bad “we” have been back then what leads us to act extremely political correct. Like mentioned earlier we usually don’t speak to much German when other nationalities are around, we don’t run around and say we are ‘proud of our country’ (started to change a bit during World Cup 2006) or stuff like that. We can usually take all the jokes that you throw at us but if you actually act like stupid idiots by wearing or praising (just saw someone on instagram posting a picture of Hitler and quoting him as ‘inspiration’) the shit that happened back then we might lose it and start a Blitzkrieg against your failed education. Verdammte Scheisse.
Being afraid of us
So now you did it! You made the German angry! Mad. OMG! (once you’re into this webby writing style it’s hard to leave it alone again). We don’t even need to be really angry – even if we just explain something in a very enthusiastic way (for us) people very often think “damn, he’s mad” what usually leads to the receiving party being afraid and stop talking or avoiding confrontation. According to the famous list “What I know about Germans” we are very “fair” and want everything to be “right” – so simply avoiding confrontation and then act as if nothing happened after a while won’t work. So don’t try this with your German homie.
Try to drive or park a car
Well actually that does not piss us off to much, it’s more amusing. We spend lots of time and money in driving schools in order to master the art of driving and parking to perfection. You probably just had to drive around an empty parking lot with your automatic car to get your license. So the first few minutes of watching or seeing you drive (not even mentioning parking now) are going to be quite amusing. After a while though you will see us getting tired or bored of your attempts to navigate your car around traffic or find the right way (again, not mentioning parking!). Also those excuses a la “I’m not used to look at the map while driving” or “I never really practiced parking like this” won’t help your cause. In order to save you the embarrassment why not save the environment and….walk?!
Is that to much to consider? Well don’t be afraid young German Expat Padawan. Actually we do not get pissed to easily. Except when we’re angry, or mad, or you try to drive. Scheisse!