100 things I’ve learnt in Frankfurt
Due to me being a complete geek with numbers (I get it off my mum!) and using one of my favourite websites – Wolfram|Alpha – I’ve worked out that today is my 100th day in Frankfurt. And what better way to celebrate than with a fun blog post around the number 100.
Here are the 100 things I’ve learnt in the 100 days I’ve spent in Frankfurt. It’s going to be quite a spontaneous list, sometimes about Frankfurt itself, sometimes about German culture, perhaps even sometimes about myself. There’ll be positive things, and probably negative things, and maybe bits in between. So let’s see how we go.
1. Apfelwein, at first, was a decent replacement for cider. My opinion has however changed in the meantime after having cider followed by Apfelwein in the same evening. It’s so, so sour…
2. If you ask about typical Frankfurt foods, chances are the first you’ll hear is about it “Grüne Soße”. Guys… it’s a sauce with some herbs in, it’s really not that special… and it’s not that bad tasting, I guess, with a good Schnitzel!
3. Going on the Zeil (the main shopping street) on a Saturday is like… like… well, I can’t even compare it to anything. It’s horrific. Imagine every person in Frankfurt being on one street. I stick to shopping after work on evenings!
4. Frankfurt loves burger restaurants. And so do I, so we’re all happy.
5. If you need a nickname because you’re the third Dan at work, try going to a bar where the lady working at the bar claims she only speaks Hessisch (the local dialect). Chances are you’ll misunderstand what she says to you and you’ll tell her your name is Jan. No, I don’t know how it happened, but some people at work do now call me Jan or even JanDan. It’s catchy and I respond to it now!
6. Having a colleague whose girlfriend works at Nintendo is incredibly cool, especially when you’re invited to a Mario Kart afternoon with other colleagues of Nintendo and one of them has their name on the credits of Mario Kart.
7. Don’t mix up the words “hinter” (back/behind, such as back of a book) and “hintern” (backside). You’ll get laughed at at work.
8. Best Worscht in Town, from my experience so far, really does do the best sausage in town.
9. The Main is one of my favourite places. But only when it used to be warm when I first arrived…
10. Looking for a flat is extremely stressful, even after having already done it in Hannover a couple of years ago. But it somehow all feels worth it when you find a perfect flat share round the corner from where you’re currently staying! The move was so stressful… I had a whole two suitcases and had to work a whole 2 minutes down the road. Wasn’t even allowed a day off work for it – the cheek of it!
11. I said it last time and I’m saying it again – I’ve done Oktoberfest now. Two times is enough times.
12. Being sent off to Braunschweig to the headquarters for a 3-day training course is so much fun. All paid for trip to the north of Germany – what more could you want?! But next time Braunschweiger Burgers will hopefully be open so I can enjoy tasty burgers with Elsa.
13. Even though it was more than a year since I last saw him, seeing Fabi was one of the biggest highlights of my time in Germany so far. He’s such a slugweasel, but we love him.
14. Always be prepared for rain. Especially when you go to a flea market at the other side of the river and it starts chucking it down and you’re armed with no rain jacket nor an umbrella. I thought it was the end for us all for a few seconds.
15. Wiesbaden apparently really likes rapping. Be it on the streets or at an open air festival.
16. You can apparently have too much coffee. Silly Jan drank loads at work one day and felt ill for the rest of the evening. No more coffee for Jan.
17. Schupfnudeln, Speck, Zwiebeln and Gouda are SO DAMN GOOD and my favourite thing to eat right now.
18. Game of Thrones is amazing.
19. I forgot how much I loved getting addicted to video games – Hyrule Warriors is so good! But apparently I can’t seem to sit for hours on end playing them like I used to so easily do when I was younger…
20. Swedish is a fun language but pronunciation-wise pretty damn difficult. Nevertheless, I shall continue learning before my trip to Uppsala next month!
21. I think this is the first time in the history of my life that I have not met anybody who has the same birthday as me. Nobody at work, none of my friends.
22. Being invited to a recording studio to be recorded for an English exam is even more fun than it sounds, especially when you attempt to throw in a bit o’ Yorkshire in there. (OK, so I said “train” with a bit of a Yorkshire twang and that’s it. But when you’re put in a room with a microphone and headphones the phone voice comes on automatically!)
23. Having a Rewe (a German supermarket) right next to work is very useful, especially when they have Haribo or Ritter Sport on offer.
24. People here are obsessed with the Skyline view. When I was searching for a flat, there were loads of mentions of the rooms having the “Skyline-Blick” right from the window. I mean, it’s nice. But I don’t think I want to pay loads for just that view. I’m quite happy watching people hanging out their washing on their balconies, thanks. (I’m not really. It can be a bit awkward if they see me).
25. Frankfurt is so expensive in terms of rent. Little naive me came along with Hannover prices in my head. Nope. Safe to say I had a lucky find though and am only spending half of my intern wages on my rent… It could’ve been a lot worse!
26. Sitting on exercise balls instead of computer chairs at work is so much more fun. And in the time I’ve been working here there haven’t yet been any accidents.
27. Having to write a dialogue for a DVD exercise is really cool, especially when you see said finalised video and it’s beautiful! Good ol’ Grandpa Phil in Hyde Park.
28. It’s a rewarding feeling having your name published in a book at the front. Even though it was the worst thing I’ve had to do at work because I had to change any British English into American English (It’s colour, not color… geez!).
29. I miss my normal ingredients for making a lasagna. Gouda cheese on top just isn’t the same. And cheddar is scarce and expensive here.
30. It is extremely exciting when you walk in to a Terry’s Chocolate Orange sat on your desk from your colleague who has been in England for a few days. Thank you!
31. I forgot how many Germans smoke compared to how many people smoke in England. Why haven’t they got a smoking ban in public places here yet? I don’t want to have to wash my clothes every time I’ve been on a night out, or even just a quiet night at a bar.
32. Frankfurt is really good for transport. I have 3 options of getting to the main station from my house.
33. Said options are limited when Deutsche Bahn is striking. Which seems to be quite often as of late…
34. Birthdays at work are fun because people bring in tasty homemade treats. This does mean I need to bring in a tasty homemade treat next month… Where’s Heane when you need her?!
35. When you have a viewing for a flat share and the people currently living there start being passive aggressive to each other in front of you about missing Nutella, you know to decline.
36. I’ll never understand why banks here in Germany have different banks for each area. I had to close my Sparkasse Hannover account and then open a new account with Frankfurter Sparkasse. Why, Germany, why?
37. It’s a small world. One of my colleagues taught at the school my sisters went to in Goole (of all places). And she also comes from a small German town two of my friends stayed in for a night after they missed their flight. Fate has brought us together, I think.
38. The locals here don’t seem to understand personal space, to the extent that one guy decided to pass over a big bottle of lemonade over my head on an escalator because he couldn’t wait 5 seconds longer until him and his friend got to the top.
39. I forgot how painful it was to get to an underground stop and see that the next train is going to arrive in 3 minutes or more. Wasting my time all this waiting!
40. The littlest things can bring people together. In my case, my wonderful colleague Amy and the fact that I learnt a little bit of Dutch… and boom, our friendship blossomed.
41. Federweißer (a kind of young wine) is extremely tasty!
42. The one guy working at my local Netto needs to cheer the hell up and actually look at you when he speaks to you rather than mumbling and looking at the queue of people behind me. I’ve started standing in a longer queue if it means not being served by him.
43. Gleitzeit, or “flexihours”, is a wonderful thing. I still have about 5 and a half hours of overtime! But I’ll use them when I have plans at some point…
44. The flea market here is quite nice, but somehow not as a quaint as the one in Hannover.
45. Festivals here are weird and generally seem to last just one weekend, making every Frankfurter go there on every night. Too busy for my liking.
46. It’s fun watching the parcel men at work guess what my name is when I say “Walker” in my British accent. So far, I’ve seen them write “Welke”, “Velke” and even “Mohm”. (Nope, I don’t know how he got “Mohm” either).
47. Germans are obsessed with wishing people Guten Appetit. It’s nice, but when the 5th person says it to you and you have to say “danke” it gets pretty tedious – I just want to eat!
48. Sending memes to each other is a fun way to pass the time in between work at work. But shh, don’t tell anyone.
49. There seems to be a lot of protests and similar things here in Frankfurt. They just add to the stress of Saturdays.
50. There’s an Urban Outfitters which really excited me. But they don’t do student discount I don’t think. Boo.
51. Ask about prices before immediately ordering a cider at an Irish pub, or you may well have to pay 6€ for one bottle of Magners. It still hurts thinking about it.
52. Sometimes the best part of a club are snacks on the bar. Extremely addictive!
53. I’m glad there’s a McDonalds right in the centre of town. It’s a good place to end the night.
54. Open mic nights are fun. Especially ones you don’t expect which include small plays!
55. I’m not that good at billiards.
56. Phone calls in English with people you don’t know for work purposes are horrible. Never mind in German.
57. Even if you’ve taken your opponent’s Queen, they may still win the game of chess. God damn it.
58. Spontaneous nights out are the best nights out.
59. Trips to Ikea are fun. Probably due to the Köttbullar.
60. “I’ll eat half the pizza now and the other half for lunch tomorrow” – by far easier said than done.
61. Always read labels before offering vegetarians or vegans Haribo, or it gets awkward. I’m just lucky I have friendly colleagues…
62. Apparently having the surname Walker gets people excited because of the whiskey “Johnnie Walker”, including your boss, who gets even more excited when you tell him your dad is, in fact, called John.
63. The Messe here is humongous and you can easily get lost in it. Especially if you look for a room number which turns out doesn’t actually exist because you misread the map. D’oh.
64. I miss student life. It was so stressful, but it was so much fun.
65. People don’t tend to get as excited here at the fact I’m English. The city is international enough to be used to it…
66. Looking for a nice bar near the city centre is surprisingly more difficult than expected. And watch it out for leather dungeon bars. Wow, that was a close one.
67. Bonfire night was just as sad as it was 2 years ago in Hannover. So awkwardly quiet and firework-free…
68. Pretending to be interested in a book whose author you’re sat in front of at a meet-and-greet is surprisingly easier than expected. Thankfully.
69. It’s surprisingly easier to draw a normal-looking face than expected. You just need someone to go through it with you.
70. I missed the ease of having the same plugs as all the sockets around me.
71. I still haven’t been to Dunkin’ Donuts (sorry, Jonny).
72. I still enjoy telling Germans all the gender rules I know of their language. Most of their reactions are brilliant when they realise the rules are actually true.
73. A common first world pain at work is deciding where to go for lunch. Turkish? Pizza Hut? Subway? Rewe? Japanese? Burger? Currywurst? Takeaway? (And if so, pizza? Thai? Indian?). You get the gist.
74. Don’t fall for the 1€ for a Jägershot trap. Ugh.
75. You can very often see aeroplanes in the sky in Frankfurt. In my old flat you could see one out of the kitchen window nearly every time you looked out.
76. There are an extremely large amount of buskers dotted around Frankfurt.
77. Making up solutions for a “Workbook with Solutions” book is so much harder than I imagined.
78. After living in Frankfurt, I have 3 more Bundesländer to visit before I’ve been to them all. One of them is Rheinland-Pfalz which is incredibly close…
79. I don’t think I’ll ever understand why Frankfurt has so many tourists.
80. Having your hair cut by an American is much less scary than by a German.
81. Germans really do love numbers. I’ll never get over how much detail they put into measurements. “How far away is Wiesbaden?” An English answer: “About 45 minutes”. A German answer: “About 30 kilometres”… But how long does 30 kilometres take me?!
82. Having a dog in the office is so much fun. I miss Lola!
83. Photo-A-Day is incredibly hard when all you do is go to work all day and chill in the evening…
84. Rewe salads are pretty damn good.
85. Why is it so easy to know I want to do a masters but so hard to know what I want to do a masters in?
86. The sound of coins being collected on Mario Kart is exciting enough to wake me up and get me out of bed (I’m so sad).
87. A day at work can go from amazing to crap as quick as it can go from crap to amazing. Bloody rollercoaster sometimes! It was more steady at university!
88. I don’t understand why Frankfurt stops its transport running for a few hours in the night. Even a small city like Hannover had trams running every hour early in the morning. Here they just have night buses.
89. If you google “I love Germany”, my old blog comes up! That’s pretty exciting.
90. I would apparently need to pay for and do a German test if I were to apply for a masters here in Germany which is taught German. Because my degree in German isn’t good enough proof..?! Grr.
91. Do I regret paying £18 for a Megabus back to England in December? No. Will I regret it when I’m sat on a bus for several hours overnight? Probably.
92. A club night with the “word” oriental in the name is as strange as it sounds. There’s just something not easy about dancing to “turkish remixes” of popular songs…
93. If you meet someone for the first time and start throwing insults at each other after about half an hour, you know you’ve got off to a good start.
94. Is it weird that I miss carpets? Germans don’t do carpets. My feet get cold.
95. I also miss roast dinners but we won’t go into that because it makes me feel sad.
96. Though it only got me a little blackboard last year, the fact that you can collect points when buying train tickets with your BahnCard makes travelling that little bit more worth it.
97. Living in the big, scary world brings big, scary decisions. More about that later (I know I keep saying that but I don’t want to say anything official yet as I’m not sure myself what’s happening).
98. Living on an intern wage is so much harder than living on a student wage with all the bursaries and loans and grants.
99. I don’t quite think Frankfurt has stolen my heart like Hannover did. Which is quite a shame.
100. Wem der Mist bis zum Hals steht, der sollte den Kopf nicht hängen lassen.
And thus I think I shall celebrate my 100th day in Frankfurt with a walk along the Main. And probably an evening of video games and Game of Thrones books!
Ich wünsche Euch allen ein schönes Wochenende!