Germany / USA Cross-cultural information December 2013

Coming at this from the American side, most of what I discover about the Germans they already know.  There are some other YouTube videos out there about this.  Some are simple video clip German lessons, often made by exchange students who used some of their free time ‘constructively’ and did things like make language education videos instead of just getting drunk in local bars or staying sober and playing loads of “fooz ball” in the student lounge.  I have watched some of them and found them helpful.

There are some bands that even Americans knew about.  In all my childhood I heard of course about Beethoven, Wagner, Bach, Mozart – all Germans, but of contemporary bands in the rock world:  Nina Hagen, the Scorpions and Einsturzende Neubaten are the only German bands I believe I ever heard of…and two singles that have any German in them at all:  Neuen und neuenzig lufballons, in one song, Alles klar Herr Kommissar / Der Kommisar’s in town – oh yeah, that’s English again.  Anyway, that was “it” for German bands in America in the 1980s and 1990s.  The last time I was there in 2010 and 2013 that hadn’t changed.  There is some polka rumored to have come from Southern Germany.

Up here in Northern Germany they aren’t running around in Lederhosen, and don’t have the giant horns for playing on the sides of mountains. 

The topography of Germany is very much like the American state of Indiana, where there are a lot of Americans with German great grandparents: there are hills and mountains in the South but up North it is flat, flat, flat and a bit windy.  Southern Germany is more mountainous than the South of Indiana and the North of Germany may be even flatter than North Indiana (we may need a level to judge it properly) but both have wind farming nowadays.  North Germany so far 2010 – 2013 seems warmer in the Winter than Indiana but breezier.  The wind is sometimes scary due to how strong it is, which is more encouragement to continue the wind farming. 

The people in Indianapolis, Indiana are pretty friendly and rather direct and straightforward – they say it actually is partly or entirely because so many of the Americans there have German ancestors and so even though they are Americans they act a little more like the Germans than some of the other Americans. 

Where I grew up in Syracuse NY, just South of Lake Ontario, there were a few people who had German great grandparents – mostly “Bavarians” or Southern Germans, but most Americans there have British – English or the Irish, or Italian great grandparents, but at least 50% have mixed, as Americans so a lot of those Americans – where I grew up are 3rd or 4th generation Americans with one English and one German set of great parents and then someone from “God knows where” – Sweden or a town in Denmark or Mexico or Peru or even Wales or the Netherlands. 

Out in Minnesota they say, there are so many Americans who’s great parents are from Norway and Sweden that out there, they still have people called Sven. 

Anyway, that’s America and North Germany “cross cultural points” for today.

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