Your Ideas

So, here's our logic:

If you've read this far, you must be a little bit interested in 'Lifeswap', and if you're a little bit interested in 'Lifeswap', it must mean that you have had some experience of either Germans, Kiwis, their countries, their national values, dress sense, idea of a good time etc... and if you have had some experience, we would love for you to leave your thoughts here.

In the 'Comments' box below, please write what it is that you have noticed about either folk. If possible, a difference between the two.

Oh, and keep it light hearted. The spirit of this project is celebration of the bizarre, wonderful, subtle and funny differences between German and Kiwi ways of seeing the world rather than a debate about which country has got it right or wrong!

42 comments:

  1. As a foreigner in NZ (I'm American) I'm always keen to hear foreigner stories in NZ. A friend of mine, who's Filipino, had trouble when he first migrated to NZ. For some reason, everyone kept calling him 'Mike' even though that's not his name. It took some time before he realized they were calling him 'mate'!

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  2. What I really like in New Zealand is, that everyone says 'thank you' to the bus driver, when they get off the bus. That wouldn't happen to you in Germany... At least where I live.

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    1. My girlfriend and her sister both say that to me every time we get on the bus haha (kiwi, girlfriend's German)

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  3. Yeah, that's such a signature New Zealand moment.

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  4. I like it how when you go tramping in the South Island you meet more Germans than Kiwis. Once, when my friend Tim and I were stopped for scroggin on the Kepler Track, we heard some German friends we'd made along the way approaching, and we started singing "Deutschland, Deutschland uber alle" in a bid to impress them. They insisted that we must never sing that song!

    Also, the German exchange students in my English classes here in NZ know more about English grammar and syntax etc than the Kiwis do. One boy took the class through iambic pentameter last year...

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    1. Snap! My brother sang that when I skyped him (from Germany) last week. My german friend was listening in the background and got offended, telling me "you must never joke about that with Germans". Oops!

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    2. I find we always find more Germans hiking than Kiwis anywhere in NZ! They often have the Nordic walking sticks for hiking with them too!

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  5. Yes, apart from being a useful example of iambic pentameter, that song will distress more than impress any oncoming Germans.

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  6. Ooh what about the German love of kaffeeklatsch? I am not sure Steffan is an example of this but my other German key homie has been seen to get "testy" come mid-afternoon if he is without access to "a little something sweet". Adorable. And the German love of discotheques and all things dance? Tara

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  7. I can't personally confirm this, but I remember my exchange student once telling me that German people clap for the pilot after a safe plane landing. She was surprised to see that everyone just got off the plane with their stuff without giving a round of applause!

    I'll comment further as I think of things, although I only spent a couple of months in Germany, I'm sure I can dig up something to contribute!

    Is there a mailing list/newsletter of some sort that I can subscribe to for updates? :)

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  8. When my GF arrived in New Zealand she couldn't figure out why the big Maori guy at the airport kept asking if she had any 'fud o foot'.

    After a while she figured out he was asking if she had any food or fruit....

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  9. The Germans that I have met (including my husband and his family) have all been incredibly meticulous! If it were left up to me the vacuuming would only get done every three months, as opposed to every week! Lol, my husband has had to adjust a little to my more lax standards :D and everything has an order and place! From where you put your keys and wallet when you come home to our alphabetised DVD collection :) He always teases me when I lose things saying "if only you put them in the same place..." lol, love it!

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  10. I grew up in Wellington but currently live in Bayern Germany with my husband and two daughters. I have one thing to add to this meticulous theme. Hausschuhe!!! Important part of German attire when at home. There is a proper dress code for all occassions and all seasons, and the hausschuhe is a definite must when in the house (and at school for that matter - at least at my daughter's school).

    ps. I loved episode one, made me laugh! We still get told off at the recyclinghof for putting one type of plastic in the wrong container... as there is grosse and kleine (big difference people!)

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  11. Ha! You must be a little psychic. Hausschuhe will feature in episode three. Thanks for your timely observation!

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  12. How about an episode about "paying to go pee!"? I could not get over how you have to pay to go pee everywhere! I get that peeing on an Autobahnraststätte (another good topic maybe, probably, eventually?) is not free- because everybody stops there just to go pee. But in a shopping centre? Seriously?? And you have to walk miles to find toilets in shopping centers. They are usually in a dungeon like basement or on an abandoned top level (where you would expect a classical Tatort homicide to happen) or in between the staircases. Weird!!

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  13. Matching to wear Hausschuhe in Germany, walking bare foot in the streets in NZ. Some Brazilian friends were shocked to see so many poor people which could not even afford jandals. And a kiwi friend got kicked out of a supermarket in Argentina for this reason.

    Maybe some ideas for an episode where kiwis are following rules Germans not even know they do exist:
    Swimming in lines in a swimming pool, very important!!
    Queuing at bus stations or in general.

    Even if kiwis see themselves very easy going, nudity is included. Only allowed after many beers in a club or while running across a rugby field.
    And at the beach are strict clothings standards, even in comparison to catholic Spain.

    The clapping after the landing on flights I have only experienced if you are on pure tourist flights.

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    1. I haven't been to New Zealand yet but I remember that thing with the swimming lines happening to me in Enland. I think the life guard called us out for three or four times till we got what we're supossed to do. As a German this was very confusing.

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    2. OMG! The lack of Ordnung in the German swimming pool lanes is the one thing that enrages me as would-be laidback Kiwi. They just...waver back and forth doing breaststoke? Sometimes while *chatting*? Aaaaaargh!

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  14. The barbeques/grill in Germany are mostly coal, I don't think I've seen a gas barbie yet.
    And sometimes they knock on the table to say hi and bye to a big group of people.

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  15. How about public transport (trains) in Germany vs here? The other day I crossed the street, only one in 10 cars had more than one person in it. And punctuality of public transport... (a bus driver told me I should take a taxi if I needed to be on time.
    On the other hand the generosity and problem solving of kiwis: I didn't need to take a taxi as the station manager gave me a lift...

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  16. how about sports? Rugby versus soccer

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  17. What about the abundance of free tap water everywhere in NZ verses Sprudelwasser/bottled water in Germany (which always costs more than a beer or coke), and the dirty look you get when you ask for Leitungswasser at a restaurant? Or maybe the German obsession with lüften, even when it's freezing outside. The drinking culture in both countries is also very different. I miss being able to wander the streets in summer with a beer in hand...

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    1. Yes indeed. I was once taken for an infiltrator from the health department when I asked for a tap water in a cafe. The woman who worked there thought I was secretly trying to test for contamination or something. Always a dirty look, as you say. And the Weg Bier. Such a civilized tradition. Then you prop your empty bottle by the nearest bin and a homeless person slips out of the greenery and claims it for Pfand. Such a tight system. Thanks for your tips. They are duly noted!

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    2. Thank you for explaining the bottles by the bins thing! I thought the drinkers were just too lazy or something.. but of course they weren't :)

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  18. That's really interesting. Maybe it has to do with Germans in international environments as I have found queues of Germans in Germany pretty aggressive and impatient, more of a seething puddle around a plug hole! But it is, as you point out, in general a very tight society in terms of obeying the collective expectations in terms of behavior in public. Thanks for your story!!

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    1. I showed my German girlfriend the videos and she's very impressed as she's also been to NZ and knows how it is. Another idea is: It's happened now a few times I was in the bakery and took a few Brötchen using my hands and somone who has seen me has told me I must use the tongs to pick them out of the container, that it's very important for hygiene reasons. No one would ever confront you in NZ! The first time I was very shocked. Thanks again for the great videos!

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    2. Oh my god, the queueing!! Someone told me when I got here that "Germans are very generous people - except when they think you're going to take something away from them" - like a seat on the train. I've seen women with prams, little old ladies and men, just about elbowed out of the way, so that young, able and generally self-involved people can make sure they get in the doors first themselves. The same goes for people with lots of luggage, or crutches, or any other hindrance... It's carnage out there, purely Darwinian survival-of-the-fittest. Brutal.

      I'd give anything for that slightly awkward "You first," "No you first" New Zealand uber-polite boarding conversation from time to time.

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  20. There's a big difference in supermarket checkouts. In NZ, the cashier packs it for you in plastic bags and everyone waits patiently. In Germany, the cashier is just scanning it super fast and you have to be quick to put it into your bag because otherwise the people behind you get annoyed that you're taking so long ;-)

    Also, in NZ you can't buy Quark. I had to make it myself to bake a Quarkkuchen :-D

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  21. My girlfriend and I have a couple of cross atlantic discussions we'd like to indulge in especially in the festival season.

    NZ style bedding consists of at least 16 various layers of fabrics with different purposes were as German bedding is mattress, fitted sheet and a duvet in its cover. I'd like to think the latter is easier to wash, to be kept tidy and more comfortable to sleep in (think crumbled top or bottom sheet).
    My girlfriend takes big pride in bedding, the right order of things and looks. I find 8+ cushions a bit annoying to look after and needing to arrange nicely in the morning.

    The other very interesting topic is NZ lollies. My well observed theory is: You need to have been growing up with those rather untasty and odd sweets in order to like them. No German will get their head (or tongue) around them if they have developed and accustomed an independent sense of taste in their life.

    I'd love to see one of those topics covered. Love your videos.
    cheers

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    1. The Supermarket idea is a great one! Very true, how efficient yet stressful it is in Germany

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  22. Second hand charity shops, Germany doesn't seem to have them so much, but they do have Spermuell. I picked up lots of cool stuff from the kerbside when I lived in Germany and I know someone who spent over a thousand dollars to have the table he rescued from the Sperrmuell shipped to NZ when he moved back.

    Bread! I'm a kiwi, but I basically stopped eating supermarket bread after I tasted real bread in Germany, I make it myself now.

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  23. These films are so wicked.
    If only I had seen them before I moved to NZ from Germany, I would have avoided so many embarrassments. Bravi!
    Further thoughts:
    - Germans will dance to rock music. Kiwis only sortof rhythmically bob and nod.
    - Germans are obsessed with the with "the plan" - if the plan works, they are happy, if not, they will vent their frustration very vocally ("Oh mann!") ...Kiwis, on the other hand, just have a cup of tea and a chat and then figure out what to do on the day (yet somehow end up being at least as productive).
    -If you go to a house party in NZ, you bring your own booze. In Germany you expect to be provided for by your host.

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  24. Really loving these short films guys, they make me laugh so much, they're are like déjà vu for me. Many similar conversations have been had between my German partner and I as he assimilated into NZ culture and then again as I assimilated into German culture. I'm so glad you addressed the differences in 'wee' habits. For a long time I was worried that my German boyfriend had some kind of male problem. At the beginning of our relationship I was quite offended when he wanted his own duvet, I was unaware that in Germany you can only buy single sized duvets regardless of bed size as each person sleeps with their own, it saves on arguments about who stole the bed covers but is completely unromantic. The funniest story my partner has was when he first arrived in NZ and was invited to a party, the invite said 'bring a plate'.... so he did literally thinking maybe they didn't have enough cutlery. My partner was always very confused by the phrase 'how are you?' which we use as a greeting rather than a question itself. He couldn't understand why the guy at the local dairy would want to know how he was- what business was it to him??
    One topic that would be pertinent to address in a humorous way is the difference in drinking cultures. Beer is very cheap, often cheaper than coke on a restaurant menu, you can also walk the streets with a beer in Germany at anytime of the day. Despite the readily available sources of beer and liberal attitude, Germany does not suffer from the same binge drinking culture that NZ is plagued with.

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  25. When I first arrived in New Zealand, I remember seeing a handwritten sign on the glass door of a Thai restaurant stating: "No have fish and chips!" It made me think; there must have been A LOT of people coming in asking for fish and chips for the owners to put up a sign! Since there are many Chinese owners of fish and chip shops, perhaps Kiwis think all Asians will happily provide them upon request :-)

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  26. The most important thing for Germans in NZ is to find the right kind of bread in the supermarkets. You can spot Germans miles away by standing at the bread section and trying to find the right solidness of their fundamental energy source. Poking them seems to be the only accredited testing method. Maybe I should go back and try again? The bread over there seemed harder after all...

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    1. the bread! The bread! Yes! We are planning a food episode where we can finally have this out! Thanks for your comment.

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  27. these are great... as a musician I was always intrigued by the red lights that were often in the corners of the clubs that would flash when the music was too loud due to noise restrictions... interestingly it was often the clapping that set them off.... also.... NZ audiences often talk all loudly at gigs... whereas German audiences a very quiet... but NZ audiences come back again and again because it's more a social thing... whereas German audiences just go once and don't come again...
    just one observation of many...

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  28. J walking. No one in Germany does that. The looks I got in Hamburg... In WGTN it is the norm. A matter of pride even.

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  29. Sorry I missed your Advent calendar last year ... any chance of any other merchandising?

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  30. These videos are great stuff. Congrats!
    More ideas?
    How about detailing differences in
    - propensity of telling "bad" news (eg, saying "no", alerting clients to not keeping an appointment)
    - reliably completing processes (eg, need for personal intervention, rather than ability to rely on policy and procedure)
    - need to communicate verbally or personally (rather than seeing action driven by email or letter and agreed process)
    - driving habits (interpreting red lights as recommendation, speed limit as target, turning into a lane or crossing a lane at the last possible moment, drink-driving acceptable)
    - campervan/motorhome use ("freedom camping", lack of/fear of "Standplatz" in cities or restaurants or swimming pools or places that could showcase NZ products [like France Passion offers], possession of car key & drinking [especially relevant in motorhome!)

    Some of the above is essential information for business travelers who might think they visit a country running more or less along Northern European lines, then unexpectedly find themselves in an environment even harder to fathom than Middle Eastern cultures. Lack of Kiwi culture knowledge can thus mean lots of wasted time & money!

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