Hallo! It’s Holly here in Münster and I’m pleased to be back with another blog post about my life as a language assistant in Germany. Well, the change in seasons here in North-West Germany is pretty drastic! A few weeks ago it was 22 degrees and now, as I am writing this, it is -3 degrees at night! The shops are already replacing the popular autumn window displays with Christmas ones.
I have discovered the German Kirmes (fun fair) and since being in Germany I have visited no fewer than five of them and absolutely love the atmosphere! My German vocabulary previously didn’t stretch to funfair rides, but I’m now familiar with das Riesenrad (Ferris wheel) and Die Achterbahn (rollercoaster). When you go to the Kirmes you are greeted with the smells coming from the different food stalls: my favourite treat has to be Schoko-Erdbeeren (strawberries on skewers, covered in chocolate) which are always sold at German fun fairs, and seem to be very popular with the locals too!
When I was at one of the Kirmes I bought a drink and I was introduced to another very important aspect of living in Germany. It seems that when you buy certain drinks you are charged a deposit for the bottle – this depost is called Das Pfand. The price advertised on the bottle itself on the shop shelf does not include the Pfand, so an extra amount is added when you go to pay at the till. After drinking the juice you can then go back to the shop and return the bottle, allowing you to reclaim your Pfand. This took a bit of getting used to at the beginning, so it’s worth pointing it out! I have also noticed that many locals will finish bottles of juice and then, rather than putting them in the bin, they sit them next to bins so that homeless people can then collect them and thereby reclaim the Pfand.
I hope these snippets of information I’m learning as I spend my first few weeks here in Germany are also useful to our readers!