21.04.2009 14 °C
When I thought of Germany in the past, which was like hardly never, my impression was well, not very good. I had some pretty intense stereotypes of Germany and it's peoples in my head. My impressions were shaped by what others said about German's, what I learned in history classes, the few glimps I saw of the country in the news and what I read in books. All of these things weren't necessarily bad, but they weren't really......good either.
I have to admit that I thought of German's and Germany in general as: cold, mean, mean spirited, blunt, smart, unfeeling, racist, facist, skinheads, scary, intolerant, unwavering, biased, Berlin wall. Nothing very positive as you can see. However, I am so glad to say that being in the south of Germany has changed my perception of German's in a very positive light.
I have met some of the nicest people here who are: warm, honest, smart, blunt, kind, affectionate (very touchy feely), courteous, loving, fun, happy, spontanious, open, welcoming, free spirited. Honestly, I am told this is only true for the south and I have to assume this is true but my impression of German's has totally changed since I landed.
When I am out and about on my own, I am not looked upon differently. Even in the hole in the wall town Kornwestheim. If anything, the shop keepers and merchants are mainly indifferent as they are focused on their work. When I go to cafes I am always greeted with a smile and hallo or guten tag. Mostly guten tag as I assume it is more formal. The negative stereotypes that North American's have for certain races is not as prevelant here. However, the German's that I do know seem to have a lot of biases toward Eastern Europeans and folks in Eastern Germany. I only learned today where the non-love for people in the Berlin area stems from and as for the rest of Europe, it is mainly history based.
In any case, I am glad to say that my time here has been so far so good. I hope it carries into other countries as I travel but we will see.