Life in Germany: 2 months

I think constant posts on food is quite boring, so let’s do a quick post on my thoughts on living in Germany for the past 2 months!

Being in Europe has allowed us to tour more and experience more. For example, our first winter. Mr Goh couldn’t have put it more accurately: “it’s strange how we Singaporeans always enjoy the cold when we travel. But now that I have to live here, I don’t like the cold anymore”. Right honey, and that’s why I like to stay home all day because I couldn’t be arsed to bundle up, even for quick grocery runs. Cuddling under the warm blanket and a cup of warm tea sounds perfect.

Our first Christmas markets. Needless to say, Christmas in SG did not have the same feel as in Europe, mainly because of the weather. In SG, Christmas was just another public holiday to me, and a period of excusable feasting. The Christmas spirit here is a lot more traditional and pays tribute to the religion. The market stalls are all decorated nicely, selling traditional foods, drinks and gifts. But we realise we really don’t know how to appreciate alcohol. We tried the gluhwein and eggnog, didn’t like them.
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Our first time living together as a proper married couple. Woah, this one… I REALLY have to congratulate Mr Goh for surviving X months of marriage, and countless times of my nagging and dagger stares. In SG, we were living with family, so almost everything was taken care of by others. Here, we have to do everything ourselves, and our individual living habits get more pronounced. More often, I get annoyed by him, like how he doesn’t clear the dry dishes from the drying rack before putting wet plates that he has just washed, or how he doesn’t fold laundry the way I do it. But he sometimes can’t understand me too (I often tell him there’s no need to lock the door when we’re out – but that’s only because there’s no door knob, so you definitely need a key to enter the house).  Let’s say we are still trying out new things in the house, and setting our own house rules and tradition.

The endless processes and paperwork in Germany. I’m constantly amused by this country. You’d think Germany is on the forefront of technology, but I think SG surpasses DE this time. Like what I was telling my dad over Skype yesterday, the banks here (or at least the bank that Mr Goh is using) don’t have online banking tokens. Sure, they have OTPs for security purposes, but it comes in the form of a paper slip. So you get one slip of paper mailed to you, and on it, there are 10 rows and 10 columns of numbers. So when you log in, and the system tells you B4 for example, you look up B4 on the slip of paper, and key in the code that sits in cell B4. Uh huh. That’s it. That piece of paper is EXTREMELY important.

Also, they have so many paperwork processes in place, but these processes cannot be done in parallel. And there is no jump queue either. So we have not had our residence permits settled because there’s a missing document from the work council and we are still waiting for the work council to send the documents over. It’s been 2.5 weeks since we contacted them. When the papers are finally in place, we then have to go down to the registration office at 7am to queue (yup, that early because we no longer have a valid appointment date, and the earliest appointment date is like 3 months away). According to the registration process, after you submit your papers at the registration office, you then have to wait 3-5 weeks before you receive a letter to collect your permit. So yes, waiting and more waiting. I am running low on patience, but there’s nothing I can do right?

I’m thankful for the internet because I will definitely be bored out of my mind if not for it. I know I should be spending my days studying the German language and preparing myself for work, but how often do I get such off days?

A new ‘shopping center’ opened near us last weekend, about 4 tram stops away. We received some flyers & discount coupons from the tenants, so we went there last evening to size up the stores. I was particularly excited about the drugstore opening there because the usual one that I go to is in the city, and not exactly convenient.

From DM (the drugstore), we topped up our toiletries as well as some travel sized ones for our trip to Dresden this weekend (we’re going there for the Christmas markets!). The “milch & honig” cream shower in the middle was free as we had the Geschenk coupon they mailed to our place. Plus they were having 10% discount store-wide until this weekend. *auntie mode*
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I’m a housewife now, so supermarkets excite me very much. Rewe, one of my favorite supermarkets also opened up a shop there, and we had coupons for 10x points, so we also bought some groceries there. Have I told you how much I love Alpro sogurts??
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Yesterday I had a revelation that my skin gets better without dairy. I have been battling acne my entire life, but I’ve never really entertained the thought that it might have something to do with my diet. I did stop dairy some years back because of my eczema, but I cheat quite often. LOL. This past year, I tried my best to cut out dairy because my colleagues were monitoring me. And my skin got slightly better, but milk protein was quite unavoidable since they are used in many “high-protein” foods.

But I came across a blog post or a Youtube video yesterday and saw that some people had acne problems because of dairy, and it got me thinking. My skin was quite ok when I arrived in Germany. But I started to be naughty and ate cheese, even more when I was in Paris and Milan. When I came back, I had lots of nasty blind pimples on my chin. According to TCM, pimples on chin meant a problem with the digestive tract, so I took it as insufficient water and fibre. I started to eat properly again, and since we hardly have cheese at home, it was out of my diet. And my skin started to clear up!

The vegan and organic food movements are huge in Germany, so I knew I would be able to find vegan cheese. My best friend Google told me that there’s a good brand called Wilmersburger, so I also bought a pack of it to try when I saw it at the supermarket. Not cheap though, it was 3 Euros (real cheese is less than half the price). I hope it’s good, so I can have a treat once in a while.

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