Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mai Woche

Good morning!

How are you doing this Sunday morning? I just woke up and don't feel so well :(
I was at a street party last night where I ate too much plus it was windy and my stomach hurts a little. I am happy to sleep in a little though since I've had people coming in very early to work on my pipes all week.

So the party we've had in my city is called Mai Woche and it's basically the same things like the famous Christmas markets minus the Glühwine and with slightly better weather (even though we are like in mid spring it's usually cold and rainy). There are a lot of music stages and food everywhere which is very fun and every city has something similar to that here in Germany. Germans love street parties and that is also in my opinion one of the most fun things here! Also, it's one of the times you can see Germans relax/smile and they even dance! So basically it's great! It will be going on all week and hopefully I'll come back this week and take some photos for you guys!

Have a wonderful Sunday today and enjoy Mother's Day if you're in Germany or somewhere else where they celebrate it today! A huge kiss for my own mom!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The supermarket

Hello :)

How is the week treating you guys? It's almost Friday!
This week I had to be home almost all week because there are people fixing water pipes in our building, which means I had broken tiles in my bathroom all week and a dusty home :(
Besides that, everything is alright I kinda had a week "off" because of that so I was able to get some things done!

Today I'll try to explain to you "Ausländer" what it means to go to the supermarket in Germany, because yes, it is an experience!

First of all there are two types of supermarkets you can go to: the regular ones or the discount supermarkets (like Aldi and Lidl). Of course the second one is a cheaper option but what shocked me is that even though it's cheaper the products are still high quality. Fresh fruits and vegetables and very good selections of cheese and chocolate...What I would say is different is the variation of products not only there are more products available in the regular supermarket but also more refined ones and a more extended line of bio products (what they call the organic products here).

After you're at your supermarket of choice, you can use one of the best things in Germany, the "pfand machine". It's a big machine where you will bring your empty glass or plastic bottles to and then get money back for them (usually aroung 8 cents for a glass beer bottle and 15-25 cents for the plastic ones). After you throw your bottles there, you get a little receipt which you can exchange for food or cash at the cashier. Not all bottles can be returned, usually you have to look for the recycling sign on them. The glass bottles and containers you can't return have to be taken to a big communal glass trash which you will find on many streets (you just have to find the nearest to your house). Usually there will be 3 big containers that are brown white or green and you throw your bottles in each of them according to the color.

To get a stroller at the supermarket you will need to put a coin in it first (50 cents to 2 euro coins are accepted) and that insures they will be returned to their place. Once in the supermarket people are objective and don't make any small talk! But what shocked me the most is: they are fisty about their place in the cashier line and if you and someone else are coming to a place in line at the same time they will run for it and not offer you the place so run faster!

Once your turn comes, get ready, the German cashiers are like trained robots and work as fast as you can think so my boyfriend taught me the German technique: put the heavy things first in line because you will bag them first (YES, YOU, no one will do it for you here!) and make sure you bring your own shopping bag, otherwise you will have to pay for them (usually 10 cents for each plastic bag). Right after she scans your item throw it rapidly in the bag like a true German and when she tells you the amount be ready to pay right away and get out of there otherwise be ready for death stares from the other people in line (I know it sounds extreme but it's true!).

So if you have had an experience at the German supermarket or have more to add to this post, let us know in your comments below!

See you guys next time! xoxoxo

Sunday, May 4, 2014

German Sundays

Good morning!

I hope your Sunday has been good so far! I woke up and had breakfast and then I visited a German Lutheran church (interesting experience for those who like history and theology!) Now I am just chilling at home thinking of how to spend the rest of my Sunday....

A big struggle for me in the beginning and I believe for many that come to Germany, is the fact that absolutely everything except for some restaurants is closed in Germany on Sundays! So basically you have to plan ahead for your food shopping and if you get sick, otherwise you'll end up buying overpriced milk at a gas station...

If you have an emergency and desperately need medication, there will be ONE drugstore with an emergency staff there. The drugstores take turns every Sunday so you have to first find out which one is "open" and then you need to call them or ring the bell there because the doors are closed, and they are only there for emergencies (so unless you really need it don't bother them!). Otherwise, you'll need to go to a hospital.

The shops are ALL closed and there is no way to buy anything not even food in the supermarket! The reason for that is that Sunday is a holy day and people are supposed to relax and enjoy the quietness. Many apartments have rules such as "not washing clothes on Sunday" because it would be loud and bother the neighbors. You can also get a fine from the police for being loud on Sundays and it can be as high as 2,000 euros!

So some ways to enjoy your Sunday here are really relaxing and doing nothing, going for a nice walk, eating out and of course there's always the movie theater!

I hope you have a wonderful Sunday in or oustide of Germany!


Saturday, May 3, 2014

How to get a German student visa

Hi guys!

Are you enjoying the weekend? I hope so! Today there was a night flea market in my city and I love those! The streets are flooded with people and many interesting things to see even though I usually don't buy things there...

So the post today is about one of the most frequent questions I get asked by friends and other students: How do I get my German student visa?

I guess the answer varies from country to country and some countries require more documents than others but I will explain what I needed which I think are the basic documents for all students outside the E.U. (as I said, some countries will need more documents than that). 
So first of all you have to find out if you can get in Germany and then proceed to do the student visa here or if you need to do it in your country before you come to Germany. 

In my case (coming from Brazil) it was possible to get in as a tourist and then do the student visa here (within 3 months) but I know the students from places such as Mexico and most eastern european countries outside the E.U. are not allowed to come in without having the visa in their home countries.

So, if you are in Germany already you have to go to a place called "Ausländerbehörde" (big name I know, but get used to those) and there they will advise you specifically on all the things you need. But no matter where you're from you'll need to have these documents:

-A proof of health insurance in Germany for the time of your studies, which means an insurance contract (a cheap one for students is DAK)
-Your address proof (as soon as you have a place to live you need to register in the city "Standesamt" and you will get a paper which will be your address proof
-A school contract (college, school, language course) saying you are signed up and accepted there to start studying
- Enough funds to support yourself for the year (they calculate about 600 euros per month for a student) or a sponsor letter from someone with a stable income saying they are responsable for you and for providing you with money when you need it.

So there is everything I needed as a student coming from Brazil and as I said, other countries may require more, but you can get informed online or on the Ausländerbehörde website.
Hope this was helpful! Have a great Sunday and until next post!!!