Thursday, August 2, 2012

Food, Beer, & People

This is my 14th week staying in Paderborn. Can you believe it's been that long already?! That's like the length of the Spring semester! Other than the part about missing home, and settling the administrative matters here (oh bureaucracy..!), I would say it is really not that difficult to adapt to life in Germany.
Why is this so? Well, this is because Germany is just simply awesome and I’ll attribute it to three main factors – Food, Beer, and People.

Paderborn, like any other German city, is no doubt home to many delicacies which I’m sure many of you have already heard of, or even tasted before. Upon my first few days of arrival here, I visited biergartens and restaurants. I even went to the spring festival and tried a 'real' German Bratwurst, and of course beer.
Of course, there's always the "snack food" too and the amazing bread that's always fresh. Despite all the good food here though, it is inevitable to miss home, family, and American specialties. Also, even with a "grown up job", I am living in student housing and I have to "whip up" my own meals somehow. This has proven difficult. Without the utensils necessary and no oven to bake with or a freezer to store things in, there's a lot of things I can't have that I miss the most from home.
The grocery stores in Paderborn, though they close early, do offer a variety of foods. I can find ingredients for Asian cuisine and some American ones too but the prices are through the roof! Food can really work wonders in providing comfort for the home-sick, but when you don't have the means to make it, it is hard to get over the nagging feeling drawing you home.
With another 5 months or so here in Paderborn (with travel through Europe interspersed), there are still many opportunities for me to explore the different foods here in Paderborn and all over Germany. Plus, who knows, maybe I'll find somewhere to cook more.
Also, though, I have yet to experience it, I hear the grocery stores do this thing once a year called "American Week" where they sell everything American. As seen in the photo above. 

I think if you have been keeping tabs on my blog at all, you'd know that I quite enjoy beer. What you may not know, however, is that my father used to brew his own beer at home when I was younger and my best friend, Keegan's, family brews beer too.
There are many different types of beer in Germany and one that they are most well-known for is Heifelweizen. This is a wheat beer and it has its own unique flavor. Personally, I don't think I can explain the flavor, but it's a must try when you visit Germany.
I have been trying to get opinions on the best beer in Germany since I have arrived here but it seems everyone is biased. The beer from their town is always the best beer they've had before and that makes it the best beer in Germany. Honestly, I think in my time here (now and in high school) I have traveled more than a lot of native Germans have in their lives, so I have tasted more beers than them.
It annoys me to no end that I was told Paderborner and Veltins beers were the best beer in Germany. So you know, this is the German equivalent to PBR. Unless you're a hipster, this isn't the beer for you.

The People
I love living in a university town that also houses a British army base! It is such a great opportunity for me to meet people from all over the world. I have met people from Australia, Canada, Britain, Ireland, Lithuania, Poland, Egypt, China, Taiwan, Romania, Austria, France, Germany (east and west), Spain, and The Czech Republic just to name some off the top of my head. I have yet to meet an American though, which is a bit sad to think about. Even the two Egyptian guys have each other.
One strange thing about this whole international group I have met here is that nearly none of them speak German. English is the international language after all, so when conversing, it's in English. Some of the people from Poland speak Polish together and the same with the Egyptian guys and the girls from Lebanon. It's as if German is the foreign language everywhere we go when really it should be the other way, shouldn't it?

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