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Monday, June 27

Day to day life observances

Germany is a dog friendly country. Many people running errands, taking walks or going out to eat have dogs with them.  With that, the restaurant owners have also adapted to the dog friendly culture.  Many places we’ve been to in the past 4 weeks we’ve noticed dogs in the restaurant patio with its owners as well as inside the restaurant.  It’s very common for guests that are dining in the restaurant to bring their dog inside.

Lucy the dog
After few biers so it's blurry
Another note about dogs here in Germany that’s different is most dogs aren’t on a leash.  There’s a sense of independence for dogs and the owners don’t feel it necessary to have them on a leash.  It makes me wonder if the dog will run away but then I realize dogs are very loyal and if they’ve been unleashed their entire life they’re trained this way.

I am sure the misbehaved dogs would try to run away and those select few are on a leash but most are not.

Also on the pet subject, there aren’t any outdoor cats.  Cats may not be of peak interest for pet owners here or if they are they’re indoor cats.

Speaking of independence, this also applies to children.  The other day when we were on the tram I saw a young girl, maybe 9, going somewhere alone.  The husband says that he regularly sees children as young as 7 years old on the tram by themselves or with few friends.   This illustrates that German parents have a hands off approach to parenting, in some ways.  This also teaches the kids how to be independent and responsible at a young age.  I know there may be parents like this in America as well as India, but majority of people would not feel comfortable sending their kid to school or the store alone on a tram or train.  The contrast is there’s the constant fear in America for something to go wrong where Germans don't live in fear in that regard.

And moving onto something that’s very unusual for Americans but common in India.  Staring.  Germans stare at people as much as Indians, I think they’d give Indians a run for their money.   So in that sense this makes me feel right at my Indian home.   However, having lived in America for so many years, it does feel uncomfortable.  The husband doesn’t mind and carries on but I find it intrusive.   People watching is very common here; this is what sidewalk cafes and biergartens are for- you drink, you socialize, you stare, and you drink some more.  I understand for us it may be a combination of factors: Nürnberg is a smaller city with less ethnic diversity (it’s a city of 500,000 people so not a small village), we are brown people that speak English and another foreign language, Gujarati, and we are not just doing the touristy things, we’re at a store or buying produce at the farmers markets so obviously we’re staying.

To give an example, we went to a Bierfest and a group of girls in their 20s stared at us the whole time we were in one spot.  So I stared at them back; that taught them a lesson, then they only stared at us when we were looking in the other direction.  I probably wouldn’t do that again because eventually I’ll get used to people staring at us. 

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