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Michelle's blog

Things about Germany #3: Toilet Brush Use (aka Die Toilettenbürstebenützung)

  • Posted on: 14 August 2014
  • By: Michelle

Okay, I may be dancing around a touchy subject here, because, to be honest, toilet brush use is not a widely discussed topic in North America. It could be that I am a complete neanderthal with subpar public washroom etiquette, but in my 35 years of North-American bathroom frequenting, toilet brush use is reserved for the following distinct people groups:

1) the owner of the toilet; and,
2) someone paid by the owner of the toilet.

Things about Germany #2: Grocery Store Checkouts

  • Posted on: 26 July 2014
  • By: Michelle

A German grocery store checkout is pretty much what I imagine tripping on acid would be like. (Yes. Imagine. I once graffitied the walls in the Honour Society room at my high school, and then went directly to the principal's office to hand myself in. Do you really think I could pull off an acid trip?) It's an overly emotional experience with bright lights and a lot of colours and shapes whizzing by, time feels like it's moving exponentially fast, at some point I have to give someone some money, a tight friendship is formed with anyone who makes it through with me and there's a feeling of euphoria but in the end I feel sweaty, dizzy and nauseous.

Das Camping

  • Posted on: 22 July 2014
  • By: Michelle

I went camping this weekend for the first time in Germany. Correction. I went “camping” this weekend. In Germany, camping is camping by name only.

Let me do an imaginary poll of imaginary Canadians. Okay, the results are in. According the the imaginary Canadians I imagined I spoke with, the following are the top 10 things they associate with the word ‘camping’: campfire, backwoods, unplugging, s’mores, lighting stuff on fire, hot dogs, quiet, peeing behind a tree, whittling and a general acceptance of low personal hygiene standards for a given period.

Time Capsule. Actually.

  • Posted on: 10 July 2014
  • By: Michelle

So, before I moved to Germany six months ago (oh, PS, I moved to Germany six months ago), I was going through all my stuff, purging and packing things away, and I found this.

It’s a time capsule that I made at a Girl Guide camp on July 10, 1989. For years after, it hung on my Girl Guide hat along with a collection of other things regularly found on a Girl Guide hat, as any former Girl Guide could attest to (pins, badges, popsicle stick crafts, tiny outhouse models, things made out of FIMO, a variety of glow-in-dark articles, time capsules - you know, standard stuff).

I giggled with not-not-secret delight when I realized that the 25-year waiting period was almost up, and I could open it this year. Obviously, I couldn’t open it until EXACTLY July 10, 2014, because it says it right there, on the top. “Open on July 10, 2014.” And you know, there is no covenant as strong as a film canister, a glue gun and an 11-year-old girl’s promise.

So, I brought it with me to Germany, and today I opened it.