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An American embarrassed by American neighbors

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CoryMVA, I understand your reasons for being so upset. It looks if though you have some pretty rude, sloppy and inconsiderate neighbors. However, remember, that you are American. To specifically address your neighbors as Americans, has nothing to do with their poor behaviour patterns. A bad neighbour is a bad neighbour, whether they are American, French, German, Italian or of some other nationality. We, meaning some Americans living in Germany, are already experiencing some hardships and stereotypes from other nationalities/factions here in Germany. It seems a bit unusual to have an American talk badly about some of his fellow countrymen/women, and glorify the customs, people and the formalities that encircle the language and dialect of another country. Anyway, if I have offended you by my comments, I do sincerely apologize. I just needed express my opinion.

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It seems a bit unusual to have an American talk badly about some of his fellow countrymen/women, and glorify the customs, people and the formalities that encircle the language and dialect of another country

It does not seem unusual for me - tons of expats get all dewy-eyed about the prospect of a foreign culture, and immersing themselves in it; and that often leads to them talking badly about their fellow countrymen and/or country.

 

Normally it just means they have not been here long enough yet.

Give it a few months, the same poster will be asking how to get a slingbox hooked up because German TV is driving them mad, questioning the lack of certain products in supermarkets, and attending "Americans in Baden-Würtemmberg" events to talk to like-minded people about the trials and tribulations of living in Germany, and the utterly annoying stupid formalities that encircle the German language.

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I am an American, and very proud to be so. I also feel that every single American, or foreigner for that matter, should act respectfully towards their host nation. The only reason I called out my neighbors for being American, was largely due to the "Rude American" sentiment that trails us when we travel abroad. The "here today, who cares about tomorrow" belief that a lot of my countrymen practice is by no means acceptable here, and I feel we shouldn't be so lenient on it back home either.

 

Like I said in my first post, it was just me b**ching, and frankly I never intended to offend anyone. If I did however, let me apologize, as I think I am a relatively nice person.

 

 

Give it a few months, the same poster will be asking how to get a slingbox hooked up because German TV is driving them mad, questioning the lack of certain products in supermarkets, and attending "Americans in Baden-Würtemmberg" events to talk to like-minded people about the trials and tribulations of living in Germany, and the utterly annoying stupid formalities that encircle the German language.

I assure you that will not be me, as that was not me back in the states. But I hear it all of the time with some of my office mates, actually just about everyday. In fact it amazes them I take the train every day, almost like it's a magical traveling device, too scary to demystify! ;)

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I have never had problems with my neighbors until I moved here. Shortly after we moved into our house, our neighbors put a note in our mailbox with the German law on it, stating that we had to keep our tree at 1 meter. I think that was the height. Anyway, they never said hello to us, came and talked to us, just put a note in the mailbox and said you have to cut your tree by such and such a time. We did. My husband is German and he said it's much better to trim a tree than to have fights with your neighbors.

 

The neighbor on the other side of us told me I couldn't plant hedges on my side of the fence unless they were 1 meter away. Again, not sure about the distance anymore, but as I was planting he told me it wasn't legal. I finally threw my little fit and told him we put our fence a meter away from our property and gave it to HIM to not have problems, and I was going to plant my damn hedges...and he could take me to court if he wanted!! My husband told me to calm down...and guess what? We didn't plant the hedges. We did...but moved them.

 

It's no big deal in the scheme of things. We have very nice neighbors on one side, but many of the older folks are rule-following, don't-even-get-near-my-property kind of folks. Very hard to adjust to, but more important things in life to worry about than whether you can plant a hedge or not. (Didn't feel that way in the beginning. Was livid and wanted to go home!!)

 

All of that just to say, try to talk to your neighbors first. If that doesn't work, do what you gotta do.

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Had a similar problem when we lived there. Now in Florida. The garbage and the dirty streets I can handle. It's the rap/hip-hop that BLARES from passing cars, comes from apartments and boom-boxes of the miscreants with their pants crotch below their knees and look like they really do want to kill you. Even the cops only ever come in twos. We would go back to your situation in Germany in a heartbeat.

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I enjoyed the comments, especially Dan Hessen and I thought I had it bad! There is definitely prejudice here, and the German neighbors are no guarantee of tranquility. Mine just stares at me, won't say a word untill spoken to, then he might respond, now I just say Yo! The other family is Hispanic American, their kids love me, but the parents ignore me, unless they want something, I must be to gringo for them, the Mom won't even let the kids say hi to me, which saddens me! my girlfriend even made outfits by hand for the little girl, I tried being nice and breaking the ice, nothing worked! And as Dan said about the retirees, which struck a nerve with me, I have a retired German couple to, who have been living here so long they think they own the place! I have to reming them from time to time, that they are tenants to! Take care all, you are not alone ;-)

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I will be relocating to the Mannhiem area in about one month. I keep wondering how its going to be coexisting in such close living environment when I've gotten used to having my place in the country with 2 acres of property. There are cows and goats across the street and a pond with ducks, geese, and cranes flying in and out. I'm going to miss it. a few years back when I was doing my undergraduate degree, I lived in subsized housing for several years. People were so rude with their loud music, drive by rap bass pounding through and rattling the windows, and the neighbors fighting at all hours, and oh lets not forget the couple that sold drugs out of their apartment and off the front stoop. Wow, I do not miss those days at all, but I will miss my space here in the country. What I have learned over the years is, it seems to never benefit you to confront your neighbors with their behaviors that bother you. I've gotten everything from the finger to "FU lady I'm going to mess up your car." even my experience with neighbors in better neighbors that are not subsidized housing and very upscale haven't yielded positive results when complaining about their behaviors. My experience is this...if they play their music loud they know its loud and don't give a damn about your comfort level. Complaining to the landlord may eventually get them kicked out...or it may cause you alot of trouble with your landlord if they have to deal with the problem. I've been down that road too. Calling the cops can also be a downside if the neighbors know it was you that did it, and if you've got problem neighbors on both sides, complaining about both of them may make for a difficult time of it all at once and all the way around. People are universal no matter who they are or what culture or economic class they come from. I've experienced this in both the U.S. and Canada and also in the military. I know one thing for sure...Germany is going to be a definate adventure, hopefully, I can learn German well enough to understand the locals. I'm looking forward to it. I think I will get a good supply of ear plugs for sleeping and update my IPod tunes LOL. Hope you all have a great summer!

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One of my biggest fears is that Americans will find out just how good it can be here and how bad it has gotten there and that they will come here and f*&% it up for the rest of us. ;)

 

Sorry you are between two unsavories. In the US I would have had a chat with the neighbors about my vast gun collection and how I was trying to be responsible by purchasing ammunition that was designed to not penetrate the walls an accidentally kill a neighbor but here I do not even have a Swiss Army knife - it is not needed. I am pretty direct and I would keep on the myself in hopes that I could come to an agreement over when it is OK to play loud music etc.

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Maybe the vast gun collection was not needed but it was certainly allowed. I also partook in my right to bear arms back home. As a single female living in a first floor apartment it made me sleep better at night knowing I had a loaded shotgun under my bed. I grew up with guns so it wasn't always the need to feel protected.

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I grew up with guns too and one of the basic safety lessons was not to keep a loaded fucking weapon lying around...

 

Anyway the dichotomy in the post I was referring to "i had a vast weapon collection" vs "here I don't even have a swiss army knife" seemed to imply that survival in the US was based on having an armory lying around, which is completely untrue.

 

Especially in Austin, lol. Afraid of Leslie coming to steal some of your clothes?

 

Okay okay, to be fair if your in East Austin and living next to a drug dealer like I did briefly, being strapped might not be the worse idea you can have.

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I guess you missed the part about me being a single female.. i.e. living alone and no one was going to touch the weapon unless they broke in when I wasn't home (and that could happen anywhere). I am also ex law enforcement so I'm pretty sure I got the safety part down. I was just commenting on how we have the right to bear arms in the US vs Germany. I didn't dare to bring my serrated edge Spyderco knife either...I'd probably end up in jail over here. :D

 

For the record I lived in the arboretum area and I never felt threatened in Austin. Not even by Leslie.. what would Germany do if they had a Leslie? Ha...

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In the Arboretum the only thing you have to worry about is crazy people disgruntled about the IRS running their plane into office buildings right next to the condos I used to live in.

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I was here in Germany visiting when that happened. Freaky. I drove by that building every day on my way to work on S 183. I still can't believe that happened in Austin.

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a bit off-topic, but nonetheless about us Americans:

 

I stayed in a U.S. military hotel and was some of the worst sleepless nights I had. A lot of horseplaying, public drunkendness and yelling from the young soldiers. They had no respect for those who wanted to sleep. I checked out and went to a German hotel.

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That is really unlucky. But it can happen in any neighborhood. Have you tried your local Mieterbund? It is always advisable to be a member if you are renting a flat, just in case you have legal trouble with your landlord. You can get legal advice, help with your "Nebenkostenabrechnung", they can check your paperwork and so on.

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