Yes, I am aware I have been rather quiet of late. As summer is short here, it should be enjoyed to the max, meaning long nights away from home and very little time for writing. I intend to do better now summer has left Germany again, not expected to return for another 10 months or so.
I was fortunate enough to have enough leave days left for a short trip to the home town, some 8.5 hours away from Hamburg. Lacking my own mode of transportation, I was dependent on public transport. After one bus ride, six different trains and one car ride I finally made it home, to be received by a lovely supply of Dutch food (hurray!). Fast forward: 8 days later I was set to return to Hamburg, with a suitcase that no self-respecting airline would ever accept. Some 30 kilos of Dutch cheese, cookies, candy and other necessary supplies when living abroad accompanied me on my way back. I even took my pancake pan, although I am not sure when I will have the courage again to make pancakes – as usually more than just the first one fails. This was possibly the largest and heaviest suitcase I have ever travelled with.
In the early morning my dad put me on the train back to Hamburg. Like any good and strong dad, he put the suitcase for me in the train: first hurdle taken. I stopped in Leiden for a few hours to see some friends, dragging the suitcase all over Leiden and then to Amsterdam Centraal, where I boarded a very full train to Berlin. None of this was without considerable struggle, of course. In Germany I had to change public transport twice more: once in Münster and once in Hamburg. It was here where I had the biggest shock of my life.
Both times German guys, seeing me struggle, came up to me to give me a hand. And even when I was pretending to be alright (well, that’s what we Dutch girls do, even if we obviously can’t handle something), they just ignored me and carried my suitcase with considerable more ease than I ever could, all the way to the top of the stairs. Hurray for German gentlemen!!
During my uni years I travelled between my home town and Leiden for a good number of years: twice a week in the early years, and later often at least once a month. NEVER has any Dutch guy offered his help with a suitcase only slightly smaller. Two different German guys helped me, despite my protests, on two occasions during ONE train ride. I am very, very much impressed. The gentleman is not dead yet.
You know, the ordinary German guy does not have the reputation of being particularly gentlemanly. I have not heard many foreign girls praise them for their attitude and manners towards the opposite sex. More of the contrary actually. But today I decided to speak out. Even though I make the most horrible jokes about Germans and their will to conquer all the time (again, I’m Dutch, that is how things are), today I am not joking nor am I sarcastic when I say “Thank you German gentlemen, from the bottom of my heart. You made a long trip home a lot more comfortable”. Because praise and positive experiences should also be shared.
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Photo credits: Jasleen_Kaur (CC BY-SA 2.0)