It's been a couple interesting days recently. The city I'm living in is not bad, initial impressions were tainted by the dark and rainy weather that was had when I arrived two nights ago. Days with nice weather definitely help give the city a more positive feel. There were some difficulties in trying to get a work permit the other day, but things were finally sorted out today and I was able to complete my first day at work.
I can't give away too many details but what I can say is that I'm the first of two members of a brand new lab and will have the opportunity to essentially lead my division of work as more workers begin to funnel in with the coming months. The work space is pretty amazing and "state of the art" and the surrounding areas are mind-boggling with the degree of industry nearby (think New Jersey's industrial complex). We essentially have our own private bathroom which is pretty nice as well. The prospects are exciting and should hopefully be a great experience.
Outside of work I've been to a few grocery stores and will have to get used to the small store sizes and limited selection of items that go contrary to the lifestyle that exists in America. There is an array of interesting and "unique" flavors and items that I've noticed including the frequent "American" or perhaps a box of "cat chocolates."
Another interesting facet of life in Germany is the water. Germans seem to rarely drink normal straight water, let alone water in general. However, when they do, it's nearly always mineral water--highly carbonated. The Germans seem to love their carbonated beverages and it seems like everything is carbonated, fruit juices, waters, sodas, flavored waters, and more--with the exception of milk unless I just haven't found that variety yet. If you go to a restaurant or in my case when I went to open a bank account, I was asked if I wanted something to drink and requested water. A glass of room-temperature mineral water was provided--leading to another topic being that ice is seemingly non-existent here. Most drinks are consumed at room temperature or sometimes chilled, but not with ice. It will take some getting used to this change but it seems these are just cultural things that just need to be dealt with.
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