Monday, July 25, 2011

Last Week's Discoveries

Last week, in the life of the Robles', through the lens of my iPhone: 

Luis may or may not have found his calling after soccer. 

Das Wildschwein, Willi Wildpark. 

Remember the kids from the Waldkindergarten? They came out of the wald forest this week. I went paparazzi on them and snapped a pic as we drove by. 

Remember the laws about noise? Apparently, it applies to recycling your glass too. 

Germany has an amazing recycling system. Most bottles can be returned to the grocery store in return for "pfand." And actually, I cannot think of what we would call that in English. Why does that seem to be happening more and more? Maybe I should be taking English lessons instead of German...

Basically pfand means you get some money back for returning the bottle. They have these cool little machines in the grocery store that scan your bottles and print out receipts with how much you get back. 

Tip: Remember this if you are ever traveling over here and purchase a bottled drink from a cafe or somewhere...usually if you bring the bottle back when you're done, you can claim some pfand. The amount varies, but it can be anywhere from 15 to 20 cents or so. Not bad.

How has this not caught on in America? We're always looking for ways to get money back. Hawaii does it. Maine too. And I think maybe California. Is that really it? Only 3 of the 50? Does anyone know of any other states offering pfand? Am I just uneducated on this issue?

Anyway, the plastic bottles that are "Pfandfrei" i.e. you don't get any money back for them, get put into designated bins conveniently located outside your house or apartment building. 

The trash system is pretty advanced over here. Residential buildings have separate cans for trash, plastics, paper and sometimes even for compost. It takes some learning to know what goes where, especially the plastics cause really it means packaging, but knowing what is considered packaging and what isn't is a challenge sometimes.

Thankfully we had super helpful neighbors at our last apartment who gave us this handy little book explaining everything you ever needed to know about the German trash system. In English even. As helpful as it was though, there's still times where I just guess and hope there's no way to trace what misplaced trash/recyclables come from where. I realize that's a bit extreme, but I feel like if any country would regulate misplaced trash and recyclables, Germany would be it. 

If you have pfandfrei glass, you take it to one of these things.

Like Starbucks and McDonald's in America, you can find one of these on just about every block in Germany. But don't toss your glass in between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. Or on Sundays or holidays.  

Why? Because "Noise makes sick. Therefore nights not!" That's the literal translation at least. 

Mom, how come you never told me that noise could make me sick? Good thing they have this website so I can educate myself and stay noise free and healthy since clearly my parents failed me on this issue. 

There's even a "Tag gegen Lärm", "Day Against Noise". I can't believe I missed such a celebration!    

While, I am half poking fun at this whole 7 to 7 rule, it isn't half bad cause it is rather noisy with all the glass breaking. Although, 7 p.m. seems a bit early. Ten seems more reasonable. 

But really, the people who would be throwing glass in at annoying hours of the night probably aren't the type to adhere to the rules anyway, so really the signs are just there to entertain Americans like us. 

And, to be honest, we have made so many trips to the glass bins and it was only this last time that we even noticed the signs informing us of the proper glass throwing hours. Oops. Fortunately I never had the urge to get rid of my glass in the middle of the night. Shocking, I know. 

I'm sure this guy doesn't throw his glass in at inappropriate times. 

He was just trying to soak up some heat on a rare sunny day last week. Seriously, if I wasn't on board with the whole global warming idea before, I most definitely would not be now cause it has sure been rainy and cloudy and chilly more than summer allows over here. 

I'm sure Al Gore has some explanation as to how the heating of the atmosphere actually creates an inverse effect in the temperature on earth and he'll make another million dollars and be even more rich than he already is.

One's things for sure. It's scorching back home. And in just six more days, I will be on the verge of passing out from the heat and my poor white skin is going to fry from the sun and I'm going to be in heaven because I will be home and there just isn't anything better in the world sometimes. 

Except of course if Luis could come with me. That would for sure be better. But somebody's gotta make the big bucks around here. Thanks Luis for working hard so I can play visit family and celebrate special moments in friends' lives.

It's Monday everyone, make it a good one.      


K8 said... Best Blogger Tips

Hey Cara, my name is kate... formerly kate fink... we've met only a few times on our life but I am friends with the Gunsches. LOVE your blog...hope you don't mind my stalking. Keep up the yummy recipes! You two seem like a dynamite couple :-)

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