Sometimes, when foreigners come to a country and integrate into the local culture, they end up liking and enjoying doing things even the locals wouldn’t. These can include all sorts of cultural and traditional activities. One might say, the exoticness attracts the expat who can find no reason for said activity to be embarrassing. Well, this post is about German things which I as a Pakistani expat in the country, love doing or would like to do and which no German I know would ever consider doing. Consider this to be part 1, I’ll write more confessions as I come up with them.
1. The Schuhplattler Dance
Do you like skipping in place while wearing leather pants, slapping your thighs and occasionally whistle and cheer? Then this Bavarian dance called Schuhplattler is the thing for you. Just looking at this dance makes me wanna try it out. I have been begging my girlfriend since a few months to at least go and watch a performance in the hopes that she’d let me join a dance course, but she refuses to do so. Other Germans that I have asked first look at me with a mixture of incredulity and disgust and then walk away slowly shaking their heads. Watch this video below and tell me why, why would you not want to do this?!
Continuing the Bavarian theme, I so wanna wear Lederhosen! However, many Germans don’t like wearing them and feel that it belittles their Germanness and gives rise to stereotypes about them. For the risk of looking ridiculous, I have been putting off wearing Lederhosen and strutting around for some time now. In my mind, there is a photo of me with my girlfriend, me in a pair of Lederhosen, she sporting a Drindl; a true Bavarian couple. She has ruled it out on several occasions, but I think she can be persuaded to come around. And what better attire to watch a Schuhplattler performance in?
Remember my post about Schlager? Well, I have a confession to make. I don’t like many Schlager songs, but I do like others. They sound good to me. I can’t help it. And they sound great in parties too. Especially if you’re standing on top of a bench swaying to the beat with friends. Of course, in front of my German friends I pretend to be a staunch critic of the genre and label it god’s curse on the German land and the people. Privately, though, I find it to be incredibly catchy in terms of both the melody and the lyrics. Let me, however, state in no uncertain terms that I am not a fan of Jürgen Drews. Listen to the song below and tell me it isn’t catchy.
4. I Like Germans and Germany
Once I was in a diverse gathering of people from many different countries and cultures and I overheard one person telling a German that he liked German people. Many Germans simultaneously turned and asked him if they had heard him right. The poor guy was embarrassed and said, “I mean, if you want me to say I don’t like Germans, I’ll say it. But it won’t be the truth.” And that is sometimes how I feel too. Most Germans are beyond words and immediately ask you to explain yourself if you say that you like Germans. A rapid volley of questions is launched at you: Why? How come? Really? Germans?
Yes, Germans. Many people do like you. But your response to us telling you we like you scares us. So we end up making fun of you and discussing our experiences at the Ausländeramt to allay your fears. And almost all expats I have met in Germany, like the country for a whole host of different reasons. So, Germans, I’m afraid you would have to learn to live with us liking you and your country. My personal favorite thing about the country is the multicultural aspect.
*For those who don’t know, Lederhosen is the traditional Bavarian dress for men. Drindl is the female dress from the same region.