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Inside the Home: Germany vs USA


When I was back in the U.S. this past January,
I paid close attention to all the big and little differences in the home compared to
the homes I’ve seen and lived in here in Germany. And I found quite a few, actually! Hey everyone! I’m Dana and you’re watching
Wanted Adventure Living Abroad. Home is where the food is, so let’s start
in the kitchen. Way back when I first met Mr. German Man, one of the first things I
noticed about the kitchen in his apartment was…huh? You don’t have a refrigerator?!
There was no refrigerator. Or at least it didn’t look like there was one. Just cabinets. What?! Of course I have a refrigerator, he
said, opening one of the things that I had thought was a cabinet to reveal that it was
in fact a hidden refrigerator. I had never seen that before. A fridge camouflaged as
a closet with a door that really looked exactly the same as all the other closet doors in
the kitchen. In the U.S. the refrigerators are usually these huge stand-alone things.
And you can definitely tell where it is in the room without having to ask. Since living here in Germany for a few years
now, I’ve seen both kinds. So, some people do have those stand-alone refrigerators and
then other people have the one that I saw in Mr. German Man’s apartment. So where it
does look the same as the rest of the cabinets and kind of blends into the rest of the room. And something that actually is missing from
any of the German homes I’ve been into…the garbage disposal. Oh how I miss the wonderful
magical garbage disposal! Garbage disposals are under the sink and they tear the food
into small enough bits so that it can go through the plumbing. So no worry about that gunk
building up in the sink drain stopper. Ew, it’s so gross. It just all goes down the hole
and then while running the water you just flick the switch and everything gets disposed
of. Uh, yeah, I really miss those. Now let’s mosey on into the bathroom, where
the first difference I noticed was, the counter….or lack thereof, really. So in most homes that I’ve
seen in the U.S. the bathroom comes with a counter that goes over the sink and then extends
out past it. It’s certainly not always as pretty or nice as this one — in my rental
apartments in college it was not pretty at all, but it was still there for me to put
my stuff on. And then underneath there are little closets where you can put your blow
dryer or cleaning supplies. Whereas in Germany I don’t think I’ve ever seen this kind
of thing built into a bathroom. The sink does often have a little bit of room on it, but not that
much. But I do really like the toilet paper holders
that I’ve had here in my apartments in Germany. Simple, functional and just really nice looking.
The common ones in the U.S. are kind of tricky, there’s like this spring thing you gotta
pull back to get the roll on there. And then it doesn’t have that pretty little cover
like the one that I have in Germany does. Now let’s get super personal and take a
peek into the shower. Shower faucets and handles will differ from place to place, but I’ve
seen this one quite a lot in the U.S. So, you turn the knob to whatever temperature
you want and first the water comes out of the faucet and then you pull this little thing
up on the faucet and the water comes out of the shower head. Pretty similar in Germany,
but I’ve often seen the handle and the faucet connected, so as one piece, and I often see
the line for the shower head coming from the bottom of the faucet, whereas in the U.S.
it’s often all hidden behind the scenes, so behind the wall. But that’s just my experience,
I’m guessing that it’s different from apartment to apartment, house to house, place
to place. Alright, let’s move on to a different kind
of handle, the door handle. Yes, many homes in the U.S. do have round doorknobs, and I
think they’re kind of know for having doorknobs rather than handles, but actually a lot of
places that I’ve lived in the U.S. do have handles! And this is a pretty common door handle design
that I’ve seen in the U.S. Kind of designy, whereas my German door handles are pretty
modern and sleek. And something interesting, in both of my apartments
in Germany the doors came with keys and you can lock the doors from the outside. Very
helpful if you are a wicked step-mother and need to lock your beautiful step daughter
in her room while the prince stops by. But in the U.S. I guess we don’t have to do that
so often, and so often the doors can only lock from the inside, not the outside. As far as doors to the outside go, something
I see almost everywhere in the U.S. is the deadbolt lock. So you have a sort of “normal”
lock on the actual handle of the door and then you’ve got another lock called the deadbolt
lock that slides this heavy metal bar into place. And something that I had to be very careful
about in Germany is that if you close the front door it often just automatically locks.
So, you have to insert your key to open the door. Whereas in the U.S. you generally have to
manually lock the front door. So it’s not locked just by shutting it. These two different
ways both have some pros and some cons. Okay, in the U.S. you don’t have to worry about
forgetting your keys and getting locked out of your own home — if you shut the door and
you then realize, oh no keys! You just open it back up again. But in Germany at least
you can’t ever forget to lock your door! Because once you shut it, it’s locked. But
then, you better not forget your keys inside. Now, look up! What do you see in your home
in Germany? Maybe a light? If you look up in many rooms in the U.S. you will often see
a ceiling fan, usually also a light in the middle. So that’s another difference — having
a ceiling fan to circulate the air. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen a ceiling fan
in any home in Germany, now that I think about it. And while we’re on air, in the U.S. forced
hot air is a common way to heat the home, whereas radiators are the norm in Germany.
Homes in the U.S. often have these little vents in every room and in the winter hot
air comes out and in the summer it’s cold air from the air conditioner, so the vents
actually are used for both heating and cooling in that U.S. Now, let’s just take a quick crawl over
to the door and check out the door stoppers. So, in a lot of places that I’ve lived in
the U.S., behind most of the doors was a doorstopper built in there. And I can remember playing
with these things as a kid. They make this really funny noise. Especially to a seven
year old. But, yeah, it’s still amusing to me as an adult. Brrrr. And lastly, let’s look at the light switches.
So in the U.S., this is a pretty common light switch. You flick it up and down to turn on
and off the light. In Germany I’ve noticed that light switches are often bigger, and
you don’t really flick, but rather push them on and off. But the biggest difference that I’ve
noticed with this is that in Germany sometimes the light switches for the bathroom will actually be
outside of the room. So not inside the bathroom itself, but actually on the outside wall of
the bathroom. And I feel like this is a big deal because
it could cause a lot of drama if you grew up with brothers and sisters. I can just imagine
it. Like, you know, you’re sitting in there, in the bathroom doing your thing and your
funny little sister runs by and turns the light off while you’re in there. So my question for you is: did your siblings
ever turn the bathroom light off while you were in there, and what other home differences
have you seen around the world? Please let me know in the comments below. Thanks so much for watching. Please don’t
forget to subscribe for more videos and hit that like button if you enjoyed this video.
And also, for more behind the scenes, photos and other short videos, you can check me out
over here on my Twitter and my Facebook page. Until next time, auf Wiedersehen! When I was back in the U.S. this past January,
I played…I’m already stuttering. It’s a cabinet that has…this makes no sense. Whereas
in Germany I don’t think I’ve ever seen this kind of a set up. Where you have… I don’t
think I’ve ever seen this kind of thing built into the bathroom the s…
But I do really like the toilet papl… You pull this little thing up and the faucet
and the…huh?

Stephen Childs

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