The first thing on this list deserves to be first. I love the windows in Germany. These windows can be either opened from the top or opened like a door. The do not slide up and down like windows I'm used to.
I love these windows because (1) they are versitile. I can open the window in different ways depending on what I want. When I open the window from the top, . . .
. . . (2) it keeps Sebastian from trying to climb on the windows. It also (3) prevents rain from getting inside the house. I love to hear the rain (and birds and wind and people), and keeping these windows open allows me to feel more apart of my surroundings without a wet window sill. When I open the window like a door, . . .
. . . (4) it allows more fresh air and breeze through the apartment. Opening the windows like this also (5) allows you to clean the other side of the glass without having to step on a ladder. Window screens are also not common, and I love (6) being able to see through the window clearly without the obstruction of a mesh screen.
Keys Like This
Well, that's all I really have to say about this one.
Trash Cans in the Produce Aisle
I thought it might be trashy to take a picture of the inside of this trash can, so just close your eyes and imaging I'm opening it right now. You look inside and see wilted spinach leaves and outer layers of cabbage. What a genius idea! We pay for most produce by the pound, but end up shucking those outer and bruised layers when we get home anyway. With these produce cans, people place only those inedible leaves inside, saving the consumer money and making trash sorting easier.
In the short week that we've been here, we've already found some awesome playgrounds. A lot of them, too! Play seems to be extremely important to Germans because you can't walk very far down the street or path without seeing some play equipment. Sometimes you see a grand play area like these.
But if there isn't room for a large play area, you might find a small play "thing" all on its own. There is a cute wooden snail that Sebastian can ride just outside the nearest grocery story. We see other little animals or cars near bus stops or benches. We pass a small swing set with just one swing on our way to the other grocery store. A little teeter-totter sits near the lake.
Playgrounds illustrate another important quality that I believe I see more in Germany: trust. The simple playground equipment and the way parents allow their children to play on it shows trust even in small children. While we were living in Charlotte, parents would follow their children around the playground, unsure of what obstacle their children might encounter or what danger their children might find. Curtis and I like to let Sebastian take risks and figure out the equipment on his own. Obviously, some equipment is designed for much older kids, and we take that into consideration. But in general, we don't mind letting him play on what he wants and how he wants. In the States, I'm sure some parents thought we were too hands-off, but in Germany, most parents are like this. In fact, many children are at the playground (gasp!) without any parents at all. It's common to let children walk to school or play at the playground on their own, something that could get parents investigated or even arrested in the U.S. But trust, it turns out, is a very refreshing thing.