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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Windows in Germany

Yes, today I am going to talk about windows. You see, I have discussed this topic before with Germans, and from my experiences, I have developed many opinions about German windows vs. American windows.

I first moved to Germany in August, and I remember trying to open the window in my bedroom that very first night. In the US, I have always lived in houses and apartments with windows like this:


To open it you simply open the latch in the middle of the window, then either pull the bottom half up or push the top half down. But in my new apartment in Germany, I was confronted with a window like this:


With these windows, when the handle is facing left, the window swings open like a door. When it up, like the in picture, it tilts, and when it is faced down, the window is locked. I twisted the handle to the left, so my window opened like a door, and I was shocked. 

While I needed some air circulation in my room (it was a pretty hot August/September), there were 2 things keeping me from opening my window:

1. My apartment was half underground, which meant that someone walking by would climb through my window into my room to steal my stuff and kill me. People in Lüneburg would probably think it is crazy to think this would happen (I wouldn't even open it when I was sitting at my desk right next to it), but I come from Chicago, where you have to have these tabs on your windows so that your window won't open more than 2 inches, keeping burglars and murderers out:


2. There are no screens! It was the summer, there was bugs outside, and there was no screens on my window. I don't think I had ever seen an open window without a screen on it before I went to Germany. Currently I am living in the house that my parents are renovating, which means that we recently installed new windows. They do not have screens in them yet, but the weather was really nice over the weekend. I asked my mom, "Why don't you open the windows?" to which she replied, "I can't open them, there are no screens! The bugs will all come in!" "But there are no bugs out yet, it's only April," I said. She replied, "Then a bird will probably fly in, or a squirrel will jump in here!" Needless to say, screens are seen as a necessity in the US.

I lived in Germany during the summer with my windows closed for about a week until I finally had a neighbor from upstairs come over and show me how to properly open the window (my mind was blown). He also taught me to finally use my shower, but that's another story.

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