There are a number of interesting things I've learned from Athena. Granted, some of these things shouldn't be extrapolated from a sample of one, but what's the fun in that?
1. German keyboards are not "QWERTY" but "QWERTZ." I understood that there would be different lettters, but this fact surprised me.
2. There are no tornados in Germany.
3. Or hurricanes. (Actually I kind of knew that, but it had to be confirmed before I could really believe it.)
3.b. I don't know about flash floods, I'll have to ask about that.
3.c. The prospect of an event of this type is very alarming to Europeans.
4. Power outages are so rare that a person can live 16 years in Munich and never experience one.
4.b. Power outages are very alarming to Europeans.
4. c. Not knowing how long the power will be out causes distress as well.
5. There is no emergency alert system for the National Weather Service on the radio. I guess they do have a National Weather Service, but then again without tornados, hurricanes, and flash floods who needs those creepy robot-voice alerts?
5.b. NWS radio alerts are alarming to Europeans. Or maybe that's just a manifestation of 3.c.
6. The southern pronunciation of the word "brrrrr" (as in, it's cold outside) is hilarious in German. Or, to Germans.
7. Everything in America tastes or smells like it has lots of sugar in it.
7.b. Including things like shampoo.
8. It is virtually unheard of in Germany for a person to teach himself to play a musical instrument.
9. In German, "Schmooze" means to snuggle up or cuddle someone you love.
9.b. There is no negative connotation to the word schmooze.
10. "Pups" means farts in German.
10.b. Maybe that's where the whole thing about blaming the dog came from.
11. Churches in Germany do not support themselves through tithing by members. All church members pay a tax to the government, who [which? whatever] then distributes the money to the denominations proportionally.
11.b. If someone were to applaud in church, something bad would probably happen.
12. In Germany, only crazy people and religious fanatics homeschool their children. Although it could be argued that this is the case in the U.S., also. Anyway, I think it's illegal to homeschool in Germany.
13. There is no Autobahn. There are any number of autobahns, it just means "highway," and most have speed limits.
14. The symbol or mascot of Munich is the Munchnerkindl, a little child dressed as a monk. Its a medieval thing. Since the 13th Century. Really.
14.b. Maybe the whole Atlanta Braves kerfuffle will seem quaint in seven or eight centuries.
15. Someone might be able to make a fortune introducing snickerdoodles to the German public.
16. Germans do so have a sense of humor. At least one does, anyway.
16. b. Sorry, that was probably very un-p.c. and culturally insensitive.
16.c. And they don't all wear lab coats and carry clipboards and a spray bottle of bleach.
16.d. See 15.b.Q.E.D. #1