5 things I have learned from working in restaurant services as a student in Germany

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It sucks to work and study at the same time, but you are going to love your hard-earned money after the shift. I have been working as a waitress for 4 years now. Morning buffets in a lavishing 4-star hotel and then switched to lesser lavishing hotel as a restaurant waitress for the evening hours. I also ventured to catering services if more people are needed for the work. It is stressful, but it is worth the work when you pay your studies yourself – well, in the German setting at least.

Time management

Shifts from 5 am until 11 am or 5pm until 11 midnight were just some of my regular shifts. When I arrive home, it would be 12 mid night if I get the train on time. To balance my work-student life, I had to bring my books to work. I read whenever I am inside the train and I read inside the restaurant when there is nothing to do. As a working student, you won’t have much time to read stuff compared to your classmates who do not need to work.

Humility

Before I set my studies in Germany, I never worked as a waitress, rather, in fields of freelancing journalism, translation work and tutoring. I must admit, I thought, being a waitress is easy. But NO, it can be stressful at times. You meet people from all walks of life who want to be brought food. Most of the time I am happy I got the waitress job, it opened my eyes to people who work for food services. I became humbler when I get to know other waitresses who also have to meet ends like me.

Boldness

I was at first hesitant to do the job, but when your broke and really want to pursue your studies, you will have this urge to pretend you have the skills in any job. I can’t recall, but I once gave the wrong order of eggs to a person. Some days, people understand, in other days, I didn’t want to leave the kitchen anymore. Nevertheless, I became more outspoken as a waitress. I could literally yell and ask 30 persons what they want to have for dinner. I try to be friendly all the time and remove my shyness from people – I only need to know what they want to eat and drink. I also learned how to joke around Germans. Sometimes, if you get drunk guys at the restaurant, and they ask you for your name, tell them you are “HELGA”. They’ll laugh hard and get the joke.

Gratefulness

I am not only grateful for the tip I get, or perks of eating food for free at times, I am grateful that I have a “job”. A job that pays for my needs and necessities for my university studies. I am also happy to have the regular customers who support me with their loving words of encouragement for my studies. I have this one regular who keeps asking if my studies are going well, asking me about my future plans when I graduate. It is nice when people ask, and also when they support your dreams.

My work colleagues became my second family

The longer I have worked for the same restaurant, the longer people know me. I had this feeling of having a loving family every new year for our late Christmas party. We enjoy everyone’s company and have a good time together. It makes me happy to belong to this group because they know my strengths and weaknesses and they try to help me even outside of work-related matters.

 

My taboos, your taboos. Why we don’t talk about them but probably should.

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Growing up in both the Eastern and the Western world has taught me how to act appropriate in different situations to respect a certain practice, culture, or law. These acts that have to be adhered to are also known as taboo. Taboo vary from each country, religious affiliation, and society.  I think each person on earth can relate to some kind of taboo.  Here is my story of some of the taboo I am familiar with, especially from my up bringing in the Philippines.

One of the experiences I could still remember where I followed a religious custom, were on the days before Easter. Every “good Friday” where I was still living with my family in the Philippines, my Filipina mom would tell me not to take a bath after three pm – her reason was, “that is the same hour where Jesus Christ has died”.  In her upbringing in the province, it was forbidden to take a bath on good Friday. It was a taboo and I complied to my mom’s instruction so to respect her beliefs. I didn’t even bother to ask what the consequence(s) were if I did not follow her instructions. But deep inside, If I had asked, I could tell she would just reply, just do it and respect the tradition.

My German dad was not that religious, he did not suggest any practices that are of religious traditions but shared societal taboos in Germany. For example, some songs composed during the WWII are prohibited to be played in present Germany. I listened to Schlager music and never did I listen to songs from the war time, anyway, it was just a topic about taboos that came along while my Dad shared his experiences about growing up in east Germany. Comparing it with my mom’s wishes, my dad can justify why certain things  have to be restricted or prohibited.

I got to know a lot more taboos from the Philippine culture as I matured and after I flew back to Germany some years ago, I realized that I was embraced with too much religious and societal taboos, why? Because those taboos I know from the Philippines are inexistent here in Germany! From taboo subjects like: “sex and death” to taboo acts like: “do not take a picture with only three people in it” or food taboos explicitly for women: “Don’t drink coconut water when you have your period!” and the list goes on.

Whether you live here in Germany or somewhere else, taboos are present everywhere, so I asked my close friends who are international students in Germany to share with me the taboos in their home country. Gabriella, from Hong Kong says: „it is taboo to let young girls roam around in public without any shirt on“. Amekha from Nigeria: „it is a taboo in Nigeria to talk about homosexuality“ and Laura from Indonesia: „Public display of affection, but I think everything is taboo or haram in Indonesia“. I can’t see why it should be prohibited to let young girls roam without a top on. Moreover, I would feel sorry for gay people in Nigeria if they are not even allowed to talk about their sexual orientation and I think I would not like to live in Indonesia when my friend is right about taboos followed everywhere.

Sharing what my friends have mentioned where taboos are not talked or done in public, there are taboos which has left miserable outcomes in a certain society because they are NOT TALKED ABOUT by the majority. In the Philippines, sex is still considered as a very sensitive topic. NOT talking about sex (biological reproduction) is still prevalent in the Philippines, and especially for the youth.  There is this feeling of shame or disgust that goes with talking about sex with parents, relatives and even friends. It is innate in the Filipino culture to follow the Roman Catholic Church and to see the Virgin Mary as a woman to be looked up to, hence, sexual abstinence is usually what Filipino parents teach their children and this is also taught in schools. Sex education is not yet implemented in any schools in the Philippines.

Although the Reproductive Health Law in the Philippines was signed in 2012 – which includes family planning and better access to contraceptives, it has not included sex education in its implementation. Even politicians themselves know – it will be a long way for a Catholic country like the Philippines to accept a law that has to do with teaching children and teenagers about safe sex. According to the Guardian, 65% of Filipinas do not use contraceptives and some reasons for this is not having knowledge about contraceptives and no access to get contraceptives. It was reported that when a woman gets “accidentally” pregnant in the Philippines, they would go under unsafe abortions. About 600, 000 abortions happen yearly in the Philippines (See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBjgP541BIY&t=75s).

This is just one example where I would say that it is time to start talking about a taboo because not talking about it may lead to a thousand more problems. My suggestion would be to take the feeling of shame and malice out of the Filipino culture and to talk like human beings and see sex as something naturally and biologically accepted and not something sacred that has to be hidden.

The video below will give a short introduction about where the word taboo originated. I will share with you two familiar taboo subjects from the Philippines, after which, we will get to know some opinions about familiar taboo topics in Germany. Lastly, I will talk about a taboo subject matter that is uneasily discussed, but is utmost needed to be spoken out!

About the blogger

Katherine, or just „Kate“ is an avid writer who practices yoga once in a while.
She likes to cook Asian dishes in her spare time.
テレビ is her favorite Japanese word because it is easy to remember.
She believes in the Slovak proverb:
„as many languages you know so many times you are a human“

If you are interested to know more about Kate, you may watch her introduction video below. The video will show Kate in her natural habitat (her room)  and she will be talking about Iced tea, donuts and her favorite city.

 

Travel cheap in Europe: stay at hostels

Upon my sojourns in Europe, I always try to be thrifty. There are some reasons why I choose to stay at hostels in Europe. Here are five reasons I would love to share:

  1. I do not stay the whole day in a hotel, what’s point of travelling if you would just stay a day in a room?

    I chose to stay at hostels because I pay for the bed and the good night sleep I have to recover from my walking from the city tour or because i went for a hike the whole day. It is definitely not practical to pay a stay for not even staying the whole day at a room.

  2. The payment for a hostel may be 70% cheaper than sleeping in a hotel

    – Yes, you got my message right, booking in a hostel is way more cheaper than booking a hotel. Upon my stay at a hostel in Dublin, I only paid 54 euros for 4 nights.   That includes a continental breakfast (with good choices of toast, butter, jams, milk, Cadbury chocolate drink, tea and coffee). That hostel price for 4 days would be 1 night in a 3 star hotel.

  3. Students (I am still a student) may get discounts

    This does depend what kind of hostel you are booking, but in Germany, if you would book in a youth hostel called Jugendherberge you may avail discount as a student if you are 26 years old and below.

  4. Hostels are artsy and fancy in their on way.

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First picture at a hostel in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and the 2nd picture is me and behind me an artistic wall in a hostel in Weimar, Germany.

5. Food sharing + awesome people

When I and my friend Lisa went to Denmark and stayed at a hostel, people shared their breakfast with us because they had to much food. As a student, its just nice to get food for free. We also cooked pasta and it was too much, we asked somebody who might want to eat, and within 2 minutes we made someone happy.

Written by: Katherine Draheim

 

A day trip in Frankfurt am Main

 

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Goethe check

The very well known Faust author was born in Frankfurt a.M., where he also grew up with his parents and sister. I would recommend anyone visiting Frankfurt to take time, to watch how Wolfgang grew up as a toddler without actually having a laptop and other tech stuff around. There are also some revelations that I did not know about Goethe’s Family and was really satisfied upon having visited the family house. The entrance price for students were at 3 euros which made my pocket very happy.

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Old-City watching

Most of Germany’s big city’s have this so called „Alt Stadt“ (Old city) corner and you will get the impression of seeing Frankfurt as a city that still treasures tradition and architecture. This part of the city is reachable and is convenient to see because it is not far from the malls and the train station as well.

 

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German Film Museum

The German Film museum is located in the city and is manageable to reach from the train station of Frankfurt. They have a lot of events and workshops for students and Film enthusiasts. Field trips are also done here by the students. Upon entering, there is a small collection of the ever first noted German films.

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Bratwurst eating

When you do come by the city center where the train station is at, you have to taste the German sausag; Bratwurst. It just makes the one day trip give the German taste and your tummy will be full as well. The price of this sausage is also affordable compared to the other food there is in a big city like Frankfurt.

The trip was nice because most of the attractions that was on my intention to visit were in the city and it was all reachable by walking. To add to that, I only took about a hundred euro from Lower Saxony for seeing Frankfurt for a day. I would recommend to plan a one day trip a month before because time flies fast, and you cant manage to see everything in one day.

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Written by: Katherine Draheim

My Roller coaster experience in Heide Park Resort

edited-1Heide Park Resort, Soltau, Germany.

As a kid I always wanted to ride dangerous- looking-roller coasters, but, because of some hindrances (age, height, financial status, nervous mom, time) I tend to miss the opportunity. Now, intetionally, I had to do it, (before reaching thirty and knowing I am still healthy enough to endure heart attacks and the like….) I went to one of the best roller coaster park here, in northern Germany, The Heide Park Resort.

Here are some of the trains and entertaining spots I went to ride and experience.

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„The Scream“

This was my favorite ride. A free fall ride. You really would think its your last day on earth from falling down on a 103 meter long tower. Do not leave Heide Park without trying this out.

The Bobbahn

(Not on the photo 😦 ) This was the harmless ride I had. I rode it twice. I would recommend it to people who are afraid to ride the Kraken.

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Kraken

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The „Krake“ ride was steep. Very steep. This should also be on the list of your Heide Park adventure if you happen to visit. Because of my petite and light structure, I was dragged by the air upon falling from the tip. You wont even get wet, it just looks like you would get wet. After the Krake ride, I did not go for a second round anymore. It was awesome.

How to train your Dragon park

If ever you would not dare take the cool rides, you can still take the childrens path of adventure. There is this boating site, Hiccup’s Park and Egyptian coasters that do not need a height limit, nor seem dangerous.

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Before deciding to go to this Park, I would recommend to visit when pupils do not have their vacation time, so you have the chance to ride all the roller coaster you wish to and the line would not be that long.

 

Written by: Katherine Draheim

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Island visit in Langeoog, Germany

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Langeoog is located in the north shores of Germany. It was quite an erratic day to visit an Ísland where you do not know if a splash of water would run down your head. Still, I would not know when I would have time again to visit Germany’s Island so I went for it! Here are the Things you would see in Langeoog!

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No cars allowed!

I haven’t seen one car at all in this Island, the wonderful alternative for faster transportation is by a horse calash or by bike. Langeoog has a small train station for the way to the ship’s pier and to the City Center.

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Interesting Street Signs

Upon arriving in Langeoog, you’ll see various street signs that would help you know where to go.

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Eis Cafe/ Ice Cafe

Having an ice cream for a sunny day-stay is really good. The Cafe’s in Langeoog are at affordable prices for me, as a Student.

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….and of course the beach!

A lot of Germans head to the north beaches because it is a practical alternative compared to the beach in Mallorca, Spain. A lot of families prefer the north Islands because it is reachable by the Autobahn and the prices are Family friendly.

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Written by: Katherine Draheim

 

A day-tour in Bremen, Germany

The last week of the summer weather in Germany is here and I had to make the time for a small travel in the Bundesland of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen). Bremen was my destination yesterday! So, what did I do for a day tour in Bremen?

City Tour

With or without a tour guide, you will see a lot about Bremen. Boettcher street is an interesting narrow street in Bremen that is tourist known because a Museum lies within this street. But within the neighboring streets are also the Capitol, the rock to spit on and the statue of Roland.

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Spotted the Town Musicians

Leaving without spotting these fine singers from the famous childrens story of the Grim Brothers is a NO-NO! Better look out for them cause they belong to Bremen’s treasures.

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The Town Musicians (in German: Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten)

Tasted Becks Beer!

Becks is the beer of Bremen. When you happen to be standing beside the Weser river (located near Boettcher street), you would be sniffing malt. The beer factory is also located beside the Weser river. It was a good beer for me cause I got thirsty from going around the city.

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Visit art & historical sites

Bremen also offers Art and History. The Art musuem is located in the city center, „am Wall street“ and a historical ship tour is located in the Weser river. Bremen is also considered as a soccer city with a very known football team: SV Werder Bremen. They have a big football stadium within the city as well.

 

Übersee-Museum

Upon arriving in the train center, I came to an interesting museum which is about the ocean, nature, culture, development and migration. Subjects that surround Bremen and the people. I would recommend the Übersee-museum (pronounced as Ueberse in english) to nature and culture enthusuiast as well as families with toddlers.

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Überseemuseum, 2nd floor – Africa site and the Homo Sapien.

 It is must to travel in Bremen when the sun shines, but Bremen’s Christmas market is also to await, & it does not take to long anymore before December, so I might visit again very soon! Bremen was a really nice city to visit for a day, as you see, I made my time useful 🙂

 Written by: Katherine Draheim