Fashion, transport and island castaways — just some of the topics you quizzed Rachel Stewart on during the first ever Meet the Germans livestream. Catch up here!
Thank you to all of you who sent in questions for Rachel before and during the first ever Meet the Germans livestream on YouTube. The hour-long live show covered all sorts of topics about life in Germany and Rachel's work behind the scenes on Meet the Germans. We've picked out a few highlights for you here. Scroll down for the full video!
Aoife: What has surprised you the most about Germany since you moved here — either in a good way or a bad way?
Rachel: Something that stands out is something that I've talked about quite a bit recently: digital reluctance! I was super surprised, because I think the reputation of the Germans is that they are very practical. And I thought that along with that would come acceptance of modern technology and being at the forefront when it comes to those sorts of things. But that's not always the case.
I don't know whether I could say it's a good thing or a bad thing. As someone who comes from somewhere else, I found it frustrating at times. But at the same time, I often understand the reasons behind it. There's a lot of worry about data privacy and that's something that perhaps people like me don't think about enough. Maybe I'm throwing my data out there far too often and I should think about it a little bit more often!
Inderpreet: Preferred mode of transportation in Germany?
I'm going to say the bike. Because I love the fact that almost everywhere here has cycle lanes. The cars think they're the most important and the bikes think they're the most important but at least the people on the bikes are confident. I didn't say the train because, despite what a lot of you might think, the German train system is not as punctual as everybody says!
Alex: Do you edit your videos yourself?
Yes I do. I really like having the whole creative process of coming up with an idea, thinking it through, working out what it's going to look like, then discussing it with other people. We'll always have a producer — they can sort of give the German perspective on it, which is also really important because perhaps I'll have misunderstood something. Then we go and film it — usually there's just three of us. And then I go into the cutting room.
Jonathan: Has your choice of fashion changed since living in Germany?
Definitely! It's very casual in Germany. In the office, especially, I was used to people dressing up a bit more. In the office where I work now it's fine to turn up in jeans and trainers.
Going out on the town is very casual! I turned up in Germany with a suitcase full of high heels and party dresses. I had a very different look when I went out to my daytime attire. Whereas here, you have a black T-shirt and jeans on in the day and then you have a black T-shirt and jeans on at night-time. So, I guess it makes things a bit easier!
Claira: How do snacks differ in the UK and Germany?
Quite a few of you asked about snacks! I find it very irritating that almost all of the crisps in Germany seem to be "Paprika" — so, pepper — flavored. I was struggling at the beginning because I didn't have the variety of crisps that I liked. But then I discovered "flips" — very peanut-y crisps. They're very addictive!
Miguel: Why is Düsseldorf better than Cologne?
I can't tell you the answer to that, because I don't agree with it! In Germany it's really nice that the different cities have a really strong identity. They also have different industries based in different cities. You've got your business in Frankfurt. You've got a lot of the creative start-up scene in Berlin, as well as some of the politics, but then you've also got politics in Bonn. You've got media spread out between Cologne and Hamburg and Mainz. There's a different flair in every city.
Craig: Imagine you and some Germans on a lonely island. What three things would you take with you?
The first thing I would definitely take would be some kind of boardgame. Germans just love boardgames. And they'll often play quite complicated ones, which is good for us because we're on this lonely island and we don't know how long we're there for.
I don't know if this is bending the rules, but I'm going to say I'm going to take... Wikipedia! You need to know your facts where you're talking to Germans and they're going to be asking me all sorts of questions if we're there for a long time, so I need to have the answers at my fingertips.
What else shall I take? We need some comfort food. Maybe I'll take my "flips"!