Culture shock? Not really...
At least for me, that is! I learned a few key phrases as soon as I arrived:
- how to ask for something 'Ich hatte gern...'
- please and thank you 'bitte', 'danke schöne'
- my German isn't very good 'Mein Deutsch ist nicht so gut'
Anticipation is key in everyday shopping. When I ask for a 'Bratwurst' (sausage) or 'Fleischkäsebrötchen' (meat loaf sandwich), I know they'll ask if I want 'Senf' (mustard) or 'Zwiebeln' (onions). At the bakery after I order a loaf a bread, I'm always asked 'geschnitten?' (sliced?), and there seem to be endless ways of asking if I want anything else - 'sonst noch etwas?', 'noch etwas dazu?', or 'noch ein Wunsch?', but with anticipation I can respond without hesitation and either order something or just say 'das war's, danke' (that's all, thanks). The first time I heard 'tüte' at the checkout, I had no idea what I was being offered a plastic bag to carry my groceries in! Practice makes perfect, eh!