Some things are completely the same- like a McDonald's cheeseburger. I am not a big fan of fast food for myriad reasons so it was with some dismay that I agreed to eat lunch with Maren under the golden arches. There were so many different things on the menu that I got overwhelmed. Then I realized that I could surely just get a burger- simple, familiar, less than 1000 calories. We ordered up two cheeseburgers and two "colas" and what do you know? It tasted just like America!
We also have Burger King and Subway if we get the urge. In Berlin and Hamburg, I have seen Starbuck's coffee shops. I'm sure there are other franchises...
Generally, we have been surprised by how many "American" products are available here. M&M's, Pringles potato chips, Doritos, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Snickers bars and most other major candy bars. And the things we've tried have been just like what we know.
There is a Tommy Hilfiger store right in Flensburg. I've seen Wrangler jeans in the department stores. People wear The North Face jackets.
And they know all about U.S. television programs. I watched "Happy Days" dubbed over in German at a friend's house! Ha! We have another friend who is hooked on "24." And of course they see American movies. Many are dubbed over in German and they always use the same voice actor for a particular American actor. So they think Brad Pitt sounds totally different than he really does. Funny!
American (and British) music is played on the radio a lot. The good, the bad, the 1983 ballads! I think I've heard "Africa" by Toto more in the last few months than I did in the last 25 years in the U.S. And it's such a hard song to get out of your head.
They even import some of our words-e-mail is e-mail, shopping is shopping, computer is computer! It's crazy! And sometimes frustrating!
But one thing they can't duplicate here is all the fantastic friends and family we have in the U.S. We miss you! Looking forward to holiday visits with everyone!