frische Luft

Soon folks...soon...

Fresh air.  Germans have a strong attachment to the concept of “fresh air”.  Windows here generally don’t have screens (which took some getting use to for a spider fearer like me) and over time I observed that Germans like to open a lot of their windows, wide, all year round.

The first year here, I only opened windows when we were in the room, and mainly in warmer weather.    The thought of opening up the entire house, especially in winter, seemed…weird.  Would you drive your car in the middle of winter with all the windows down?  Perhaps if you were a dog.

It was actually my brother and sister-in-law that sparked my inclination to really “open the windows” during their visit here last summer.  It was a hot day, 40-degrees -in-the -shade kind, and after being away on a day trip we come home to a rather toasty house.  They headed upstairs to where they were sleeping, and 30 minutes later I climbed the stairs to put something in the laundry.  As I reached the top, I was embraced with this lovely strong breeze.  Looking around, I suddenly understood why:  ALL the windows were wide open. I’m not talking a tiny crack here people, they were flung wide open like doors (windows do that here; it’s neat).   I gasped, thinking about all those big black spiders Hubby had to extinguish over the last year and had a vision of them all lined up outside these wide open windows jumping in by the gang full.

But, as I continued down the hallway, I really started to enjoy the breezy upstairs, as if I was walking outside. And later, the house had a nice “out doorsy” smell to it.  I was hooked! For the rest of the summer, I would ritually fling open the windows every day (and madly close them when rain came).  With windows wide open, sounds are that much sharper:  amplified church bells, pigeons gurgling, goats bleating, and children happily playing (nothing beats that sound).  Now on the downside, there are some sounds that are better left behind closed windows such as my neighbor yelling Jawohl! Jawohl! at his wife (stems from a military response Yes, sir!), loud irritating music from teenagers, and distinct sounds of bodily engagement coming from the field behind us that I hope involves birth control.

Shortly after we moved, I was reading through the free magazine the post office sent us (yes, I’m desperate for reading material) and read an article about the importance of opening up your windows on a daily basis to “circulate the air” all year round.  Even though it was below zero outside, I decided to give it a whirl.

30 minutes later, my teeth were chattering as I closed the windows back up but I liked knowing the air inside the house was fresh and made it my daily morning routine ever since.  Out with the old; in with the new.  During the day, if I find myself sluggish, I just crank open the window.

I’m now a fresh air junkie, and highly recommend it.

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