Prior to meeting my now husband, I had not done much traveling outside of the USA and Canada. I had been to Mexico and some Caribbean Islands, but never to Europe. One of the many things to catch my eye during my travels abroad were the toilets. I know, I know, most people come home with stories of amazing food and architecture. But one of the things that really struck me were the toilets. While traveling, I spent the majority of my time trying new foods and drinking much more that my usual. That also meant that I spent a fair amount of time looking for toilets.
Europe is not like the United States, in several ways. But one of the biggest differences is the lack of fast food restaurants. This is not a bad thing at all, the rate of obesity in most of Europe is way beneath the 1 in 3 person rate of the USA. But it does pose one problem, a lack of toilets. When traveling through the USA, you never have to search for a toilet. There is a McDonald’s or Burger King on every corner with a toilet waiting for you inside. That is not the case in Europe, you really have to search for a place to go, and you usually have to pay for that wee.
The other difference, or at least a difference between Germany and the US is the style/shape of the toilets. The toilets in the USA have a bowl, and that bowl is filled with water. You do your business, clean up, and flush. The bowlful of water and everything else goes swishing down, then the bowl fills back up with more water. Magic. In Germany, there is a bowl with a shelf and a small amount of water in the bowl. The first time I came across this type of toilet I was filled with a terrible fear. OH MY GOD THE TOILET IS BROKEN AND I HAVE TO SHIT! What can be done in these situations? It’s going to happen, it has to happen, nature will take it’s course. No matter how embarrassing it may be. I said a silent prayer to the God of Toilets, and hoped for the best. I was pleasantly surprised as everything did go down without issue. Not sure why they need a toilet shelf, not sure I even want to know.
An example of a German throne. Note the shelf and small amount of water. This toilet was created to set fear in the hearts of any Americans that may need to use it.
Dirk and I met for the first time in Detroit, Michigan. (https://thatblogwherecheriemovestogermany.wordpress.com/2017/12/11/monday-memories-cherie-and-dirk-meet-for-the-first-time-and-then-cherie-loses-the-truck/). My then boyfriend had traveled all over Europe, but had never been to the United States. He had all kinds of expectations and thoughts about what he might find in the States, but I don’t think that he had given any prior thought to the toilets. After picking him up at the airport, we went back to the hotel. He had been traveling for over 24 hours and wanted to get cleaned up before we hit the town. I of course had to pee, as it seems I ALWAYS have to pee. So, I went into use the toilet before him and did my wee. Dirk gathered his things and went into the bathroom to shower. He was in there for quite a while. Who needs that kind of time to get ready? He finally came out of the bathroom with a rather strange look on his face.
“Honey, are you OK?, I asked.
“Ja, gut. But, um…I think that you stopped up the toilet.”, He said with all German seriousness.
“What are you talking about? The toilet worked fine when I was in there to pee.” I said in my most offended American voice I had.
“I just peed! I didn’t clog the toilet!” Very offended American voice.
“Well, the toilet is filled with water. I don’t know what you did to it”. Again, filled with German seriousness.
This was our conversation. We had just met in person for the first time, after spending over a year talking online and on the phone. Our first real, in person conversation was about his concern that I had plugged up the toilet during our first meeting. So romantic.
I went into the bathroom to find a perfectly normal, American toilet with some water in the bowl.
“Dirk, honey. What do you think is wrong with the toilet?” I asked as I flushed the perfectly normal toilet.
“It’s filled with water. It is clogged. Did you use too much toilet paper?” Again, so much seriousness.
He watched as the toilet flushed, awaiting the flood that he thought was coming. Only to see that the water went down, without issue. We then had a discussion about toilets in Germany versus toilets in America. All was right with the world. I then, left him in the bathroom so he could use it, as he had been afraid to go before, thinking that I had plugged the whole thing up.
Ours is a story of romance and love, lost trucks and plugged toilets and it just keeps getting better everyday.