I’ve been living in Germany with my German husband for the past 18 years. We’ve moved house once and always made do with standard German refrigerators – not much room and nothing special to look at. A couple of years ago, however, prior to a kitchen renovation we bought a big silver side-by-side ‘American style’ fridge complete with an ice maker.

Now this would have been no big deal if we lived in N. America. There, if you told someone you got a fancy new fridge, they’d probably start yawning. Here in Germany, it’s like all the neighbours have to come over and take a look at the utter decadence. Our duplex neighbour was suitably impressed and called it a Luxuskühlschrank – a luxury fridge. We even thought about charging admission.

After the fridge was in place I had no peace in our little kitchen with everyone running in and out every five minutes to fill their glasses with ice cubes or crushed ice, my husband being the worst culprit, looking forward to long, hot summers filled with well-chilled cocktails and little paper umbrellas.

But my better half hasn’t always had such an easy relationship with ice cubes. He’s German, remember, and Germans have a thing about cold drinks. It’s a well-known German old wives tale that if your drink is too cold, you will immediately get pneumonia and die. Oh yes, it’s true. Just ask my in-laws. Ice cream is fine, ice cubes are definitely not. Very confusing for a foreigner.

When I first moved to Germany, I asked Mr. M where his ice cube tray was and he replied, “Ice…cubes? What are these ‘ice cubes’ of which you speak?”

They do actually sell ice cube trays in here, so we went out and got one. After that it was a cautious “You mean I won’t get pneumonia and die if I put ice in my drink? Promise?” He tried it, he lived, and the search for the perfect ice cube tray was on. Over the years we must have collected about ten of the things – all different shapes, sizes and materials.I guess we really have no more use for them now, but maybe I’ll keep a couple for old time’s sake – to remember the day when Mr. M finally moved into the ice age.

Christina has lived in Germany since 1990. In her blog Mausi she writes about more cross-cultural adventures in Germany with her German husband, bilingual boys and a garden full of weeds.

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