Living in another country can turn things back home upside down in your point of view
After I returned from my vacation from Germany, which is my home country (I left it for Taiwan in 2004), I was a bit shaken. Prices were so high, not only compared to Taiwan, but also compared to former years in Germany. Chocolate stuff, which I bought mostly this time, was up almost 100%. Double prices really shocked me. It's the Chinese drinking all the milk for coffee latte, that's what the German candy industry is saying. Well, whatever.
Other prices made me dizzy as well, especially if I imagine them in our old currency, the Deutsche Mark (DM) and not in Euro. I mean, before the Euro, 100g chocolate (standard "Tafel" packing) was 1 DM for a good but not excellent medium brand. Or 0.95 DM in Sale.
I can still remember the price reluctantly went back to 0.49 Euro, which is about 1 DM, after it was initally higher, but this year (2008) the standard price was 0.79 Euro. Pheeeeeew! Even saw 0.89 Euro. Come on, make it 0.99 Euro and Germans can imagine, Euro is DM again. No wait, doesn't work. A 50 000 DM annual salary is now rather 25 000 Euro.
TV reported, waitresses and hair dresser ladies often earn 450 Euro a month or 650 or whatever. Imagine paying these prices with that salary. No, it's not only chocolate, a little soft sausage (Ruegenwalder, meant to be spread on bread, delicious!) was 1.98 Euro for 250g, that's almost 4 DM !!!! Horrible much! A french salamy of cheap shopping center brand was 1.98 as well for 250g. I am full already.
TV also reported, a lot of such shop keepers and the like would be betrayed by their companies and not get their paid vacation! Germany was always famous for it's long paid vacations. Almost everybody had 25 days per year and office workers 30. Is Germany still Germany?
Well, I guess globalizing economy makes not so rich people poorer and wealthy people more wealthy. If I would start as a computer scientist in Germany now, my salary could climb but quite a number. Salaries for needed people are climbing, while cheap wages get even smaller.
Still my country? Yeah, but seems a bit like trailer-park Minnesota to me (never been there, sure it has its moments as well).