When I lived in Papua New Guinea, many of my wonderful friends and family members wrote me e-mails, chatted with me online, and sent letters and care packages. But there was one particular friend of mine who went the extra mile and CALLED me despite the 15 hour difference. (This was before Skype worked or webcams were a dime a dozen. -Of course, I still don’t have one.) Anyway, if you have never lived on the opposite side of the earth from almost everything near and dear to your heart, you may not quite understand this, but let me just tell you. Hearing that long international delay and then her sweet, cheerful voice when I picked up the phone was a beautiful, beautiful thing. For that reason, and many many others, I have promised my lovely friend Erin that she could write a guest post for my blog if she ever had the inclination.
Her husband is in the military and they recently moved to Germany. She wrote a post about some of what she has learned there.
Because I am basically chicken and have not started my own blog, I asked Katrina if she could post something for me…and she said…. “yes!”
Germany. I have been living in the land of Bavaria, with my family, for 5 months now. We moved here mid September and well…let’s just say…some things in life are a bit easier than moving to another country.
I have always said, “I never get culture shock.” Well, I have never been out of the country for more than 3 weeks.
I have always said, “living in a foreign country is like, totally the coolest thing EVER.” There is a big difference between living, and visiting.
I have always said, “kids are portable, just put them on your back and GO!” That is before you realize you are 34 and carrying a toddler just is not as much fun as R.E.I makes it sound.
I have always said, “Anyone, can make Lemonade out of any situation.” Lemonade is not really a popular drink in Germany.
It might sound as if I am complaining. Please know I am not. Not at all. I have just realized that things are different when living overseas. The learning curve has taken a lot longer than I thought. I really, truly, thought I could move across the ocean and jump right into life. Not so much. There are quite a few hurdles that one has to get around before soaking up the “life” that is Germany.
So here are the Top Ten things I’ve Learned from living in Germany.
- If you speak the only 3 German words you know to a German person, they will respond. Be ready to answer them back. Or you could be left with nothing to say, but your brain is thinking, Yo estudio espanol in College – y hablo espanol un poquito, lo siento.
- Sometimes a store just, won’t be open. I am serious. At some random time, it just may not be open. Just because. Make sure you have what you need.
- European Food is AMAZING! EAT UP. You only live once, and you might as well embrace the fact that most restaurants make the food for you. No heat lamps. They bring it out as it’s made. YUMMY!
- When doing a Military move, your stuff will get broken. Especially if it is across the ocean. Ohh and your stuff might get wet, moldy, and be called very bad words by the European Moving Company that drops it off, and tells you it should be thrown away.
- Kids take a long time to adjust to a new place. Adults take longer.
- When it’s cold in Germany, it’s cold. No amount of long underwear can prepare you for the “COLD” that we have been having. I used to think I wanted to climb Mt. Everest. Whatever. The cold we have been having freezes your lips and your snot.
- Despite the cold, it is quite pretty here. Clean. Simple. Fresh. Quiet. Peaceful. It is a nice way of life.
- Not everyone, in every country, is outgoing or an extravert. I suppose it isn’t personal. (If you don’t know me, I am basically an extravert’s extravert. I have not met a stranger and will speak to and entertain a rock.)
- Military TV is, . . . . ..Well, I’ll just say that we are grateful for movies and old TV shows that anyone wants to send us. We have been catching up on Friends courteously of Katrina’s PNG DVD supply. 🙂
- Diet Coke is not Diet Coke in Europe. I would do almost anything for a REAL Diet Coke from McDonalds.
I do have to say, that sometimes it is hard to embrace all the things that I have to embrace. There are slight differences in almost everything. From Diet Coke tasting different, to stores closing early. From eating when your food comes out and not waiting for the entire table to be served, to learning that a EURO is really not the same as a dollar. You might laugh… it’s hard not to be in that mindset.
All in all, we love Germany. It is a crazy fun adventure and I am so glad to experience life in Germany.