Sunday, August 19, 2012

Military Monday - Pros and Cons for Moving to Germany, Revisited

Before we even made the move across the big pond, I wrote a post about the good and bad that I thought I would encounter with our move.  I promised I would revisit it to see how accurate my views were, so here we are 9 months later.

And since we're on the topic of Germany versus the US, I just stumbled across this amazing article about what is wrong Americans/US.  It is definitely a must read!

Things to Miss of the U.S.
1. Family and Friends

I have gone through so much homesickness because of this one right here.  The longest I had been away from family before the move was about 5 months, and now it's been 9 months since I've seen my nieces and nephews and my parents.  I was super close to my niece and nephew (Krysalyn and Kaiden) before the move so it broke my heart to say good-bye to them.  Every now and then I get drawings and letters from everyone back home and it makes the distance even harder.  Especially now that our next visit is nearly in my grasp, I'm getting very anxious to see everyone again.

As for friends, I only had one true friend back in the states that I miss regularly, but I had the pleasure of visiting with her for a whole month just recently and I have some AMAZING friends here, so my friend quota is pretty full at the moment.
Krysalyn, Christopher, Kaiden

2. English being the primary language

Yes, it isn't quite as simple to just strike up a conversation with someone and every now and then you do get an awkward moment where neither one of you know how to properly communicate something but for the most part it isn't a HUGE problem.  Mostly it's just inconvenient.  It does make venturing out less... inviting?... but if you're the adventurous type, then it wont stop you.

I will say though, watching my husband pantomime "Christmas tree stand" to a German last December was quite entertaining.  :-P

3. Being the majority

I thought this would be a problem because I heard so many horror stories before we moved but I honestly haven't had a problem with Germans singling us out.  From time to time, we'll get some stares when they hear us talk but when I think about it, I do the same thing when I hear people talk with an accent I'm not familiar with or a language I don't know.  It's just natural curiosity.

4. Target

/siggggghhhhhhhhhh.... I miss Target.  I probably couldn't go an entire week without day dreaming of the luxury of going to Walmart or Target.  I love because of it's amazing deals but I also LOVE the shopping experience of going into a store and buying a million things you don't need.   Target needs to go international, like, pronto.

I will say though that I miss the overall convenience of being in the states.  It wouldn't be so bad if we didn't have any ties to the states, but since there are still strings attached, things can get a little tricky.  For example, we bought my wedding ring in the states.  In July, my ring came in need of repair as one of the small diamonds fell out.  Now it has been a nightmare trying to get it back to the states, to the jeweler that the warranty is under, to get it fixed.  It still hasn't left our house and it has been over a month since the repairs were needed.  But say, we lived in Germany our whole lives and bought my wedding ring here.  It would be no worse getting it repaired than if we were currently stationed in the states.

Reasons to be Excited About Germany
1. Traveling

We have traveled so much in the last 9 months.  I have never traveled so much in my life.  I'm about traveled out at the moment but we still have so much more to see.

2. Pace

Besides the mass difference in the pace of service with restaurants, I haven't found much of a difference in how the German's behavior differs from the Americans.  Of course, I never lived in a crazy busy city like New York, but from my small town in California, Germans aren't that different than us.

3. Public Transportation

Love, love, LOVE, the train system here!  Even when some tickets are slightly expensive, I love the availability and simplicity of it.  I love the metro system that is developed in larger cities and I love easily being able to learn the systems between very different cities.  Driving everywhere is very tempting because it's what us Americans are used to, but I highly recommend you take a look at their train system as well.  If you book far enough in advance, you can get the tickets CHEAP!

4. Beer

Holy mother of beer!  I never new there were so many different varieties of beer!  I'm actually still not a fan of beer.  I'll drink it from time to time, but it's not a pleasant experience for me.  My husband on the other hand, is becoming a beer lover.  Just a word of advice though, if you are not accustomed to drinking, the beer here is much stronger than back in the states.  It tends to be much powerful so drink with caution.

5. Festivals, Markets, Tours, etc.

I was just mentioning the other day that it seems like Germans make up excuses to throw festivals.  Just this weekend was the last day of a wine festival.  A whole week of vendors giving out wine samples coupled with more food than you could imagine.  It seems that every other month, there is some sort of festival or market that is happening downtown.  It definitely is an interesting experience to say the least!

6.  Recycling

We have definitely become a lot more aware of how much of our "trash" can be recycled while here.  While many people upon moving here are afraid of the daunting task of sorting and recycling, I'm here to say that it isn't so bad.  We have two cans under our sink for recyclables (one of paper/cardboard and the other for packaging materials such as plastics, metals, etc.) and since we only go through a bottle of wine or a couple beer bottles once in a blue moon, they sit on our counter until we can walk them across the street.  Our regular trash can sits at the entrance to the kitchen, and viola! you have our sorting methods.

Living in Germany definitely has been an experience and I wouldn't trade what we've gotten to be a part of, but missing home still does happen frequently.

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