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Top 10 Most Exciting Things about living in Germany

14 Feb Posted by in Tops & Flops | 1 comment
Top 10 Most Exciting Things about living in Germany
 
  1. The Autobahn – Every American’s Dream. The Germans are serious about their driving. Most importantly, stay to the right unless you are passing. Efficient and effective system for those who can follow the rules, and yes, hella fun! The German’s are so efficient they even tell you where the fixed speed traps are.
  2. Food & Beer – The Food is amazing (once you can read the menu and know what you’re ordering) and the beer is cheap. At some restaurants, when you ask for a menu in English, there may be menu items not listed that are on the German menu. Weird, but true.  Also, the food bought at the grocery store may not always have the same shelf-life as in the US because there are fewer preservatives in the food.
  3. The Language – We will have a bi-lingual son. Period. Can’t say the same for most kids in the US. I make fun of the language barrier and the fact that German is a difficult language to learn, but in all honesty Europeans in general are a lot more patient and understanding when it comes to different languages than Americans. Because there are so many different languages in Europe, and because English is typically the second language, when I attempt to speak German people are a lot nicer than some Americans I have seen interacting with foreigners. Americans have little patience, sympathy and/or understanding of what it means to be speaking in a second tongue.
  4. The Unit of Measurement – Freezing equals “0.” What a concept. 1000 meters is 1 Kilometer. 500 meters is half a kilometer. Once the metric system is understood, it makes a whole lot more sense than whatever thing the crazy Americans use. A foot is 12 inches… who’s foot? Freezing is what again? Oh, silly me… how could I forget the nice round number 32?
  5. German Mentality – I’ve found that most Germans, whether they realize it or not live by the theory that, “Just because I can do something, doesn’t mean I should.” Completely opposite of Americans who typically function under, “Just because I can means I will… and not only will I do it… I will do it 10 times bigger than I should.” Or even better, “If you tell me I can’t or that it’s illegal, I will find some way to do it under your nose or do it by bending the rules.” Germans are extremely structured, regimented, and highly disciplined.
  6. Environmental Awareness – Don’t get me wrong. I am not a believer in “Global Warming” solely from humans… after all, the world has always changed and will always continue to change (Extinction of Dinosaurs, Evolution of mankind,  Ice Ages, etc.). But I am for trying to leave the planet the way we found it. Sounds a bit contradictory, huh? A lot of Germans are huge environmentalists. And while I’m not a scientist and can’t even begin to theorize why such events in the past and present have occurred, I do admire Germans for taking a stand for the environment by recycling, trying to reduce their carbon footprint, and moving toward more ecologically smart, and renewable power resources (i.e. closing nuclear power plants, installing wind turbines, and producing solar power).
  7. The Technology & Culture – I equate Germany to being technologically advanced and yet socially back in time. This isn’t a bad thing. I was amazed at a set of escalators coming out of a train station which were completely stopped. I, at first, thought maybe they were broken until walking close enough where the motion sensor started the steps. An innovative technique using a common technology. As for being socially back in time, not only are parents unafraid to let their children play outside, but the children also transport themselves by foot or bike to school… alone (insert huge American gasp).
  8. Strong Values and Commitment to Children – Parents are allowed longer maternity/paternity leave in Germany than in the US. Women are not legally allowed to work six weeks prior to their due date and eight weeks after giving birth (12 weeks for premature, multiple and cesarean births). As a result, many mothers stay home with their children, which by law, a company must guarantee a same level of position for a parent for up to 3 years after the child’s birth. In addition, parents are given monthly money “Kindergeld” for each child. And, surprisingly, the number of children born in Germany does not increase because parents are looking to get a free hand-out from the government, but the number of children being born is actually decreasing. While many products in Germany may be more expensive than in the US, I’ve found that a lot of baby products are cheaper in Germany than in the US.  Such items as formula / baby food products, bottles and wipes are cheaper in Germany.
  9. Traveling for a European Holiday – So many different cultures in such a small area equals so many possibilities. And besides, Europeans get more vacation time from work!
  10. Germany is a successful country – Germany is strong economically and especially for its size. Until about three years ago…guess which country was number one in exporting products? Yep, Deutschland. China only recently overtook Germany to become the world’s largest exporter. German products are known for their high quality.

These are some of my favorite things about Germany, but I won’t lie, I have many complaints too. Stay tuned for my most difficult transition issues; just as I build the Germans up, I also can knock them down. After all, the life of an expat is like a rollercoaster… Many ups, downs, twists and turns.



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