Two Years Living in Germany Reflections

 

This week marks two years since I left Michigan to move to Germany. I seriously can’t believe it.  730 days have passed. We’ve visited 24 cities, gone back to the States for 3 weddings, attempted to learn a new language, started new jobs and embarked on a completely new adventure.

In the past year, I have changed a lot. I am much more comfortable speaking German and am understanding more and more every single day. I’m speaking at work and able to say more than just one sentence at a time. A year ago, I wasn’t confident about my German but knew enough to feel comfortable in a restaurant. I am very thankful for my private German lessons because it really helps me understand how Germans understand and speak English, as well as German.

A lot of my job is editing already translated English documents into “better” English and about a week ago I was learning about relative pronouns and how the sentence structure functions in German. In English, we would say, “This is my friend, who takes me to work.” In Germany, it would translate to, “This is my friend, who me to work takes.” And the who can be said about 20 different ways depending on if the noun is masculine, feminine or neutral and based on tense. It’s so interesting and I have such an appreciation for anyone who learns another language and has to use it in business or school.

I’ve adjusted to nothing being open on Sundays, gotten the courage to order from the cheese counter at the grocery store and have a great hairdresser and doctors. I’ve even adapted some things from German culture to my daily life.

I have made some incredible friends and even traveled with some of them. It’s been so nice to find a community here in Germany. I would say that the majority of my friends are American but I have made German friends, some from Vietnam and others from Canada. Having something in common, being expats, is a wonderful common denominator. We share what we miss about the States and I learn so much from the Germans.

I have tried to focus on the positive sides of living here, which has been more difficult this year than our first year living here. I feel like I’m missing out on a lot of wonderful things that are happening with my family and friends back home, like engagements, weddings, baby showers and just the random Saturday night grabbing a cocktail spur of the moment. And then I sometimes fall down into the hole of thinking about what life would be like if we hadn’t moved here. Would we have a house? Would have a baby? Maybe even two? But then I remember to kick myself out of that and remember how incredible this opportunity to live here is. And how our story is just getting started and what is meant to be will be.

Overall, I can’t believe two years have gone by so quickly. It’s our last year on this wild ride and I want to make the most it. I think year three is going to be the best one yet!

Thoughts on Living in Germany for Two Years, as an Expat

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