Life Abroad Q&A

Life in Germany is pretty darn awesome and whenever we go back to the States and we meet up with friends and family, we get asked similar types of questions. A lot of these questions are really good questions but I can’t think of a really good answer. Now that I have some time to think about my answers, I thought I’d put together a list of the questions we get asked most often with responses after I’ve had time to really think about it! If you have more questions, please leave a comment below.

 

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What do you miss most about America?

Taking out the obvious answer of family and friends, I miss Target the most. I know that sounds odd, but I really do miss Target. It’s the only place in the world where you can get a cute lamp, picture frame, bathing suits, food, wine, vitamins, make up, cards, anything I could ever want. My wallet is much happier, but there’s just nothing like Target. And I go every time we go back!

Starbucks drive-thrus. Or any drive-thru really.

Whole Foods, especially the hot bar and sushi. I would go to Whole Foods at least once a week for a quick dinner after working out or on a Saturday to grab a roll of sushi for lunch because Vinn doesn’t like it. I guess, I really just miss the food convenience. There are so many options for quick, healthy food in the States that just don’t exist here.

And on that note, I should also add Panera…and Chipotle because Vinn loves it so much!

Nordstrom. And their shoe department. I guess, shopping in general.

Carr’s crackers. A really strange thing to miss, but I have yet to find a delicious cracker for a cheese plate!

Brunch. More specifically, a boozy brunch with bottomless mimosas, Eggs Benedict and crispy bacon.  Brunch isn’t a popular concept here.

What do you wish America would implement from life in Germany?

The metric system. Seriously, why is America the only country that doesn’t use the metric system? I still have to think about what temperature it is when I hear it on the radio and couldn’t tell the doctor how much I weigh or how tall I am.

The work/life balance. Or maybe I should say the acceptance of vacations. Whenever someone is on vacation in Germany, no one even thinks to call him or her. People respect that holidays are necessary and should be relaxing. There is also a law where employees are not allowed to work more than 10 hours a day. If a person did work over 10 hours and got into a car accident on his way home, the company would be liable. The thinking is that you are no longer at your highest mental capacity if you work longer than 10 hours. I wonder if something like this could ever be implemented in the States?

The fact that small children walk to school by themselves. This is not the case in larger cities, but in our little town, kids walk themselves to school every morning. It’s incredible to see. These kids are probably in first grade and are trusted to make it to school on time! That’s really cool.

The value of learning another language. Children learn English very early in school and then are required to take another language once they hit middle or high school. Most people here speak at least three languages. That concept is lost in the States. You might take Spanish in high school, but that’s it. Vinn is lucky that he stuck with Spanish throughout high school and college, and then lived in Mexico for six months, so his Spanish is really good. We hope to teach our children Spanish when they are little and then they take German as their foreign language in school. It is such a gift. I guess that means I have to learn Spanish?

Are Germans nice? 

Short answer: yes. Long answer: for the most part, everyone we’ve come into contact with is super helpful, willing to answer questions and overall nice people. It is, however, difficult to make German friends. It takes a long time, stereo-typically, to cross over from acquaintance to friend in the German culture. But, overall, I have been very surprised with how nice everyone has been.

What’s been the hardest adjustment you’ve had to make? 

The language, hands down. It has definitely gotten easier over the past year and for the most part people speak English, but not being able to read something we get in the mail right away or not 100% understanding someone at work, on a walk or in a restaurant has been the biggest adjustment.

Getting adjusted to the fact that nothing is open on Sunday also took some getting used to. At the beginning, I would forget about it and then realize on Sunday that we didn’t have anything to eat for breakfast and be SOL. Restaurants are open so we don’t go hungry, but it took some adjustment to make sure to run to the grocery store on Saturday just in case.

What do you do all day if you’re not working? 

I go to the gym, write on this blog, take Copley for walks, meet friends for lunch, research vacations, watch Housewives, you know, I’m surprisingly busy. I really don’t know if I could go back to working full-time because I am enjoying working part-time and traveling and hoping to write a book. Life is good. If you’re interested in a more detailed post, here’s a day in the life post.

What’s the best place you’ve visited?

Oh man. Seriously, how can I answer this question? We’ve been to so many amazing places and I’m not sure I can pick one. But what jumps into my mind right away is  London. Although, Venice was pretty great.

Where are you going next? 

Milan, Italy! I can’t wait. If you’ve ever been, I’d love some recommendations.

Are you going to have a baby over there? 

Not sure. There are definite pros and cons to having a baby here but we just aren’t sure if now’s the right time. There’s also too much wine to drink.

When are you coming back? 

Again, not sure. Vinn’s contract is for three years, starting February 2016 until January 2019, but he has an option to extend the contract. We’ll see. It all depends on job opportunities back in the States and where we are on the family front like mentioned above.

Have a question about life abroad? Ask away in the comments! Or have you ever lived somewhere totally different from where you grew up? What was that like?

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