Are you thinking of making Germany home? I hope you love the experience. It’s certainly been one of the most incredible things for me. Here you’ll find a compilation of many of the posts on Making This Home that address various tips you might find handy.
The goal in putting together this roundup is to give you a sense of comfort. I know you’re scared. I know you’re also excited, right?! I hope my experiences and knowledge help make the transition all the better for you. Trust me. It is soooo very worth living abroad. I’d do it all over again. So much of who I have become is because of my journey as an expat.
Documenting Your New Life
I keep a home journal about Berlin and our apartment. I want to remember how we live here. Everything is different – from the sights to the tastes and smells.
A Day in Berlin
The best example for living in the city is over at the Berlin Tour page. It’s the best overview of a day in Germany that I can offer – from brief history to transportation and what really starts becoming important at the end of the day: where to find dinner.
My husband (Martin) and I hop between the United States and Germany like two blue-eyed frogs. Here. There. Here. There. I get culture shock every time. Little differences pop up each time we move, and they sure make life interesting. If you feel stuck in any move to Germany or back home (especially back home), please know YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Forgetting English? Done that. Staring like a lost puppy? Yep. These posts just happen to be some of the most popular for my readers around the world. Hope they help:
Most homes – regardless of if you’re buying or renting – don’t come with kitchens or lights. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Germans prefer to get nicer things that they can take from home to home, which is kind of crummy for people moving from overseas. So make sure you know what your house will include. We stayed at a hotel our first night since we didn’t have sheets and pillows, let alone a bed.
Over time, you’ll manage to set up a home. IKEA is a wonderful place to start because taxes in Germany can feel like a killer. Be aware that it can take time for furniture to arrive and internet to be installed at your house – we’re talking months in many cases. We ordered our internet service and bed before we left the US.
(our apartment kitchen after a serious remodel)
Tips for creating and understanding your German home:
|Understand the German Recycling System||Understand the Water Meter
Keep Utility Bills Down (power costs 3x more in Germany than what we paid in the US)
|A Typical Sunday in Germany
||How to be a Good House Guest|
What’s life in Europe if you can’t laugh about your experiences? These moments still have us rolling.
|Oops! Obviously this business owner doesn’t know English||Half-pigeon/half-crow birds in the city|
Holidays and Seasons
Germans really know how to embrace the little moments. From farmers markets in the streets to festivals with roasted nuts and local foods, I think you’ll love finding what Germany has to offer. Everything is so seasonal, beyond anything I’d ever experienced before.
|January and February:
March and April:
Confession: I could sort of, kind of count to 10 when we moved to Berlin.
If you don’t already know German, consider waiting until you get to Germany to learn. If you take a quick course before you move, it might help. More than likely, the class will revolve around what people want to know as tourists. You know – what to pack for European vacations and what kind of weather to expect in June. My course in Colorado involved conversations about the ice cream flavors and the bread, but not how to speak a word to the clerks – hence my ability to count to almost 10.
But that’s okay. When you take German classes in Germany, you are studying every time you step out of the house. Older people probably won’t speak English. When you confront younger people, the bigger problem is actually getting the chance to speak German!
There have been many days when I have pretended NOT to speak English just so I could practice German.
Learn German in Germany. It’s is a fabulous place to learn. Here’s a rundown of why learning right here in Germany is so amazing.
Technical & Legal Issues
Because this blog focuses on home, I’m afraid I can’t offer many resources on things like employment, detailed taxes and laws, visas, or other more technical things. If you have questions on these topics, I’d suggest contacting your embassy. Everything you need from German government websites is readily available in English. We have found that a lot of issues may be easier to take care of once you’re in Germany, so don’t stress out about trying to know all the answers before you move.