When you move abroad you go through phases. First you’re in wonder. Everything is different and new and exciting and an adventure! Then the frustration. It’s different and it’s hard and I JUST DON’T LIKE IT. Then, you come to terms with it, make the best of it, and then you’re fully integrated and you’ve passed the culture shock test, right?
I’m of the opinion that no matter how long you live in a place, there will always be things that drive you crazy about it (this can also be said of “back home” too, lest you think I’m picking unfairly on good ole Deutschland). I also think that as an expat blogger, I should be honest about what life is really like–ups, downs, and in betweens. I love Germany, but sometimes it irks me. And that’s ok!
This is a preview of Real Expat Life: Things I Won’t Miss About Germany.
Our firm hosted a ‘sales and marketing day’ last week for the all employees in the Munich office to ‘promote talent and opportunities across service lines’ – i.e. a means to justify a large celebration.
Lured by a night out for a pre-Oktoberfest party (and informative workshops of course) I accepted the invitation. In preparation for the event, the invitation described:
Dresscode Dre Dresscode sowohl für die Tages – als auch die Abendveranstaltung ist Tracht, bayerischer Landhausstil oder Casual.
(The dresscode for both the day-time and evening event is Tracht (Dirndl / Lederhosen), Bavarian country estate style or casual).
This is a preview of Living in Germany: Dressing Up.
Culture shock is often discussed when people consider moving abroad. Differences between home and destination country cultures can be confusing and difficult to navigate and the radical change in lifestyle can be harder than you might have imagined. Yet one of the best ways of preparing for ‘culture shock’ is by working on your cultural awareness – something which is less debated but in reality much more important for the success of your expat life long term.
Cultural awareness can be prepared for in advance but it is, above all else, something which is actively practised. Reading about your destination country before you go, especially advice from other expats, can give you a really good understanding of where you’re moving to, but once you’re there, remember to observe, ask questions politely and avoid making assumptions about the way people should or will behave.
This is a preview of The Everyday Expat: Understanding Cultural Awareness.
Our last day in Berlin, we took my husband’s mom to the Eastside Gallery. She’s an artist, so we figured she’d love the murals painted on old sections of the Berlin Wall. It’s another way Berliners have turned ugly history into something positive.
Photo courtesy Beginnings in Bayern
During the Cold War, people in West Berlin drew graffiti on their side of the wall, and when the wall came down, artists joined together to create an international memorial for freedom by painting murals on remaining parts of the wall. The Eastside Gallery is one of the world’s largest open air galleries, but it’s had its share of problems. Just this year a developer for luxury apartments destroyed part of the wall to begin construction despite protests, and every year the wall is further damaged by weather and vandalism.
This is a preview of Take a Look: Berlin’s Eastside Gallery.
Before moving to Germany, my knowledge of German food consisted of popular items found on the menu of Sydney’s Löwenbräukeller (pronounced Low-en-brow in Australia, and Looe-ven-broi in German) – schnitzel, sausages, pork knuckle and sauerkraut. As a self-professed ‘foodie’ (as they say) I would often watch Maeve O’Mara’s Food Safari and Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and was interested enough to listen to my mum’s tips to know that in general Germans love a good apple cake, a potato could accompany most meals and German bread was an art form.
This is a preview of German Food: Hearty Cravings.
Longer days, the bright neon green of new foliage, unpredictable weather, a layer of pollen resting everywhere. Spring is definitely here.
Photo courtesy flythesevenseas
A city adapts itself over the seasons–the ‘wake up’ after winter being the most profound. Spring is therefore generally fresh, bright, and cheery, and Munich does not fall short of putting on a good show.
On this note, here’s my brief list of how to embrace Munich in the spring:
Even though Oktoberfest has worldwide recognition, every town in Germany pretty much has their own own beer or wine festival. In Erlangen, the Bergkirchweih (Berg for short or Berch in Franconian), is an outdoor event that lasts for about two weeks.
If the weather is nice, it’s great to spend the evening outside, drinking beer and dancing on tables. That’s right. Conservative, standing and waiting for the green light to cross at 2 a.m., law-abiding, yelling at you for not following the rules Germans. All up on the benches, dancing to Schlager music and American oldies that my parents jam to… surfing USA… inside outside USA… (breaks into old school dance while singing song out loud).
This is a preview of Auf dem Berch! (A German Beer Festival).