Living for the holidays is something common to I and most of my friends back in the UK. Working very hard is commonplace, and after family, taking care of yourself, renovating your home, seeing your friends you don’t end up with a whole heap of free time to ‘be’.
When we arrived in Germany (and lived in hotels for three months) quiet time (1pm-3pm), shops closing at 8pm and very little being open on Sundays wasn’t a big deal, in fact it was refreshing and really relaxing, which was great considering the stress of the moves so far. However when we moved into our apartment (which came with its very own set of rules) I began to understand other expats hostile reactions to what they saw as the restrictive elements of German life.
This is a preview of Expat Life: How Germany Has Changed Me.
I don’t like to use the word homesick when I miss my family and friends, home homesick is more like it.
Home is here, where I live, love, eat and sleep, my husband, my friends and potentially my future. I’m not sick for home as I’m already there, I have more than enough to be happy here but sometimes there is a nagging ache that I can’t quite put my finger on. A physical pain in my heart and a heaviness that I carry through my day, until I can either shake it off, or wallow in its glorious miserableness. I’m sick for home home.
This is a preview of Expat Life: Dealing With Homesickness.
The end-of-term workload has begun to pile up quickly. While I’ve been managing to chip slowly away at my three final papers, a game theory exam is still looming on the horizon. To top it off, I’ve got a German C-1 level proficiency exam next week, which will determine if I have the language skills to directly enroll in a master’s program here in Berlin. I’m familiar with the stress from the winter semester, but it’s nevertheless going to be a long couple of weeks before everything is officially over. Luckily however, the World Cup (German: Weltmeisterschaft, or simply WM) is in full swing and helps to take my mind off of all the work. It’s become all the more exciting now that Deutschland has moved on to the final round of the tournament after this week’s remarkable 7:1 victory over Brazil.
This is a preview of One Year in Germany: WM Fever.
Cheap and delicious beer – Before I lived in Germany I was a confirmed wine drinker, tepid English beer just did not do it for me. Beer in Erlangen however has been a revelation, with the exception of drinking Tucher at the Berg the first year (big mistake) and suffering the worst hangover in history. The beer here is much purer due to German purity laws, consequently no chemical induced hangover but obviously a normal alcohol induced one if you get carried away.
This is a preview of Five Things I Love About Living in Erlangen.
It’s commonly said that there is a difference between Berlin and Germany. Sure, German is spoken here, German food is eaten here, and the German government convenes here, but the experience one receives in Berlin is generally thought to be incomparable with most other German cities. I experienced that firsthand back in Autumn when the BCGS group traveled to München. Everything seemed more conservative and slowed-down. That proved to be a great trip, but at the same time, the amount of museum visits and excursions on our itinerary gave it a bit of a hectic and touristy feel. This past weekend however, I had the opportunity to head north to the small town of Fliegenfelde, located just outside of Lübeck, where I was able to enjoy a radical change of pace from the sometimes stressful Berlin atmosphere.
This is a preview of One Year in Berlin: A Trip to Lübeck.
A week had passed since I arrived in Germany, back in June. I was pretty tired of eating out, and I wanted to cook something at home or at least have food in my fridge. So, as anybody would do, I went to the supermarket.
I know! There’s nothing fantastic or worth writing about going to the supermarket… Except when you have absolutely no idea how things are called in German and you end up spending two hours wandering around the halls and starving.
That’s exactly how my first experience in a German supermarket was: Not normal. At all.
This is a preview of The German Supermarket Experience…When You’ve Just Arrived in Germany.
Can you? Over on Book Punks, I talk about why living in Germany has turned me away from fiction about the war
“When the hype for Elizabeth Wein’s Code Name Verity was going around, I found myself forced to confront a new wall in my reading tastes, an allergy of sorts. I can’t read fiction about World War II. I don’t want to read fiction about World War II. Get that shit away from me—what are you kidding?—gross.
“It is a result of living in Germany. I have been here for almost ten years now, and I can’t recall a single day in recent memory when World War II didn’t come up. Let’s look at one week in the life.” Read more here.
This is a preview of The Week in Germany: WWII Fiction, Winter in Bavaria, Empty Houses, & Difficult German Words.