Expat/Immigrant Experience · opinion

Top 10 Things I Miss About the USA

This post was originally supposed to be a counterpoint to last week’s Top 10 Things Germany Does Better than the USA. Was. After my husband asked me, “what will you put on there?” I realized I only had a list of four; a real problem when you need six more items to make a top 10 list.

See, there are a lot of things I miss about America, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they do X better than Germany. I need to spend a lot more time here and speak the language fluently before I can make those kinds of calls. So, look out for that list in the distant-ish future. Until then, here are the top 10 things I miss about the USA.

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Expat/Immigrant Experience · opinion

Everyone Loves a Top 10 List

How have I been here for nearly two months, and I’ve yet to post a “Top 10” list? It’s a milestone post for any expat blogger, intended to generate clicks in a world of ever-decreasing attention spans inform and delight readers!

Well, those list-free days are over, friends! I present to you:

The Top 10 Things Germany Does Better Than the USA

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Expat/Immigrant Experience · personal

Ami’s First Football Game

Last Saturday, a friend lent us his season passes for the local football (soccer) stadium, to watch Wolfsburg play against Hanover.

For a small-town match, this was an event. Hours before the game had even started, there were already more police than usual in the city. The majority of the Hanover fans that had made the trip for the game had also been separated on public transport from everyone else. Once off the train, they had a police escort, complete with about 8 mounted officers. One of the horses looked ready to take off running, but the rest of them were remarkably well-behaved for how boisterous the crowd was.

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Expat/Immigrant Experience · personal

Tag der Niedersachsen, 2017

This past weekend, we attended the Tag der Niedersachsen. This festival was for the entire Niedersachsen area, which means that people came to Wolfsburg from all over the area to attend. I’d compare it in size to a county fair in the USA. More than half of the booths were businesses, clubs, and other organizations trying to garner interest in what they’re selling or doing. The German army was also in attendance:

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Expat/Immigrant Experience · personal

Nobody’s Perfect: American VS German Restaurant Service

My husband and I are the couple that always talk about cooking more at home, succeed at it for a week or two, and then slowly start eating out more and more until the cycle begins anew. We cook at home a little more often since moving to Germany, but we still go out for dinner at least twice per week. During our last few months in the USA, whenever we would receive terrible service in a restaurant, my husband and I would “joke” that we needed to get used to it anyway, because German restaurant service is, well…not great.

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Expat/Immigrant Experience · personal

Otters, and Badgers and Ferrets: Oh My!

Last weekend, we went to the Hankensbüttel Otterzentrum with my husband’s friends. It is a nature center and conservation effort dedicated to educating the public about the wild animals they house and the impact our day-to-day lives have on their ecosystems.

The otters are (of course) the main attraction, but there are several other animals on display, including ferrets, stoats, weasels, martens, an American mink, and even an otter hound. You can follow around one of the park employees as he goes to each enclosure, feeding the animals and explaining their behavior and history in Germany.

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Expat/Immigrant Experience · opinion

Things I Never Thought I’d Miss: Apartment Numbers

Did you know that most apartment buildings in Germany doesn’t use apartment numbers? If you would have answered “yes” before reading the post heading, you’re either German, a current (or former) resident, a trivia enthusiast, or a liar.

To everyone who answered “no,” I would have been right there with you, if I was still living in the USA. But, it’s true. It’s a system so simple and logical, that you might think it was invented by Germany; yet, they’re actually the only German-speaking country that doesn’t use apartment numbers in most apartment buildings.

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Expat/Immigrant Experience · opinion · personal

The Autostadt VS AutoWorld

I’ve never been a car enthusiast. Unless it’s a sports car or several decades old, I have no idea what my husband finds so appealing when he points out a “cool” car.  So it may come as a surprise to some people when they find out that my favorite place to go as a very young child was AutoWorld, the short-lived “amusement park” in Flint, Michigan, USA.

If I’m being honest, none of my memories of AutoWorld include a single, solitary car. I don’t even remember the giant engine they had on display. My strongest memory is of a creepy animatronic man with what I thought were fireflies in his head. I only found out later, as an adult, that this memory wasn’t just some early childhood fever dream; one of AutoWorld’s “attractions” included a life-size replica of Flint in the 1900’s, which began at the cabin of Jacob Smith, the city’s founder. Good old Jacob wasn’t so much animatronic as he was a mannequin, and the “fireflies” were actually a video about Flint being projected on his blank face. So, still creepy; just in a different way.

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Expat/Immigrant Experience · personal

Unexpected Differences: It’s Rainy and there are Slugs Everywhere

After nearly dying from the heatwave in NYC, the cooler temperatures here were a welcome change.

…for the first day or so. Now, I’m getting a little tired of all the rain. Of all the ideas about Germany that I had in my head, a lot of rain wasn’t one of them.

Mercifully, the weather has taken a nicer turn over the past two days, but it’s cold by the time the sun sets. I didn’t expect that, so all of my hoodies, sweaters and jackets are in our container, which we still haven’t received. I finally gave in last week and bought a new light jacket, which has really come in handy.

In terms of getting settled in, our kitchen is mostly done now and we can finally cook at home! Hooray! We’ve also made a fair amount of progress in getting my temporary residency established. I probably won’t have my card until November, which means I can’t apply for work. If we’re being honest, even if I could legally work right now, I don’t think most employers here are eager to hire someone with the German linguistic skills of a 4-year-old.

“Warum sollten wir unbedingt Sie nehmen?”

“Ich mag Äpfel. Wo sind die Toiletten? Tschüsssssssss!”

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