So here we are in Germany. Land of bier, BMWs, bratwursts and Boris Becker.
It was a long time coming. We knew London was just a temporary home for our little family. Many tears were shed, and many a heated discussion had before coming to a decision. We had a point system for Australia vs Germany vs U.K. and ultimately Deutschland scored the highest. And here we are, starting again. New flat, new friends, new food and nearer to the in-laws! Which is a great thing, by the way. Amazing M has a wonderful relationship with them and it really is nice to be able to send her to them for a few days whenever we want. Apologies for the alliteration peppered throughout the post so far. I’m just so excited about getting excited about blogging again that I can’t help using my favourite language technique (?).
There are many expat blogs out there that will tell you about some of the strange cultural habits/practices/manners of Germans, so I’ll quickly summarise the good and not so delicious things I’ve experienced so far:
–CYCLE FRIENDLINESS I’m in bike paradise. It is safe to ride your bike here (unlike in London), and there are specified cycle roads that lie parallel to the roads. I can cycle everywhere. To the gym, to the city for drinks (maybe not such a good idea if you plan on having a few drinks), to our local Aldi (which I love almost as much as my old local Waitrose in London- that’s another blog post topic!), and anywhere else I fancy.
– Uber RUDENESS I got massively told off by a seventy something year old cashier in the food hall of a department store. Just for having a buggy! Apparently there was no space for it to go past the aisle, but the annoying thing was that she did not even offer a solution. I was dumbstruck by her rudeness so I lamely walked away to find a cash desk that my ‘mammoth’ buggy could fit past. But I must say this it is the only experience of the stereotyped rudeness of customer service in Germany. Perhaps I’m lucky or perhaps there will be more instances to follow.
– MAKING NEW FRIENDS I’ve been meeting new ladies through an expat forum. Daunting, at first. Like going on first dates again. But it’s been great. I don’t think I’ve been this socially busy since my singleton days. All I can say is that the internet has been my saviour again. Like I’ve said in one of my previous posts, you just have to put yourself out there to meet new people and form friendships. Having great group of friends makes settling in a new country so much easier.
– FURNITURE SHOPPING Forget fashion! I’ve been drooling over many items of furniture whilst shopping for a dining suite (is it just me, or does ‘dining suite’ sound so 70’s? A brown table with rounded corners, matched with chairs upholstered in old school granny bag material come to mind). Let me tell you the immense rise in endorphins I experience when entering a Boconcept store is just something else. I love Skandi anything. Well, we finally agreed on a dining table and chairs for our living/dining room. Hooray!
– MISSING MY USUAL EATERIES I’ve had to get used to not having exciting, non-German food at hand. I just can’t walk up the road for fantastic sushi or fresh Mexican whenever I want. I miss my Iocal Italian for their amazing pizzas, and miss my dim sum. And my £20 lobsters. Next time I’m in London, I swear to Life that I’ll be feasting so much I’ll be rolling back onto the aeroplane.
– LEARNING THE LANGUAGE IN CREATIVE WAYS My official lessons haven’t started but I’ve been taking some initiative by way of using trashy television shows as an excuse to watch them. Immersion is key, so I’ve been watching trashy German shows like The Bachelorette and Shopping Queen. Looking forward to the upcoming show, Adam Seeks Eve. It’s a dating show where the contestants are naked. For reals.
– MISSING FRIENDS The first couple of weeks in our flat were fun. A new flat and new city is very exciting when you can share discoveries with a husband and child you love very much. However, when the dust settled, I was in tears, missing my dear group of friends back in Blighty. I was thinking, ‘Who else is going to love me, with all my quirks and faults?’ Okay, maybe a little bit overdramatic, but when I got over that I decided that I had to put myself out there. Again. Mr B nudged me a bit, thank goodness. And it all worked out in the end, thanks to the internet and thanks to a great group of expat women, generous enough to welcome me into their homes. To all you beautiful friends back home in OZ, missing you is a daily occurrence, a given, and something I don’t think I’ll ever get used to.
– GETTING USED TO NO RETAIL ON SUNDAYS Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for having a day of rest, more family time and going back to the good old days of simple living. Really. But I just like having the option to be able to go shopping should I wish. Window shopping at a department store on a cold and wet day sounds like a good idea. I’m not one of these mums who embrace the rain and go out stomping in puddles with their rain jacketed children. No, siree. That’s what Kindergarten is for.
There you have it. A brief account of life so far in Germany. So far so good.