German Way Expat Bloggers in Berlin

Join us for a blogger meet-up in Berlin in August! Learn more below.

Working online can be interesting, but it can also lead to a writer feeling somewhat isolated. Some of our current six German Way Expat Bloggers have met each other in person, but not everyone has met everyone in our group face-to-face. I have met most of them in person myself, always somewhere in Germany.

GW expat bloggers

The three original GW Expat Blog team members (plus kids) in 2009. PHOTO: The German Way

Besides myself (in the USA), our team includes Jane (Germany), Ruth (Canada), Chloë (Germany), Sarah (Germany) and Erin (Germany). Several other expat bloggers have left us (including the only other male), but are still in touch. We had a blogger Treff (get-together) in Heidelberg back in the summer of 2009. My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting Jane and Sarah, and their spouses at Sarah’s home near Heidelberg. It’s hard to believe that five years have zoomed by since then (in which time Sarah and her family moved to Ireland and then back to Germany).

All of these great people, past and present, have many years of collective experience as American or Canadian expats living in Germany. It is the main reason our blog has become such a great resource for expats and would-be expats in the German-speaking world. Read more »

A Golden Cup

German flag

Tomorrow one of the most coveted trophies in sport will come to Berlin. Today Germany woke up collectively hungover but with a jubilant smile on its face. Yesterday, just before midnight, the nation erupted into euphoria when the German football team won the World Cup. Around the world, online and print media is chock full with articles on that extraordinary night: why the Germans won, how they won, what the players’ wives and girlfriends wore, what Rihanna did to celebrate the goal, what type of beer Joachim Löw (the German coach) and Angela Merkel drank when they celebrated together in the hotel. Sitting here in Berlin there can be no other topic to write about today, but as neither football expert nor celebrity gossip connoisseur, I ask myself what relevant and original ideas can I add. The English expat’s view perhaps …

First this – how Germany became England’s favourite. For English fans, Germany would not be the obvious team to support once our own boys failed so miserably to progress beyond the group stages (yet again). Most Germans would not perceive a direct rivalry between the two teams, but most English do. Read more »

Lost Pets in Germany

Lost Pets in Germany

PHOTO: Erin Porter

It may not seem like I am ready for a child after my posts about moving on the U-Bahn and now losing my cat, but they don’t hand out licenses for these things so I am sharing my trauma in the hopes it will relieve your drama if you ever find yourself in a similar situation. Here’s the story of how we lost our cat in Berlin – and got her back.

At first, we were puzzled. We couldn’t find our cat anywhere, but as we live in a 6th floor Dachgeschoss (attic apartment) there was no obvious exit route. Examining our abode closely we found that there was only one escape – the window. Poking our head out we saw that she could have nosed her way out and done a rooftop stroll before entering any one of the many apartments that share our roof line. I was terrified, but hopeful – how far could she go?

We formed a plan and tried to go about our day with half our minds on a little grey tabby, Bellatrix,  that could be anywhere. Read more »

5 Reasons to Become an Expat

You may have enjoyed Hyde’s recent post on Ten Reasons Why You Should NOT Become an Expat here on the German Way Expat Blog. In the past few months I have found myself talking to many less-experienced expats, consoling them in their homesickness or loneliness, or convincing them that they can enjoy this adventure. Most of my adult life has been spent abroad and I have met many other expats and listened to their stories. What follows are my 5 reasons for loving the expat experience, whether it be a brief semester abroad or decades exploring the globe.

5. Break the Routine. So much of adult life gets settled into a routine: the daily grind of work and responsibilities. Perhaps you are living in a big city and stuck in the rat race, spending hours of your day commuting in traffic. Or perhaps you live in the suburbs and are subjected to the adult version of Mean Girls when you bring your kids to the playground. Read more »

A Pseudo-European Teenager Goes to Texas

Our eldest has been in Texas for the past year attending high school, after spending most of her life in Europe — some in Ireland, but mostly in Germany. She is sixteen, and with that comes the sixteen-year-old way of looking at the world.  She’s been back for a week, and after announcing that she no longer speaks German, she seems to be settling in okay. And yes, she does still speak German. You can’t lose it that easily!

When she moved to Texas, there were a couple of things that she was worried about. She only knew American high school from movies: cliques, sports, cheerleaders, nerds, etc. German school is just not like that. The stratifications are not so clear, and the groups are not so defined. I told her that it might really be like the movies. And when she started school she said, “It’s like Save the Last Dance!” My daughter is in a high school near Dallas that is very diverse. I think the non-white portion of the school is something like 90%. Heidelberg is also diverse, but not in the same way. She was scared to death of the bus — she told me they called her “Snowflake” — but I think in the end she fits in in a way that she didn’t expect. Growing up in Europe, she didn’t have any experience with American race issues, again except for movies. She didn’t grow up with the stereotypes about black people, or white people, or Mexicans, or whomever. We are pretty liberal in our house politically. I think landing in this school in Texas was a huge shock, but it was also an amazing chance for her. She has friends across all groups of kids, black, white, Christian,  Hispanic, straight, and gay. And she is surviving and thriving. Read more »

“Swiss Life: 30 Things I Wish I’d Known” reviewed

What happens when an all American woman with a French-Italian name moves to Switzerland? American writer Chantal Panozzo tells all about it in her recently published book, Swiss Life: 30 Things I Wish I’d Known. With her trademark humor, she shares  her evolution as an American transplant through all phases of withering and thriving as an expat in the extra clean cantons of Switzerland in 30 tightly written essays.

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