Like Jane and her husband, we are also on our way out of Germany. Unlike them though, we are becoming expats once again, this time in Ireland. There are so many things I love about living in Germany. This move happened quickly, and it was a choice for us, but it is scary and I can only imagine what I will miss about Germany, even while I look with excitement toward the new experiences that await me and my family in our new country (mit einem lachenden und einem weinenden Augen).
There are things I know I will miss and there are things that I know I won’t miss. For all my moaning about Germany, I know I have it good over here. This becomes especially apparent when friends from the US come to visit. I’ll start with the things I will miss:
1. The bread – I know that there is good Irish soda bread to be had, but I know I will miss the good, crusty, Brötchen and the Vollkornbrot full of nice seeds.
2. The public transport system – Again I know there are buses and trains in Ireland, but I am sure that they are no way as dependable as the ones here.
3. The öko-ness of it all – Germans are recycling maniacs. I may never get over my need to separate the garbage.
4. The progressiveness on some fronts – Germans are not generally caught up in the politics of things that make Americans hate each other, e.g. abortion, gay marriage, etc.
5. The cheap and good childcare – I’ll be paying three times as much when I move. I love our Krippe here and will hate to say goodbye.
6. The cheap organic everything – as Jane wrote last week, I have to prepare myself for paying three times as much for organic anything.
7. Schnitzel, Pommes und Salat – ’nuff said.
8. Relatively cheap restaurants with good food.
9. Apfelschorle – I know I can recreate this, but I won’t be able to order it for my kids in restaurants.
10. Fast driving and easy-to-follow rules. People would never think of passing on the right. Yes, they drive fast, but if you know the rules, you are fine.
And these things I won’t miss:
1. The general grumpiness of strangers. People hardly ever smile at you if they don’t know you. And if you smile at them, they look at you like you are insane.
2. Toast bread: if I am going to eat that fake bread, I at least want it soft.
3. People lecturing you when you park the wrong way or look the wrong way or heaven forbid, don’t put long pants on your children when it is 20°C out.
4. Sie and Du – it will probably take me a while to get used to not calling people by their last names, but I will be happy to do it.
5. The school system – I know the Germans are proud of it, but I will never be an advocate of dividing children up according to aptitude at the age of ten.
6. Not being able to find clothes for me, a short, curvy woman. I am not tall, I have a womanly figure. Forget trying to find flattering clothes.
7. Parking – I have never been and never will be a talented parallel parker, or any kind of parker. The spots are small and my car is big. This is probably the same in Ireland, but I hate it!
8. Religion in the schools – This is where I am still very American. Unfortunately, this won’t change in Ireland for us.
9. Kids having to do math in fountain pen (see 5, above).
10. Being all squashed together, whether in trams, buildings, neighborhoods, etc. With four kids, we are always crowded here. No big yards, no big cars. I still think this is part of why people are so grumpy.
My next blog will most likely be from Ireland. Then my husband can be the German expat abroad. I’ll keep you posted.