What I Missed About The US When I Lived in Germany

Even though I left the States and have no intention of living and working there again, there are still some things that I miss about my Heimat 🙂

The Food.

Can we please get a moment of silence for all the people not eating biscuits and gravy right now.

Okay, now that we have that out of the way. Let’s talk about the first thing that made me yearn for my homeland.

I know, I know, there are probably chemicals in everything and everything is fake and processed. Don’t care. Still eating.

When I was hanging out with my fellow Americans in Germany, the topic of what we miss from home always pops up. It’s always the same: Food.

Germany really isn’t known for…flavour or spice. Germany does savoury, meaty, and brown dishes very well, but when you’re in the mood for a spicy fish taco or chipotle fried chicken..nope, just nope.

I miss all the different kinds of food I could get in Nashville: BBQ, Hot Fried chicken, and Meat and three’s. I miss the goopy orange Velveeta cheese packets that are disgusting to look at, but taste divine and finding a taste salsa with ease.

I miss Mexican food the most. I have been all over Europe looking for a decent Mexican restaurant and none of them compare to even the worst places in Tennessee.

Can a girl just get some chips and guac please!

If there is a good Mexican restaurant where you live, please tell me! There are about 4000 Americans in Munich that would fly there tomorrow.

Choice

On the same thread as food, I miss having a choice of which kind of food I wanted to buy.

In Germany, when you go to a grocery store, you have about 5 options of anything you could want (except bread, that’s overwhelming). You want ketchup? Great, which of the 3 brands do you want? Salsa, same deal.

Walking into an American grocery store can be overwhelming, because we have 200 options of everything. Bottled water? 200 kinds, take your pick.

But, I love it! I’m one of those people that could spend hours at the grocery store. I love going up and down the isles, reading every nutrient label and all the ingredients.

I mean, Germany did save me a lot of time in that regard, but still, I want options!

In the end, I saw the German way as very efficient and the groceries were so cheap, I had to just ignore the fact that I couldn’t roam the stores for hours and instead spent that time browsing their infinite bread collection.

Conversation

This is a pretty broad things that I miss, so I’ll break it down.

1.Talking to strangers

It’s pretty well-known that Americans LOVE talking. We talk to servers, the cashier and bagger at the grocery store, a stranger buying the same instant coffee as us and every person that has ever had a dog near us. This is just who we are as people. There really isn’t a barrier that says “Achtung! Don’t talk to me!”

Walking around Munich, I sometimes miss the chatter. When I see someone on the train and I really like their shoes, I miss being able to just be like, “Yo, dope shoes” and not be stared at like a lunatic.

Living in Germany has definitely enhanced my introversion (not in a good way). I have been in Australia for almost 3 months and I still stare, shocked at people when they speak to me at the grocery store.

This one woman commented to me that the strawberries are big and I still cant get over the fact that this person went out of their way to comment on the size of a fruit for no reason. I really have to let that experience go and move on, but here we are.

2.Eves dropping

I love eaves-dropping. It is one of my favourite hobbies. It’s like people watching with your ears. If someone is having an argument or a seemingly private convo near me, I AM ALL EARS. I know that that is not appropriate all the time and can be insensitive to others. I get it, but it’s something that I am working on and not fully recovered from.

Germany was the ultimate immersion therapy. As in, immersion to silence. But it wasn’t just silence, silence would have been preferred. It was inaudible whispers.

This messed me up.

Firstly, how can people talk so quietly all the time and the other person even know what they are saying? Do Germans learn how to read lips as children?

I was an au pair and worked in a Kindergarten, so from my experience, no. Do they have super sonic hearing? Maybe.

Secondly, they don’t even lean in to talk. They just sit with their backs upright in the train, casually conversing. Meanwhile I am right next to them.  OUR ARMS ARE TOUCHING! and i cant understand a damn word they are saying.

This is even when they are speaking in english. I understand German, so that has never been a problem, but I can literally not hear a single word. It’s like listening to the wind.

So, when an american comes on the train it’s like a thunder clap. It shocks people, babies cry, men cry and I finally feel like I can hear again.

My miracle.

3. Passion

I always thought of Americans as dramatic and over-the-top. For the most part, I think thats pretty accurate. We speak loudly and move our hands, arms and sometimes legs when we talk. We don’t have much discretion with what we talk about in public and everything is IMPORTANT and CRAZY and AMAZING!

We like these words.

In Germany, I never really saw Germans get to that level of “extra”. It’s not a bad thing that they didn’t, it just made me so self conscious, because I always thought I looked crazy when I got excited about a new pizza place in town and the German people would just look at me confused.

When I was around Americans, it was such a  relief because I could just be extra and feel like I ‘was allowed’ to get excited.

As I began to know more German people, I could tell how excited they were by some small expressions or words they used, but it was like I was learning, yet again, another language.

I missed seeing groups of people loudly laughing on the street and being rambunctious in public. Sometimes, I just felt stifled by the German perfection.

 

Have you ever traveled abroad and were surprised by the things you missed? Let me know! Did you grow to love the new place and give up your old habits?

Thank you for reading!

 

Tschüss!

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