Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Three Months

We've been living in Germany for three months. Sometimes it seems like we just arrived yesterday, and other days it feels like we've been here much longer. I'd like to be able to say that I'm able to understand lots of Dutch and German by now, but it just isn't true. My interactions are still limited to saying hello and goodbye, smiling and nodding, and uttering the occasional, "Excuse me."

When we found out we were moving here, neither of us knew just how close we would be to the Netherlands. We actually spend most of our time there rather than Germany. During our first week, one of my husband's co-workers mentioned that he liked Holland very much. I responded by widening my eyes in awe and exclaiming, "Wow! Holland is close by?" I'm embarrassed to admit it, but for some reason I thought that Holland and the Netherlands were two different places.

I know I'm fortunate to be able to experience other countries so fully, but I still miss home sometimes. I miss being able to approach a random person and begin a conversation with them. I miss small talk with cashiers. I miss bookstores filled with the smells of coffee and paper, and of course books written in English. I miss American television and yes, even American commercials. I miss college football and tailgating. I miss Publix. I miss sharing a time zone with my family and friends. I miss karaoke. I miss ice cubes (rarely used here for some reason). I miss Atlanta, Savannah, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, St. Augustine, and the field behind my parent's house.

There are still so many things we don't understand. Our doorbell buzzed this past Saturday and my husband was greeted by several children dressed as wizards. One of the older children spoke a little English and my husband ascertained that they were soliciting donations for their church. He gave them 5 Euro and sent them on their way. What a funny thing to happen! I can't imagine little wizards walking around an American neighborhood on behalf of their church.

I frequently arrive home to find our mail slot stuffed with fliers and brochures delivered by unknown neighborhood messengers. Before moving here, I was never daunted by a simple piece of paper. It's a funny and helpless feeling when you can't understand your community's propaganda.

The brochure on the left has something to do with the wizards. I think the flier on the right may be asking for clothing and shoe donations. 
We are trying our best to integrate and learn how to live out of our comfort zone. Some days are harder and more stressful than others. I know everything will be fine as long as we continue to laugh at our misadventures. Thanks for laughing with me so far!


  1. I can imagine that it is really hard to life in a country and you don't speakt their language. But I think you are doing a great job, because you are curious and intressteted, you want to learn. I think that is the most important thing!
    The kids you saw, weren't wizards, they were the three wise men, who visited Jesus after he was born. It is a tradition from the Catholic Church. They are always collecting money for a charitiy project. As far as I know normally for poor kids somewhere around the world.
    And you are right, the brochure on the right is asking for clothing and shoe donation.
    The brochure on the left is the programm from Karneval in your village. Have you heard about Karneval yet?

  2. Three Wise Men! Of course! That definitely makes much more sense than little wizards.

    And thanks for the encouragement! :-)

  3. hi, i've been reading your block for the last two days. i am a german who is living in the US (in Atlanta), and it's interesting to read about your experiences in germany. if you miss books written in english you may not know that you can get them from the german amazon. maybe not every single book, but at least every book on the New York bestseller list (ücher/b?ie=UTF8&node=52044011). Most larger bookstores also have some of the books in english. at least that was the case in Berlin.

    1. Verena, thanks for reading! I love Atlanta and miss it very much!

      Thank you for the tip about the books. Fortunately, I've been directed to some places in Aachen and Maastricht that are well-stocked with books in English.

      We will hopefully be making our way to Berlin very soon!