WHAT DO YOU MISS MOST ABOUT GERMANY?
I am sure many of you who immigrated to California are familiar with what I am talking about in today’s post: What do you miss most about Germany? I get asked this question so many times by friends, colleagues, acquaintances, as well as complete strangers.
It usually takes me a second before I answer this question. It is a different story though when I get asked the opposite: What are you not missing? My instant reply: the weather. Oh, how I hated the weather back in Germany. During winter, I usually delved into my so-called “winter depression.”
Imagine having to get up at 5:30 a.m. for work during the coldest months of the year, when it is pitch black outside, snow is falling, and the thermometer hits about -10 degrees Celsius- yeah, not fun! You go to work in the dark, and you leave work in the dark because the sun sets about 4:30 p.m. during the months of winter.
Anyways, I am drifting way too far away from what I actually intended to share with you. So with no further ado, here comes a list of the things I truly do miss.
- The transportation system:
- Oh, how easy it was going from A to B and not having to rely on a car, at least during my time living in Dusseldorf (it was a different story when I lived in the countryside). I was traveling to work by bus and subway and didn’t have to deal with crazy traffic. While others were behind the wheel, I was able to read books or listen to music.
- The bread:
- Yes, unlike many people in Southern California, I actually do love carbs (not trying to stereotype, but carbs, unfortunately, do have a pretty bad rep). With that said, I have been having a pretty hard time finding a good bread that comes close to the yummy crusty ones I loved to indulge in back in Germany. If anyone of you knows where to find authentic German bread, please feel free to let me know. I will be forever grateful!
- The health system:
- Health insurance was so much cheaper and more affordable when I was an employee back in Germany. Here, some people have to think twice about going to the doctor because they might not be able to afford it, which is such a shame! Health insurance should be considered a civil right and not a luxury in my opinion.
- Vacation time:
- When I was working as a kindergarten teacher, I had 33 days of vacation. Just thinking of that makes me cringe as the standards here are so different. I was able to go on a vacation for four weeks as the school I worked at was closed during summer for two weeks and I could just add on two more weeks of my vacation days (all of those four weeks were also paid vacation).
- Cheap rent:
- Granted, it was my decision to live in one of the most expensive areas in the U.S. Back in Germany, I was able to easily afford a place on my own with what I am making here income wise. Over here, I depend on roommates to be able to afford housing.
- Friends and Family:
- Of course, I can’t write this post without giving a shout out to my friends and family living back in Europe. I am so fortunate to be able to maintain amazing friendships all over the world, and thanks to technology it has been a lot easier to keep in touch. But often, I miss having a good coffee or cocktail date with the people that I grew up with.
Some of these are pretty basic answers, and if I would think longer about it, I could probably come up with a longer, more unique list. In the end, all places have their pro and cons and it all depends on what we personally make of it. Despite the high cost of living in California, I sure do love my life here.
Anne-Kathrin Schulte is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes about her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany, she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.
If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.