When you move abroad, especially at the beginning, there are a lot of things you begin to miss. Family and friends are of course high up on that list, but thankfully there are far more ways to stay in touch than there were 12 years ago when we made our journey overseas. Over the last decade or so, places like Germany have become more integrated with many American things. Or perhaps I just forgot a lot of things that I really used to miss over time. But somehow, certain things never change. And no matter how long you’re gone, you still miss them.
- Your favorite shows — If you have ever tried to watch hulu outside of the US or even access a music video on YouTube, you know that streaming video is not as easy as it might seem. Everything seems to have a Geoblock on it, which can really put a damper on your fun. But thankfully there are companies out there now like VPN Authority that help you bypass all that without a lot of extra hassle or costs. I signed up for it about a year ago and have found it extremely convenient and easy to setup. You can even catch Pandora, Spotify, last.fm, Netflix and Songza on your iPad, iPhone or android device. I never thought I’d be able to watch hulu in Germany.
- Your favorite foods — Every culture is different and the food is therefore also different. So whether you crave Tex-Mex, a great burger or some sort of junk food, it’s not always easy to find what you are looking for overseas. The world has certainly seemed to get smaller because so many things are available internationally now, and chains have spread out all over the place. But sometimes the best way to get what you crave is just to learn to make it yourself. And we learned how to make a LOT of things from scratch over the years!
- Knowing where to shop — When you live somewhere for a long time, you get used to certain stores in your area. Or you know all the great consignment shops for everything from furniture to clothes. One of the things I always found a bit complicated in Germany was learning where to shop for clothing and sometimes even groceries. I never fully absorbed the German style of dress, and experienced a whole world of crazy when we had a child to shop for. But what was often most disturbing were the prices of clothes in Germany. Sometimes higher prices do equal better quality — but other times not. And when you child is going to grow out of it a few months or even a year later, it bit always worth it IMO.
- Hearing your native tongue — This doesn’t always apply to every country, but it certain did for me when we moved to Germany. Don’t get me wrong, there are tons of English speakers in Germany. And I always had my husband. But sometimes I just wanted to hear my own language on the street. Or speak with a doctor, teacher, etc without reaching deeply into my brain for extra vocabulary.
- Knowing the rules — When you move to a new country, you have a whole new set of rules to learn. Driving, working, living and everything else, have entirely different rules. And often when you think it won’t be all that different it totally is. Like yielding to people on the right that get to an intersection when you do. In America, we just throw up stop signs to make it easy. But in Germany, whoever is coming from the right has the right of way (unless it’s otherwise posted) and it causes many jitters and abrupt stops until you carve that driving rule into your head and daily habits.
These are just a few things that I missed while living in Germany. Are you an expat or have you ever been an expat? What sorts of things do you or did you miss??0