Kate: The Lotus Creative
- Recommended Expat Blogs: Germany
- Chad: WorldThruOurEyes
- Andrew: Grounded Traveler
- Kae Lani: A Travel Broad
- Olesya and Jasper: Hmsies
- Aaron and Meghan: Submerged Oaks
- Tiffany: No Ordinary Homestead
- Laurel: Monkeys and Mountains
- Peter: Wiesbaden As A Foreign Language
- Eve: MultiCOOLty
- Jasmine: Expat Relocation
- Ilze: Let the Journey Begin
- Meredith: Kaffee und Kuchen
- Oh God, My Wife Is German
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Germany, etc.
My name is Kate and I am a 23 year old web designer, blogger and British expat. I left England in April 2012 with my (now) husband, Dan, and lived in Amsterdam, Zakynthos (a Greek island) and Paris before settling down temporarily in Frankfurt. I arrived here in May 2013 and now we have found a place to “grow” for a few years, we want to stay put to develop our skills for future travel and life opportunities.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I actually started blogging as a weight loss blogger! I lost 40lbs due to a healthy diet and exercise and found I had a lot of people asking for “the secret”, which inspired me to start a blog. Once I had a few readers and they realized Dan and I were traveling around Europe, it quickly became the thing people were more interested in. Before I knew it, I’d switched to a travel & design blog, my two greatest passions, and I’ve never looked back!
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
I really love to help other people so I would say my favorite entries for their usefulness to others would be How to make money blogging in Europe and The cost of living my European adventure because I enjoy giving people a real insight into how they can do something similar with their lives.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Germany differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Wow, let me count the ways! For starters, I am a lot happier in Germany despite being so ignorant to my surroundings. I have mastered a little German but not enough to throw myself into the language with full understanding, so I spend a lot of my day blissfully unaware of anything being wrong. To be honest, I prefer this way of living! It means I can expose myself to things when I choose to, instead of having them forced upon me via newspaper headlines, overhearing conversations, etc. Of course, I care about important issues, but being away from the blatant displays of it has helped me to take in what is important and banish the rest.
I never experienced culture shock in Germany as I had already passed that phase on Greece; however, I experienced reverse culture shock the last time I went back to England for a visit and it is no walk in the park!
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Germany? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
I was definitely not prepared for how my life would change once I moved to Germany. Prior to moving here I had no career prospects and saw myself working with children until “I figured things out”, whenever that would be! I had no idea in the space of a year I would set up my own web design business, get married, become an “honorary German” (as per my friends here who say I am turning into a German!) and decide I actually might want to stay here for a while! I wouldn’t change a thing.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Where shall I start? There was the time I accidently kissed my French language teacher on the mouth in a awkward cheek kiss gone wrong, the (several) times I have felt it appropriate to bring up Hitler and WW2 at the dinner table with German friends, the time I said “thanks, beautiful” to a cashier instead of “thank you very much” in translation blunder and finally, the time I had my wedding photographed by a bunch of Asian tourists in what I can only assume they thought was a show for their entertainment.
I have many more I could share, but some are not suitable for this kind of occasion ;).
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Germany?
- Research as much as possible, then switch off your computer and mentally prepare yourself for the leap of faith you are about to take.
- Be prepared for anything and everything to happen as you embark on this new adventure.
- Befriend the Germans because not only are they an amazing nation of people, but they know a thing or two about working their crazy system!
How is the expat community in Germany? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
In Frankfurt there is a huge expat community and I am lead to believe it’s the same in Berlin and Munich too. In smaller cities, it’s harder but from my experience you can find expat communities in most cities here, just with varying sizes.
I have struggled finding expats who are staying here long term like us as for a long time we only befriended short term expats “like us” (back then). I think it’s important to try to make friends who will stay for similar periods of time as you to avoid the all too frequent goodbyes that come with expat life.
How would you summarize your expat life in Germany in a single, catchy sentence?
The best year (so far) of my life.