4 Challenges to brave in Germany – I’m moving next month!

in Relocation

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Day 29

After two years of long distance relationship as boyfriend-girlfriend, and seven months of long distance relationship as a married couple, I and my hubby are finally going to live together in the same house, wake up next to each other every morning and live like real husband and wife.

Next month, on the 28th of July, I’m officially moving to Germany and will be saying goodbye to Bangkok, the city that has earned my heart completely. My husband is coming to pick me up. He decided to do so not only so he can accompany me on my flight but also to say goodbye to our friends and to say thank you to those who had been my support throughout my stay in Thailand.

Am I excited to move to Germany?

My husband asked me out of the blue, “Hon, are you excited to move to Germany?” the question kind’a caught me off guard. I wasn’t really thinking much about what I feel. All I’ve been doing was concentrating on all the things that I need to do for the remaining period of time such as completing the last requirements at work, shopping, packing and gals’ bonding for the last time.

I searched myself, do I feel excited? It’s a mixed emotion. I’m looking forward to living with my husband, meeting his friends and building a family together. But at the same time, I feel terrified that I would have to go through the 3 stages of cultural adjustment one more time. Not to mention leaving behind some really good friends.

It took me two years to overcome my cultural shock when I moved to Thailand. When I first came, I hated to go to public markets because they smelled too stinky for me. Mixes of scents from grasses that only goats and cows eat in my country are sold in Thai’s markets because they are delicacies. The foods in most restaurants were too spicy for me.

I had not learned Thai language before my move so I found it very hard to communicate to the locals even for tiny but important things such telling the taxi driver where I’d get off, or asking a sales lady how much is the price of an item or if there’s a discount.

There were so much of difficulties that I endured while I was adapting and integrating in this country. As of now, already six years in Bangkok, all I have are good things about the country.

Having to do it all over again? It seems that the next two years of my life is more likely being spent for cultural adjustment in Germany.

What are the possible challenges that I’ll meet in Germany?

I did try to list in my head what will be the scenario once I’ve moved and what possible challenges will I meet in my husband’s country.

Challenge #1. Winter

Just a reminder of the long cold winter we had.....

I’m terrified of winter

photo by Wiberg

I’m not resistant to a low temperature. When I turn on an air condition, the lowest temperature that I am comfortable with is about 19-20 degrees. So I could just imagine how I’d survive several months of winter. I tend to be less productive when it’s rainy season in Asia because I prefer to snuggle in bed and I hate to brave the cold weather. Just thinking of having to get up early in the morning to prepare my husband’s breakfast on a snowy day makes me shiver.

See: Marrying a westerner and moving to another continent? Think before you plunge

Challenge #2. Food

Pasta Pan

Cooking isn’t my forte

photo by Ramona

My husband is by blood a Filipino although he grew up and lived most of his life in Germany. He’s exposed to some Filipino recipes because of his mom who loves to cook Filipino foods. However, during the times that we’re together, I found out that most of the delicacies that I am good at preparing, which in fact my Filipino friends truly appreciate, is foreign to my husband and he couldn’t enjoy.

Cooking is not my passion but I do know how to cook a few of recipes, but since the food that I love to prepare is not my husband’s favorite, I would have to learn to cook foods that he’ll like and perhaps learn to like them too.

Challenge #3. Career

2009 Apple Workstation

My intercultural marriage enables me to work from home

photo by flyzor

It’s been eight years of teaching in a classroom setting and now I am called to evaluate if I would like to teach in Germany. For my eight years of teaching, I’ve spent 2 years teaching Filipino students, 2 yrs teaching Thai kids, and 4 yrs teaching Indian kids. The cultures were different, the student’s attitude towards learning and their respect towards the teachers also varied.

In these three different classroom settings, I’ve learned to adapt. If I were to teach in Germany, it will be the forth classroom setting that I would have to integrate with. Am I ready? Right now, the answer is “No.”

If I wouldn’t teach, what can I do so I could still earn and help my husband put some dough on the table? Blogging. I’m so glad I have an alternative. I learned blogging and online marketing for two years and I am right now put on a situation where I can use 100 percent of my energy into it.

I’m not saying “Never” to teaching in Germany. I just need more time to adapt to the country and perhaps when I’m fully adjusted, I would like to go back to teaching. Until then, I’ll be a full-time blogger.

Challenge #4. Language

Vivid Area (Stilblüte)

Do you think reading German signs is easy?

I put this down the list because given that I’d passed the German language test with good results, I may not find it very difficult. However, since I learned German language purely by memorizing, I’ve forgotten most of it already. I’d need practice and reinforcement once I move. That brings us to the next issue, should hubby and I better start using German at home? We currently use English for communication and we haven’t decided yet what to do next.

Since I’ll be a stay-at home wife with a home-based business, I’ll be the one taking charged with the bills and receipts.  Things are printed all in German so that would mean me putting my Deutsch level 1 learning on practice. Yay!

Were you in a similar situation? How did you cope up with the integration process?

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Mike

Hi Glee!

Point #3 is probably the toughest but with your expertise I’m sure you’ll make it. Instead of focusing on 4 negative points, think about the positive sides 🙂

All the best to you two!

Glee

Hi Mike,

You’re right. The best way is to focus on the good sides. After all, the positives outweigh the negatives. Thank you. 🙂

WhiteBhabi

#1 Winter – Don’t stress. In Germany they have these really awesome clothes that feel just as good as your bed would on a rainy day. So, look at that bright point. If you have to go out, you can take the bed with you. I love winter clothes for just that reason lol. I see shopping in your future! 😉

#3…yeah Blog please… I have too much time on my hands most days and I need new reading material.

Now as for tips, when I moved I learned not to pack so much clothing and such but to pack things that reminded me of home. I didn’t do it and those should have been higher on my priority list. I know you’ve done this before but, in the process of packing don’t worry so much about the new outfits you will want for your trousseau, think about your favorite blanket or things that will remind you of Bangkok. Pack your favorite candies and such, just until you find them (or new ones) in Germany.

Grocery shopping in Germany is a social outing and as such is done daily. It’s like that in India (except the veggie man comes to your door) and I imagine Bangkok as well. So take some reusable shopping bags from Bangkok. You will have a piece of home with you every day. Also, use that time to seek out others you can talk to. Say a random hello, etc. Look for new Offbeat marriages!

For all else, remember this phrase “Ich bin Auslander und spreche nicht gut Deutsch.” It’s all you need to get them to speak English when your brain is fried and you can’t figure out what they are saying lol.

Glee

Hey White Bhabi,

Thank you so much for all your thoughtful advice. Really, winter is the number that scares me. I’ll make sure to remember your advice, that part about carrying with me a bed when I got out, lol.

Blogging can really be a blessing to a lot of expat wives. I hope that I’ll find success in this field. 🙂

WhiteBhabi

Oh, and you might have to add “Sprechen sie English (or Thai)” to they know what language to speak in.

banheethespectator

Hi!

Congratulations! Hope you can adjust easily on your new life with your husband in Germany! Your husband can surely help you adapt to your new environment. God bless!

banhee

Glee

Hi Ban,

My husband will definitely be my big support. I think that it’s an advantage if it’s only me that adjusts and my other half is already rooted, compared to those expat couples that together adjust and cope with their integration process. 🙂

Jemina S

Hi Glee, welcome to Europe! Pretty soon we’ll be neighbours. If there is one who can closely relate with you then that’s probably me except for #4–until I went to Italy.
Don’t worry about cooking. Necessity is the mother of invention. I didn’t know how to make Italian food until I came here. Now I enjoy cooking and baking a lot.
You’re lucky you’ll be coming in summer. Don’t know much about Germany but remember what I had told you in our chat before.
Anyway, I wish you all the best and God’s brightest blessings!

Mrs F

Good luck with everything! European street signs freak me out, and the German one in the article would definitely give me a panic attack lol 🙂

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