America meets Germany (Tips for moving to a Different Country)

When I was a teen I was in love with these movies where the main character moves to a different country and finds themselves, love, and happiness. It’s like you can start all over again however you want. You can be whatever kind of person you want to be. That’s why back in high school I took Spanish seriously haha, just in case I go to a Spanish country one day. Then it would be easier when I already know the language. I used to always imagine moving to Italy, eating great pizza, everyone is so nice, beautiful weather, and nature. TV always made it seem so nice! Especially the movie Eat Pray Love, when she left to Italy and the friends she made. How the italians lived there life to the fullest and always took time for themselves. One of the lines that were my favorite was from this Italian barber in the movie, he said “ You Americans dont know how to enjoy yourselves, always work work work.” It made me want to move to Italy hahah. Now, I don’t know if I really want to move to Italy anymore, but I definitely want to visit it badly! Moving to a different country was not as easy as I thought, I moved to Germany about a year and half ago. I was living in the US my whole life and never thought I would ever leave it. If you read my last post you would know I was living in Richmond VA. I loved the US and still love it so much, but sometimes romantic love takes you to different places.

Moving to a different country is beautiful yet VERY difficult. It comes with a lot of trials and challenges that you never would’ve thought of. Racism, homesickness, difficulties with jobs, adapting to the people, etc. However once you overcome them the rewards will be beautiful. You will be a different person with crazy experiences that shaped you in so many ways. You will look back and be so thankful for these trials. For they allowed you to surpass your limits.

The most difficult thing for me is learning German. Damn it’s such a hard language guys. Seriously…it’s so hard!! No matter what country you go to, the most difficult thing would be the language. So if you don’t have that courage to learn a language, and almost be like a child all over again, then you have to move to a country that speaks the same language as you do. I’ve been learning german since I moved here, so far I can understand it really well, but not perfectly. Like lets say someone speaks a sentence with 15 words, I most likely know from 8 to 11 words in that sentence. This took me a year to achieve, so hopefully in another year I will be able to understand most of it, or even all of it. When it comes to reading and writing, this actually was the easiest for me, because the sound of the letters is very similar to english and arabic. Nevertheless there are sounds in German that are only in German. These sounds are a bit difficult. The alphabet is the same as the American one just slightly different sounds.Having both Arabic and English really helped me learn quicker. If you’re bilingual, moving to a different country will be easier than others because you will be able to learn quicker. The speaking part of a language is the hardest, because even if you know so many words, great grammar, you always have the fear of making a mistake. The fear is what stops you from speaking, which means that the biggest challenge you will have is fighting this fear. That my friends is a difficult fight. When you fight this fear and when you’re okay with making mistakes, then speaking won’t be that hard. In the end were all humans, we don´t like feeling stupid at a mature age of our lives. This is the problem with me right now, so I’m trying to everyday fight that. However I do speak german, the first couple months I didn’t really speak it that much, after maybe 10 months I was able to speak more and can have conversations with other people. 

Adapting to a country will be the second trial. Adapting to the people, the weather, the laws, food, etc. Germany and the US are more different than similar. I’ve always thought all white people look the same, like germany, US, britain, Denmark, I thought they all look the same. But actually no. You can distinguish between a German and American actually without hearing them talk. They don’t really look the same. You might be wondering which one looks better…I will leave you curious. One of the biggest differences between American and Germans is that Germans are way more practical than Americans. In other words the product doesn’t matter as much as how practical the product is. Americans in my opinion can buy anything haha. We Americans love to buy, shop, and care about materialistic things more than other countries. Maybe a little bit too much but its okay haha. Another thing that Germany is, is environmental friendly. The government and the people care about that a lot. That’s why there are a lot of bike riders and buses here. Also if you want to deport a car from another country, there are laws that check on how much gas it spends and how bad it is for the environment, if it’s bad it will not get into germany. Germany is mainly known for its beer, however compared to Americans, Germans don’t have a lot of celebrations as much as Americans. Both countries drink a lot, and I´m not really sure which one more, but with celebrating it’s different. Americans party more and always find reasons to celebrate, while Germans aren’t as much like that. In general, there are more holidays in the US than in Germany. 

The german people are very straightforward, whether they know you or not. If they don’t like you, it’ll be very obvious. They are very private people, keep things to themselves, and don’t interact with strangers as much. Americans tend to talk, smile, and interact more as a community.

 Working hours are less in Germany than they are in the US. Americans work way more than Germans, but the pay in the US is worse than Germany. In dollars, Americans make 7.25 dollars an hour as minimum wage, while Germans make 11.05 dollars an hour. They also have more vacation days than in America. Which is why many germans tend to also travel a lot on their vacation days. Germany is surrounded by many countries, unlike the US with many states, so they can easily and affordably travel. 

There are a lot of differences between the US and Germany, however they are both beautiful the way they are. If you want to move from Germany to America, you will love it and from America to Germany, you will love it. It all depends on how well you can adapt, if you’re someone who cannot adapt easily then it might be difficult, however if you’re someone who wherever you go will make it, then travel and move to places. You will grow, get stronger, smarter, more patient, and you will test your limits and see what you’re capable of. 

I moved to Germany because the person I wanted to marry lived here. In the beginning it was exciting and I was looking around everywhere trying to memorize every picture of the country. It’s a very authentic country, with modern places also, however the buildings mostly are old and have a story. The faces around me were pretty familiar, the country is full of white looking people like the US and at the same time the second large group of people are the arabs. So it didn’t seem like I was on a different planet haha. I met so many beautiful people here, with beautiful minds. It was very easy to make friends, because mostly I became friends with my husband’s friends haha. I had luck with that Thank God. So I didn’t feel alone. I made a family also here in this country, my mother in law is both a mother and a role model for me. My sister in law I love her so much and she is my best friend. I also made a lot of brothers here. 

The food here is way healthier than the US. I was actually surprised with that, I didn’t know restaurants and dishes can be that healthy in a whole country haha. Potatoes here are a big thing, the people love them a lot! The homemade food is similar to american homemade cooking, mashed potatoes, vegetables, noodles. It’s pretty similar, also the taste of the german food doesn’t have much spices like American food also. Only difference is the amount of oil and sugar used in the dishes haha. 

Everyday is a new adventure, as much as I’m missing the US, I am also learning so much here and falling in love step by step. I’m grateful to have three countries that I have learned to love. Iraq will always be my blood, America will be my mother country, and Germany is my teacher country that has taught me so much and made me grow. This country allowed me to surpass my limits, learn patience, endure pain, have fun with friends, have a third language, and it’s helping me finally try to find myself without any distractions. For anyone who wants to move, go there, try it out for a year at least, then you will know if you want to stay or not. Less than that won’t be sufficient because honestly the beginnings are always easy, it’s the end that’s hard. So the longer you stay the harder it will be and more challenges you will face. But like I said, if you are able to overcome these challenges, you will find beautiful outcomes and rewards awaiting you at the end of the road.

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