While it is an amazing, once in a lifetime experience to get the chance to live abroad in a country other than America, there are aspects from home I will always miss. At the time, living in the States, you take it for granted and don’t appreciate it quite as much at 2am as you should. Now that I have lived in Germany for almost 3 years, I realize now, just how much I miss many things in the States.
1. No-Smoking Sections
Nothing gets under my skin more than sitting down at a beer garden or a café outside to enjoy the sunshine than a smoker plopping down next to me and lighting up a cigarette and even worse, a cigar. Thankfully, smoking in doors in Germany is prohibited, however, that luxury does not extend to outdoor seating.
2. Convenience Stores
Have you ever run out of toilet paper or dropped your only tooth brush in the toilet at 2am before? Ya…I have. And let me just tell you how frustrating it can be to not have any convenience stores available at such a late hour. If you get lucky enough to find one open, it’s all the way in Timbuktu and is more expensive! And that moment you crave a snickers at 4am will just have to wait until you can make it to the nearest Lebensmittel.
3. Peanut Butter Reese’s
Speaking of chocolate and convenience stores… Germans just don’t know the joy of combining chocolate and peanut butter together. Nor are they big peanut butter eaters in general! It’s expensive here and comes in small containers! Thank god for care packages from home at Easter! However, lately Real & Rewe have been selling them!!
4. Free Refills/Soda
Since moving to Europe, I have cut my intake of soda almost to none existent. Some days I do crave a carbonated diet Pepsi to set me right…oh wait… Germany is a Coke Cola nation. For the longest time, I was never bothered by the difference between Pepsi and Coke and then one day it just hit me. I’m a Pepsi kid. Unfortunately, Pepsi is not very common in Germany. You can find it, but not often. Second, if you want a refill on your drink at McDonald’s, good luck. It is possible, every now and then, to find a McDonald’s or so that will allow free refills, but be prepared for one drink and pay for a refill
5. Ice ICE Baby
Too Cliché? Well, that’s how I react every time I find an ice machine in Germany or get more than 2 small cubes in my drink. We won’t talk about how there is no room whatsoever in my tiny refrigerator to make my own ice cubes.
6. 24 Hour/drive thru/restaurant
Spent an evening out on the town with your girls, bumping and grinding in the club until 6am? Ya, I bet you’re just famished afterwards and want some dirty delicious hole in the wall Mexican food or just a good hearty breakfast to top off an amazing night. Good luck finding something other than a club open late. You might be able to go to the nearest train station and hang out with other drunks and partiers all looking for a midnight snack at the Döner shop!
7. Window Screens
Summer is coming, which means after a long winter and lots of spring rain, mosquitoes and other creepy crawlers will come through my wide open window on a sunny day and eat me alive. In Germany, and much of Europe, buildings generally have windows that open wide without a screen keeping you from sticking your head out the window to enjoy the sunshine. While this is lovely, having a bunch of bug bites, is not.
8. Air Conditioning
With summer, comes two months of sweltering hot heat waves and without air conditioning in your home or office, it can be quite unbearable. As a girl from California, I should be used to the heat, but I just can’t handle anything over 75*F. Come summer, I have two fans blowing at me at all times. Fortunately for me, warm summer weather only last two months in Germany as compared to 10 months in California. However, that is a lot less bitching and moaning about the heat. It’s just not necessary here.
9. House Hold Appliances
It is pretty common in Europe for people to own any of these lovely appliances, but for the most part some do without one or any of them. In my case, I have only a washing machine. I miss the days of warm fluffy bath towels and soft sheets and a dishwasher to do the backbreaking work for me or a massive, never-ending American refrigerator. I know one day, we will have these things again, but it has taught me to live more simply.
10. State to State cell phone coverage
Since the United States is so large, you could drive 8 hours and still be in the same country, even the same state. All the while having cell phone coverage the entire time. Here in Germany, I can also have state to state cell phone coverage. However, thanks to O2, I might not have the best cell service once I leave Bavaria. Traveling outside of Germany? Then I need to have international calling.
11. Free Public Restrooms
It is possible to find free public restrooms in Germany and Europe, but I can’t promise they will be well maintained. It’s like the same thing as going to a restroom on the beach in California. You just don’t want to use that toilet, so you look for the nearest fast food restaurant or gas station to use a somewhat nicer restroom. Need to pee? No problem, its free. In Germany? Nope. It is much harder to find a restroom which is clean and free to the public. Don’t get me wrong, in some cases I am willing to pay that 50cents for a clean bathroom, especially at Dult.
12. Flavored Coffee
I am not a big coffee drinker, that is unless it is hidden by yummy flavors such as Hazelnut, Raspberry, Vanilla, Pineapple, Coconut and a billion other possibilities. My favorite drink at Starbucks was a Raspberry White Chocolate Mocha. Ya, no coffee in there or even a holiday favorite like Pumpkin Spice Latte. Germany and Europe lack in flavors other than some of the basics like Vanilla and Hazelnut. It’s not often I can find them. Although, maybe this is changing because last fall was the first time I found Pumpkin Spice Latte in Germany.
I grew up in a movie loving family. I guess you could call us movie-oholics. 1-2 times a week, we went to the movies. Here in Germany, I’m lucky if I go 2-3 times a year. American movies take longer to make it here to Europe, and being in Germany, they usually come out in German (duh!). I’m a stickler for understanding new movies and refuse to see them in German until I have seen it first in English. So that means I have to wait….and wait….and wait until I find it and can finally watch it in English on a special night of the week or find a good enough quality to stream it online.
I think any American living in Europe (or abroad) will agree when I say I miss Ranch! Trying to explain it to a non-American is difficult and trying to make my own version will never be the same as having a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch. Ranch is just one of the most perfect condiments to go with virtually anything: Pizza, French Fries, sandwiches, Chicken, Broccoli, Steaks…. Without it, I feel like my life is void of a delicious flavor.
***All photos found on Google!***
Also check out some of my other blogs on the differences between Germany and the US