New Zealanders in Germany

Leaving the "Traumland"

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Hutcho
I assume they mean this. We also have it in Australia. It's and acquired taste, so unless you're used to it, you're probably not missing out on anything.
Maccka
My mouth is watering... I love that stuff, even when I know it's bad for me. I used to buy a big can of V every Sunday night, sit on the couch, drink it over the hour, and watch House on TV.

Good times...

@ovbg: How was the restaurant?
SophG
Hey Maccka - you can buy V in the Netherlands! Ok, it´s not Germany but closer than NZ. We always find it in the Albertheijn (a large supermarket chain) in the center of Amsterdam. Looks like they have some stores near the German border so maybe they stock it too? Depending how desperate you are you could do a road trip to the Netherlands
ovbg
Wow, never knew that. Dates from way later than my life in NZ. Lemon & Paeroa, now that's a NZ drink that I remember and one that can't be found elsewhere. It's also pretty nice as well.
Maccka
Cheers, SophG. I feel a roadtrip coming on soon...
Neuseelaenderin
Just a few more comments before I break free from the grasps of Toytown...!

Thanks Katrina for the information on Bangkok, and ruapehu for the Opodo suggestion.

Also, I have to agree that the UK does Indian a whole lot better than anything we have tasted in Germany or NZ. Honing our (well, my husband's mostly, although of course I taught him everything that he knows ) curry-making skills has been the answer for us too. And may I suggest making paneer cheese (now that one is my speciality ) - totally delicious, spices up a meal, and really easy to make too! And one doesn't feel in any way jibbed for not being able to find a decent restaurant!

And one last thing - if anyone is feeling really homesick, you could always try the NZ scented laundry spray they are selling at DM, inspired by the NZ landscape apparently

Best wishes to all, adieu.
tp1_kenobi
Any of you kiwis know of Six60? They dropped their first album and doing their European tour. As of right now, they are coming to Dortmund and Berlin. If anyone is interested in carpooling from Munich to Berlin for the concert let me know.
noman682
I'm so late to post on this post, but I miss the people. I miss the hellos from strangers walking down the street and the thank yous we say to bus drivers and supermarket check out people. I miss the conversations with the checkout ladies. I miss my kiwi accent...it's almost gone.

I miss the way you can turn up at the beach and everyones there, on New years, you don't have to organise a party... just go to the beach.
I miss being out surfing in the rain. So many things I miss. I think the thing I miss the most is the team sports for women.

And I miss the meat and the chocolate.

I MISS YOU NZ!
If you a kiwi in Hessen or Baden- Wüttemberg area let me know your out there.
Maccka
Hey noman682,

I'm in Stuttgart. Give me a PM if you wanna catch up sometime.

Lately I've been missing home an awful lot. It's the lack of summer here, the difficulty getting anything done with all the pointless processes, and sometimes I just wanna talk to strangers about nothing.

Feeling a bit homesick after a year here!
RainyDays
Maybe a visit to the Frankfurt book fair, whose guest of honour this year is New Zealand, can alleviate the homesickness a bit? See info. Open for the general public only Sat. 13th and Sunday 14th October, but you can register as a Fachbesucher for the other two days, when it's not so crowded, if you are somehow related to the book business or are a translator, teacher or student.
ecg19
Hi kiwis,

I'm going to be moving to Germany early next year, to Kaiserslautern with my US military husband.

I've been living in Australia for a year and a half, but in Perth surrounded by kiwis. I'm a little nervous at 1- being surrounded by Germans when I can't speak a word of it and 2- being surrounded by Americans!

Are there any kiwi gatherings at all?

Can anyone recommend any places to go for lessons, something like an immersion school? I spent 5 years at uni so I know I will be able to pick up a language, but it will nonetheless be a daunting experience!

Thanks!
ovbg
Wow, you sound homesick before you even leave home! This certainly isn't a good start.

Though I can understand you wanting to find other New Zealanders when living outside New Zealand (all cultures like to do this with their own), it did make me raise an eyebrow where even in Perth, which is not so dissimilar to NZ, you surrounded yourself with people from your own country.

In any event, this will be a lot harder in Germany and especially Kaiserslautern.

You have to keep in mind that there are not that many Kiwis in the world anyway, and that includes NZ where the majority congregate. Sure, when you go to the neighbouring country, Australia, a very large number have immigrated and sure, head off to large global cities like London where the language is still English and the heritage is a factor, and there are again quite a fair number. But although Germany is a big country, the sudden change of language, culture and it's distance from New Zealand means the numbers are a lot smaller than in the UK or Oz - by a long shot.

Then, count in the fact that Germany is a very spread out country, with lots of major cities and towns, that what few NZ'ers there are, are spread around quite a bit.

I am sure you will find the odd NZer in Kaiserslautern, but I imagine it may be difficult to surround yourself with them.

Ok, all of that said, do you have a European passport (EU) of any type? British perhaps? If so, you can live and work without issue in Germany. This may come in handy to fill in gaps and get a bit of independence going. Of course, I suspect your living side has been arranged already, what with the military organizing it.

Kaiserslautern, although not a bad place, is nothing special to write home about. It is a small city of around 100,000, so don't expect something like Perth which although tiny in global terms, is large in comparison to Kaiserslautern. Most people also associate European cities with historical architecture, but many German cities were sadly destroyed in the war, with Kaiserslautern being no exception. The city was pretty much obliterated, so despite being 1100 years old, little in the central city is truly historical. That said, hop in a car and Strasbourg is a short drive away which is quite a pleasant site and of course being in France, has a whole different character (even if the architecture still has Germanic roots). Kaiserslautern is also inland, and I don't know if you have lived truly inland before, but if this is the first time, it may be a bit of a shock for you.

But since your first question about living in Germany was to surround yourself with NZers, I fear architecture, and local culture may not be your greatest of interests.

I do suggest you try to learn some German. There are cheap evening classes in High Schools. You will mostly be surrounded by Eastern Europeans, Africans and Russians also learning English, so there won't be the similar culture you may crave. But the more expensive places like the Goethe Institut have more western European cultures, British, Americans and the odd Australian/NZer. But if you don't plan to live and work in Germany for a long time, don't spend to much of an effort on the language - unless you are a language natural, learning a whole new language is a slow and difficult process.

I would suggest you make the most of the time you are spending in central Europe. This is one of the most fascinating places in the world, both historically, culturally, and even scenically. You have so many amazing cities on your doorstep. An hours flight away, and you can be in Paris, Rome, Venice, London or any of more major or important cities than you can ever visit. Make that a three hour flight and you now include most of Europe and everything from the incredible fjords of Norway to the sun-drencehed beaches of the southern Mediterranean. If you don't make use of this whilst living in Europe, you will probably regret it all your life. Afterall, you come from possibly the world's most remotest country to a part of the world with some of the greatest density of incredible sights worth visiting.

Germany also has a lot to offer. Kaiserslautern has a massive American presence, so I suspect a good deal of the locals will speak English or at least enough that you won't have to worry about the basics. Germans are also nothing to be afraid of. Sure, the older middle classes often lack that smile on their face and can appear to be quite rude at times. But I never find this with the younger generation (pretty much everyone I meet under 40). Maybe it's a generation thing, and I have met the odd person who disagreed with me and thinks all Germans are rude and unfriendly, but after 10minutes with those people, I didn't feel like being friendly with them either ;O) Smile to most Germans, and even the most gruff ones tend to smile back ;O)

But hey, If you still can't forget about NZ. Get yourself a SmartDNS service from Overplay, and then you can watch NZ television from TVNZ and TV3. Buy a SplitEnz CD and your set. (well, except for good fish&chips - Kaiserslautern is nowhere near the sea, so unless you head up to the very North of Germany, or to Britain or Ireland, you won't find any good fish & chips here)
ecg19
Appreciate the response, and well, the frankness to. I guess it's something I'll have to get used to, going by some of the other posts around here about life in Germany.

For starters, the reason my post was written like that is because this is actually a post about New Zealanders in Germany. Hence, my question was based on the topic of this thread, rather than what I would like to do while I'm in Germany. Of course I want to see the culture of Europe, travel and make new friends. I'm an accountant, and a lot of this post was based on the fact that I will be staying at home for awhile until my US citizenship comes through and would like to know there's some support from 'home'. I work in a company of 600, 2 are kiwis. I do have a lot of friends here of all different races, however I live with a kiwi and often meet up with kiwis. 'Surrounded by kiwis' refers to the fact that there is a large kiwi population here.

Secondly, it's normal to like to have the comfort of something familiar around when you move somewhere new. I moved to Perth alone and set up a life here completely alone, and as such I don't think I am unreasonable in reaching out before I arrive somewhere. I'm 24 and newly married, don't speak the language in the country I'm moving to and quite frankly, know little about it. However, I'm educated and know that I will find my feet slowly but surely. I also do have flatmates that I used to live with in NZ who are German who will be living near enough by so I will have some locals to hang out with when we first arrive.

I don't have a British or EU passport, but will have a status of forces visa. I'm not sure if I can work on that in the surrounding area, but I guess I'll find that out. We also have to find our own accommodation, but imagine we will be within a half hour drive of the Ramstein air base. My husband wants us to live in a village, rather than on base, so that we learn the language and culture. This will especially be important if we end up having kids there, and staying for a second term (8 years total, rather than just the 4). If anyone has any suggestions on where we should have a look at in terms of villages, that would be great.

Yes, I guess I won't become fluent in German in my time (perhaps that will be different if it turns into 8 years) but I will give it a darn good try! I will start some online lessons in the meantime that the Air Force supplies to hopefully give a very basic grasp of the language.

Cheers
Masala
Kia Ora ecq,

Yes you probably could not choose a 'less kiwi' Western country to move to. But I'm supposing that you know this already. A lot of German's will say "Ah, Neuseeland, ein Traum ..." But many of them would actually hate it because of its lack of rules and regulations and the complete lack of worries about basically anything, leading to what may be construed as endless unaccountability, disorder, and confusion. We call it realxed while some immigrants to New Zealand call it something more like brand of complete uselessness. Of course it's no different or easier to adjust when the shoe is on the other foot; Germany being at the extreme other end of the scale.

Don't go expecting them, but Kiwis do pop out of the woodwork when least expected. In my experience many of them are not interested in participaintg on this forum and so it's easy to imagine that they're not around. T ake me for example. I lived in a moderately-sized German city (200,000) for more than one year before I eventually knew there were four other NZers my age living here too. I know of at least another four or five living in other parts of our state and as you can imagine, there're quite a few Australians about too!
Masala
and now for a slightly more useful response:

Your situation is completely different from mine and I know very little about the whole US military thing, but I would assume it makes a move to Germany much easier than it was and has been for others who go it alone.

I would guess that you will have loads of assistance, support and opportunities through the military. There must be language classes available as well as support networks. If you are looking for more specific info on things related to your new location, looking for that particular corner of the forum will be your best bet. There is also a US military area where you'll find some good info. Otherwise, the local Volkshochschule will offer classes and it might be a good way of meeting new people. Integration Courses are not as hideous as they sound.

I would suggest that you live in a small city, as opposed to a village. Your husband probably likes the idea of it, but is he going to be the one stuck there all day? Villages tend to be filled with very conservative and tightly knit communities. They may be amazing and welcome you with open arms! Or they may not, in which case life might suck quite a bit. In saying this, I know nothing about the area. Also, it sounds like having kids might be on the table, in which case a small city will have a lot more to offer, as well as a greater variety of people: ie. not just Americans. The key to 'tagging along' to Germany as a spouse is to make sure that YOU have your own goals and interests and make sure they're as much of a priority as hubby's. Germany is great for kids by the way. It's also much safer and less violent than NZ. And there tends to be a lesser amount of idiots around, which can be refreshing.
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