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About ExileAdventure

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  • Location Frankfurt am Main
  • Nationality American
  • Gender Female
  1. Should we return to the US?

    Hi everyone,   I am actually not a "Germany shitter" at all (much more of a "German defender") and I believe that we have had a very good, even great at times, life here. I do not regret a moment of it. The first few years were definitely very hard, most especially for me - the most "foreign" in our family since I could neither quickly learn the language or cultural norms, nor easily adapt, as did our kids. I had hyge culture shock when we first arrived, I was mystified and affronted by a lot of Germanness, and I missed the US, "home", desperately. But slowly and with more bumps along the road, I adapted and forged my own, very successful little niche here, and our entire family adapted. We made a life here.   However, unlike what other non-Germans have posted here, we have no family in Germany and no family ties whatsoever. Although my husband's parents were German (they're both dead), they emigrated to the States in 1948, stayed until 1966 (all 4 kids were born there), and thereon lived an unconventional, international life, hopping from one country to other, always returning to the US as a sort of meeting point. So we are alone, of all our family and friends, here. In the US, on the other hand, we have communities (in more than one area). And we miss this very much.   Also, again in contrast to others' experience, when we were back this summer, after many, many years of not being in the US, we did not experience any "reverse culture shock" at all. It felt wonderfully familiar, we felt at home. And the longer we were there, the more things we did with family and friends, the more we longed to stay.   So. We've now decided to give ourselved at least a year (which we can afford to do, in every sense) and begin looking into the possibility of going back. We are still not sure that we will actually do it: it is only a beginning.   And I think you all for yout thoughtful responses!
  2. Should we return to the US?

    @vmelchers   Thank you for this -- similar situations happed to us, all of us - my husband and 2 kids -- when we were over there now and I, as you describe, constantly found myself tearing up.   It's a hard thing to describe if you haven't experienced or if, alternatively, this kind of stuff just isn't that big a deal for you. For me, it really is. When we were in NYC, a few times we took the bus from Port Authority to Hoboken / Weehawken in NJ to visit friends and often we ended up having interesting and sweet conversations with total strangers. One time my husband sat next to a thirtysomething African American woman listening to music with her iPhone and when he asked her, ok if I sit here, she turned and brilliantly smiled and said, it sure is, honey (he must be 20 years older!) and they talked during the whole drive. Another time I was at a Target in Massachusetts with my 2 kids and in the middle of our shopping experience, something they were really enjoying, I realized I needed desperately to run to the bathroom but our cart was full and the kids were drinking juice and eating crackers (not yet paid & you can't go into the restrooms with unpaid items). I was "dying" there and definitely couldn't wait to stand in line just to pay for that stuff so I asked one of the cashiers if she could watch over the cart while I ran to the bathroom. Sure thing, honey, she said, and when I got back she had cookies for the kids!    There are a million of these stories which, as I said, doesn't really mean that the US is a better place to live - after all, these things were happening at the same time as Charlottesville was happening. But they just made a huge impression on me, made me realize how tense I often am here, how hard it is to live daily in a place which you may respect but not necessarily "love".
  3. Should we return to the US?

    OP here.   Thanks, everyone, for the replies and all the details. There's a lot of food for thought here and we will have a lot to think about before we make a decision on whether to return or not.   The way we see it, Germany has the following advantages: - laws protecting individuals: no simple hire/fire, great vacation time which you can actually take and not be made to feel guilty about (in the US, vacation is not even federally mandated, meaning any employer can forbid you if they want or offer you none), paternity leave, generous and flexible attitude towards parental responsibilies when kids are ill or need something etc, sick time even for mental issues (I'm amazed at the number of people I know who take off for mental health reasons and have their jobs waiting for them) & etc - in general, a much calmer, quieter, gentler pace of life: less crime even here in Frankfurt where we live, less social crises, despair, violence etc - cheaper health care, convering more, especially for kids - a more stable economy with zero inflation: in this last trip to the US, I was amazed at the supermarket (and drugstore) prices not only because they're so high but because each product had gone up so much in the 8 years we'd been gone! Here in Germany, the rising cost I've noticed most is the UBahn, now higher than in NYC - better food quality, though this isn't a big deal for us since everyone we know eats perfectly well - proximity to the rest of Europe for travel, which in general is also faster, easier and cheaper than traveling throughout the US - free college and government aid for college, including masters, PhDs etc - and ultimately, the sense that this is a smart, civilized society which is looking to the future and not about to collapse   However, as aware as we are (and we are!) of all of this, finally going home this time has also made us aware of other fundamental factors. Namely, that maybe for some people "home is where home is". We just don't feel at home here and never really have, though after a rocky start we're doing pretty well and have built an above average life. But it's not home and we're always missing home, and the feelings we have at home. We are just much, much happier in the US, regardless of all its issues, while here we are, at best, pleasantly satisfied.   So, we'll see. No definite decisions have yet been made.   But thank you all, it was really interesting!
  4. Should we return to the US?

    Hi everyone, At the moment, I'm experiencing a lot of anxiety, and even fear, before the idea of my husband, kids and I returning to live in America. We have been here 8-plus years and have definitely finally managed to build a life and sort of settle in, but it never totally feels like home. We have just returned from a visit, after several years of not visiting, and were astounded at how well we felt there, how happy and at home. Several friends and family members have been asking us for some time now, why we don't attempt to go back.   My fears are the following: - Trump, of course! Although we would be in Massachusetts, the most progressive state.  - Prices. I was actually surprised and horrified at supermarket prices!  - Kids' schools. They now go to a lovely bilingual school and there would go to public school although, granted, Massachusetts does have the best ones in the country - College! - And just the overall sense of unease that present-day America seems to inspire - although, again, Massachusetts seems to mostly be the exception   So my question is: have any other Americans, after living here for quite some time, decided to go back? Or would go back? What have been your experiences?   Thanks to all!