Homesickness = becoming bipolar?

98 posts in this topic

It was not so long ago (Jordan 1973 and Italy 1976) that any suggestion that a "Brit" was integrating into the local community was called: "going native" and frowned upon by other ex-pats to the point that the person was ostracised. Times have clearly changed - or have they?

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Hi again, Novelwriter,

 

I think the key lies in staying true to your roots while learning to adapt to the local culture. Everyone should set their own personal limits at the end of the day, though sometimes others will try and impose what they consider to be appropriate limits on you. This applies in loads of situations though.

 

Ultimately, you have to remain true to yourself methinks, change/adapt where you can, accept what you can't, etc. You know, that old chestnut!

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Guys, okay, maybe Germany is not very very Ausländer-frienly, but aren´t you being over the top by saying "scary place for sensitive people"?

 

Nope, it's not even remotely over the top. Gary's observation was spot on.

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English food used to be very bland IMO I know things have changed over the yrs and a good thing too

 

..maybe it's the people and what they are cooking?

 

I wouldn't disagree with the first point!

 

Other people's cooking, not really. The German people I know often experiment with other cuisines. Maybe because they saw me coming!

 

But there are certainly some stronger-flavoured dishes in Germany such as Kasespätzle covered in chives, which I find a bit too full on, or Obatzda, again, too strong for my taste buds. Obviously the cheesy stuff doesn't go down too well with me, no bland flavours there for sure!

 

Ok, back to the main topic...

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Nope, it's not even remotely over the top. Gary's observation was spot on.

 

I see that you clearly ignored the second part of my post. Which country would then be "welcoming" for sensitive people that lack a familiar support system?

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I doubt gary was saying that some countries are scary and some welcoming. He was saying that some countries are more scary than others. In the UK I would say there is possibly more social mollycoddling than in Germany; people are more likely to be treated like small children who need their hands held and have to be told very slowly how to fill in a form or drink a hot drink. That's the impression I have, at least. (It doesn't mean to me that the UK is 'better'.)

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The other day, we had visitors from the UK and I was yarning about how, when in Jordan in 73-74, I bought myself an old 650cc BSA motorbike. Most afternoons, I would wrap a kuffieh around my face and thunder off into the desert thinking I was Lawrence of Arabia. Most Germans would have no idea about Lawrence and they'd miss the point entirely.

How many young people in the UK know about Lawrence of Arabia? Plenty of Germans beyond the age of 40 know him from David Leans's 1962 movie.

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I doubt gary was saying that some countries are scary and some welcoming. He was saying that some countries are more scary than others. In the UK I would say there is possibly more social mollycoddling than in Germany; people are more likely to be treated like small children who need their hands held and have to be told very slowly how to fill in a form or drink a hot drink. That's the impression I have, at least. (It doesn't mean to me that the UK is 'better'.)

 

That's probably what he meant, I'm sure. Germans are a bit more robust in their interactions, they're used to it and it normally doesn't rub them up the wrong way.

 

I haven't been back to Britain in many years now, so what astonishes me reading TT threads are references to the violence (glassing etc.) that you can expect on British streets today if you only so much as look in the wrong direction. That's really scary.

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How many young people in the UK know about Lawrence of Arabia? Plenty of Germans beyond the age of 40 know him from David Leans's 1962 movie.

That's true, I saw the film as a teenager here, and I bought and read the book Die Sieben Säulen der Weisheit by Lawrence in German not long afterwards. I've still got the book.

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I got interested in Lawrence of Arabia when I was still at school. I have heaven knows how many books by or on him (over 20) and even gave a talk on him a couple of years ago. I quite often mention my interest in him and so far, no-one has ever said "You what?" or "Wer??"

And it's quite amazing that there are at least one or two articles about him in the press nearly every year. I know because people keep sending me them (either cut out of the paper or the links).

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You are absolutely right! But I am still in the dark as to the meaning of the word "integration." What are the characteristics of an integrated person? Can everyone reach this state?

 

I have never really thought about what integration really means. I don't think i ever had too. It took me about two months to start feeling at home here, even though i knew noone when i first arrived. I have never had any issues with the Germans either. Sure, i notice that there are diferences. They are much more upfront than people are in other countries where i have lived and sometimes it drove me a bit nuts but...I just adapted much of the same approach back and told them to mind their own business if i thought they were medeling in things they should not. And they accept it. I dont really know any "ausländer". All my friends are Germans and well...we share many of the same thoughts and ideas. People (germans) were always telling me that it is difficult to get to know Germans, and especially Bavarians. I am still dumbfounded as to what they are talking about. Just as they are dumbounded by the fact that i managed to build up a close social network within two months of being here and that it is a 100% German network. Maybe i adapt easily. I dont know. I just don't notice the things which many people seem to have "problems" with. If i hold the door open going in our out of a store i get a thank you and a smile. The cashier always greets me with a smile and a joke when i come rushing in the morning before going to work. The guy in the kiosk always have a smile left over for me and give treats to the dogs. The owner of the store down the street where i never buy anything always invite me in for a chat when she see me pass by. The odd stranger comes up and ask if they can pet my dogs or just comes up for a bit of a small talk. On the U-bahn it is the same thing. Quite often i find myself engaged in some kind of conversation...mostly started by the fact that i bring the dogs along but often lead to other topics as to how long I have been here etc. I often get compliments for my german and people are supriced that i speak so well after such short time. So, i dont know what it is. Maybe it is my attidute? I presume that people in general are actually nice and decent and dont want to piss me off even though their tone of voice maybe sound a bit harsh? Greet everyone with a smile and you will get a smile back. By now, my postman get a big grin on his face everytime he sees me and make it a point to stop for a short "how are you chat". Even the guys picking up the garbage greats me when they drive by with their truck. What did I do to ever deserve this "special treatment" I just said good morning. Another example, there is a guy i sometimes run in to when going to work in the morning. Once we noticed we see eachother quite often we say good morning. The mother and child who always come up and talk when we wait for the u-bahn. I have never "pushed" myself on to anyone but have always been invited in to "the circle of friends". The examples can go on and on. The only time i felt things were a bit though was during the first month when i had no furnitures in my apartment and slept on a mattress on the floor. But that too was not too bad. My very first real interaction with germans were with my collegues...who gave me a "welcoem to Germany" present in form of a gift card for 100 Euro so i could get some basic stuff for the kitchen. 98% of the people i have run in to have really been super nice and polite. Even the woman i once wanted to slap in the face (different story) is actually really nice once you get to know here.

 

But...does all of this mean that I am integrated??? No clue. What i do know is that I like living in Germany and i will continue to live here for...well, we will see...There are some things which i find irretating (everything closed on Sundays) but ther are things I find irretating at home too, or in Canada where i used to live, or in the US where i used to live etc etc. No place is perfect. I just focus on the good tings and dont swet the small stuff :-)

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On 9/8/2012, 2:03:37, Chocky said:

 I have to say, after nearly 8 years of living in Germany, I have realised that are basically two ways of coping with life in this country - 1: learn the language and embrace the culture, 2: pretend you are still living back home and surround yourself as much as possible with things from home, music, food, people,

I agree. Almost six years passed in this thread. Are all the immigrants feeling good here?. I met many people who are homesick here. After you lived in Germany for years, where ever, you go you tend to complain about the system (starting from public transport). In German states, NRW is a place where real integration starts (sure, lot of problems too). People are open minded, flexible. I lived in East for more than 10 yeras. Too many idiotic with less exposure to outside world, narrow minded and racist attitude. Even you could find many educated Germans with some sort of having a nagging feeling always and observing immigrant colleagues. Also, if you want to aim high to advance in your career at your own expenses, some native people tend to demotivate you (it starts from own career to kids play programs). After I moved to NRW, I felt a big relief. How ever, I miss the quality of public basket ball courts in cities like cologne and Dusseldorf. If you are not able to speak German after spending many years, do not feel bad and go to depression mode (Of course, language learning is difficult and not everyone succeed).

-Go for running and catch some friends for sport. Hang around with them.

-Involve with kids career (you learn more German).

-It is easy to find people of your own origin in bigger cities in NRW and hang around (if you really home sick. It is better rather than being depressed).  

-Try to maintain or live close to non govt organizations buildings. They have some good volunteer program. You can help them in the kitchen

-Try to involve in the social activities in the school

-Go to the park with the kids and climb with them and make friends there too. 

Come on! Cheer up! Go guys. You can get rid of Home sick.

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As most of your suggestions seem to revolve around children, what do you propose for those without children? I'm not sure going to the park with random children is advisable these days.

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26 minutes ago, skadi said:

As most of your suggestions seem to revolve around children, what do you propose for those without children? I'm not sure going to the park with random children is advisable these days.

 

Join clubs.  There's pretty much a club for every out out there.  I think i'm a member now of 5-6 different vereine, some out of true interest (sportsverein, kayak club), some just to support (Hallenbadforderverein), some to get free advice (gartenverein), one or two just for the hell of it/parties (ahem Heimatbund)

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Thanks, but I wasn't asking for suggestions, just pointing out that 'activities with kids' is hardly a cure-all for homesickness.

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1 hour ago, skadi said:

Thanks, but I wasn't asking for suggestions, just pointing out that 'activities with kids' is hardly a cure-all for homesickness.

OH, YOu can give suggestions, but no-one else can?!;)

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I found that when you start thinking of Germany as home, you stop being homesick. It is natural to mourn the loss of your old life, but when you decide that home is where you are, then things start falling into place.

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