Expat Burnout

177 posts in this topic

6 hours ago, freshtodeath said:

 

It's a beautiful town no doubt, but I find it very boring.  Coming from a very large American Metropolis where the worlds best entertainers perform multiple times a week and four major sports teams, Bamberg is a village in comparison. It's great for a slower paced lifestyle, raising a family. But for a 32 year old man in his prime with money to spend looking for fun and entertainment...not so much. The other issue is that it is a temporary town for many so I found myself making new friends, German and foreign, only having to find new friends six months to a year later if I didn't want to travel just to hang out with people. Thank god my girlfriend works here...for now. 

 

Horses for courses. 

 

Conspicuous consumption is a better fit in large American cities than provincial German towns, for sure. If you expect Bamberg to play out like a season of Entourage in NYC, Chicago or LA, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. (And fwiw, if you plan to do so at all, 32 is not too young to start settling down, raising a family, etc. ) 

 

I'm from a large, bustling, cosmopolitan city myself, but in Germany (almost 10 years) I've only lived in provincial (student) cities. I still feel very lucky to have grown up where I did, despite the negatives a big city also has (crowds, crime, surly antisocial demeanours, long commutes, high costs...). And I know acutely what is lacking in terms of a large city life, and I do miss certain things (diversity, an interesting restaurant scene and good food, stores where I can find literally anything, music concerts by bands I like, museums, arts, more interesting cultural offerings in general, etc.). Of course, to get my fix I can and do visit larger cities in Germany/Europe a couple times a year.

 

I honestly like living in these smaller places though. A city of +/- 200k people is big enough that there's just enough going on. But, it's still small enough you can get anywhere by bike (which I enjoy) in usually 20 minutes or so tops. I don't care much about cars, condos or designer clothes, so I don't miss 'em out in the sticks. In smaller cities, the surrounding nature is easily accessible, and culture is a little less of the same-same-but-different "glocal" mish-mash all large cities offer (and seem to think is unique to themselves). There are of course parts of living in Germany I still do not like, and will probably never reconcile with. I am very aware I'm a foreigner and not quite 'integrated', and probably never will be. And yes, a small provincial mentality on top of the German mentality can be hard. I've only been to Bamberg briefly and liked it, though I don't think I'd want to live there (or anywhere in Bavaria). As others said, you would probably enjoy a bigger city. 

 

I still enjoy going home, and a permanent return is an option we (wife and I) keep on the back burner... Though I know (as others have mentioned, too), that I've been gone so long I don't quite fit in there anymore either. And smaller cities back home tend to be even worse culturally than small cities here, not to mention job prospects. I'd also absolutely miss things from Germany, while aspects of my old 'home' would now get under my skin. Reconnecting with old friends who have no experience of living abroad can be somewhat difficult, too. But, first world problems right?

 

If you've convinced yourself Bamberg is a boring hicksville, it will be hard to break out of that. Two years is not that long, though. Others have mentioned and I'd agree, it's right around the breakthrough point. Since you're already counting the days, try to focus on what's unique about where you are and enjoy it while you can. 

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26 minutes ago, alderhill said:

 

Horses for courses. 

 

Conspicuous consumption is a better fit in large American cities than provincial German towns, for sure. If you expect Bamberg to play out like a season of Entourage in NYC, Chicago or LA, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. (And fwiw, if you plan to do so at all, 32 is not too young to start settling down, raising a family, etc. ) 

 

I'm from a large, bustling, cosmopolitan city myself, but in Germany (almost 10 years) I've only lived in provincial (student) cities. I still feel very lucky to have grown up where I did, despite the negatives a big city also has (crowds, crime, surly antisocial demeanours, long commutes, high costs...). And I know acutely what is lacking in terms of a large city life, and I do miss certain things (diversity, an interesting restaurant scene and good food, stores where I can find literally anything, music concerts by bands I like, museums, arts, more interesting cultural offerings in general, etc.). Of course, to get my fix I can and do visit larger cities in Germany/Europe a couple times a year.

 

I honestly like living in these smaller places though. A city of +/- 200k people is big enough that there's just enough going on. But, it's still small enough you can get anywhere by bike (which I enjoy) in usually 20 minutes or so tops. I don't care much about cars, condos or designer clothes, so I don't miss 'em out in the sticks. In smaller cities, the surrounding nature is easily accessible, and culture is a little less of the same-same-but-different "glocal" mish-mash all large cities offer (and seem to think is unique to themselves). There are of course parts of living in Germany I still do not like, and will probably never reconcile with. I am very aware I'm a foreigner and not quite 'integrated', and probably never will be. And yes, a small provincial mentality on top of the German mentality can be hard. I've only been to Bamberg briefly and liked it, though I don't think I'd want to live there (or anywhere in Bavaria). As others said, you would probably enjoy a bigger city. 

 

I still enjoy going home, and a permanent return is an option we (wife and I) keep on the back burner... Though I know (as others have mentioned, too), that I've been gone so long I don't quite fit in there anymore either. And smaller cities back home tend to be even worse culturally than small cities here, not to mention job prospects. I'd also absolutely miss things from Germany, while aspects of my old 'home' would now get under my skin. Reconnecting with old friends who have no experience of living abroad can be somewhat difficult, too. But, first world problems right?

 

If you've convinced yourself Bamberg is a boring hicksville, it will be hard to break out of that. Two years is not that long, though. Others have mentioned and I'd agree, it's right around the breakthrough point. Since you're already counting the days, try to focus on what's unique about where you are and enjoy it while you can. 


Lol conspicuous consumption? Designer clothes? What? Is it too much to ask to have bars and clubs that don’t cater to children and think playing *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys every weekend is proper music? Thing is, I have settled down quite a bit, just not married with kids. That being said, outside of a couple restaurants, there just simply isn’t good entertainment options in Bamberg. Like really not all. I wouldn’t be so hard on the place if there was one place I really enjoyed. Plattenladen is close but it’s too small and the sound system weak. 
 

I never came here expecting NYC lmao. I didn’t even expect Detroit. But I wasn’t expecting a complete lack of worthwhile options and a completely lacking young professionals scene. 
 

I also never used the term Hicksville. But Bamberg is boring to me. I didn’t have to convince myself or anyone else of that. It simply is by comparable measures to many places. 

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1 hour ago, freshtodeath said:

Lol conspicuous consumption? Designer clothes? What?

 

Just pushing your buttons a little. You repeatedly mention your car and it sounds like you're missing the more flashy parts of big city life. I feel you, to an extent. Every time I go home, I am reminded of how comparatively staid my current locales in Germany are.

 

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Is it too much to ask to have bars and clubs that don’t cater to children and think playing *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys every weekend is proper music?

 

I'm 35 and we have a baby, so I'm not really into clubs anymore. But like I say, I've been here just about 10 years. Even in the more mainstream clubs/bars when I did go (then NRW), they played a lot of crap, but it was never crap so bad as that...

 

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Thing is, I have settled down quite a bit, just not married with kids. That being said, outside of a couple restaurants, there just simply isn’t good entertainment options in Bamberg. Like really not all.

 

Well I can believe you there, though I guess it depends what you're into. I'm just not into nightclubs and such.

 

Since coming to Germany, I've taken up hobbies I might not have before. Partly I had to entertain myself. I always liked cooking, but moving here and losing access to various international cuisines forced me to learn to cook those -- it was the only way I'd ever have them! Cookbooks and youtube help a lot. I've also learned an instrument (ongoing!) and have become pretty interested in hobby woodworking. In summer, we do bike tours and have done a few group canoeing/kayak excursions in the past. I realize how boring this might sound, but I've also started to birdwatch. Cripes. They are all interests I've long had, but I'm not sure I would've got into them had I remained in my big city hometown. So I dunno about you, but my point is you maybe need to find something you can take upon yourself to keep you 'entertained'?

 

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I never came here expecting NYC lmao. I didn’t even expect Detroit. But I wasn’t expecting a complete lack of worthwhile options and a completely lacking young professionals scene. 

 

Define 'worthwhile'. It's all relative, IMO. I too have had the "Germany sucks, get me the eff outta here" phase like others mentioned. I still get it on some days.

 

I'd guess the more ambitious local yuppies probably head for Berlin, Leipzig, Munich, etc.

 

What does your gf think? Is she a local?

 

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I also never used the term Hicksville. But Bamberg is boring to me. I didn’t have to convince myself or anyone else of that. It simply is by comparable measures to many places. 

 

Again, horses for courses. It's boring for you. But I am not trying to convince you otherwise nor do I even really disagree. But I do think attitude plays a role. 

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My personal post of the day, alderhill! :rolleyes:

I´m a big city boy turned ex-big city boy! I follow your drift 100 percent!

As you say, horses for courses and for other people some post or other about the price of micro-waves night be their turn on.

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Dessa, your post was exactly my experience. I couldn't have said it better.

 

Socially, Germany is difficult...

 

"I used to think the worst thing in life is to end up all alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people who make you feel all alone." 
-Robin Williams

 

 

 
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9 hours ago, freshtodeath said:

I thought Bamberg being a livable city I'd get my city life fix but that was ignorant of me. Except for the lack of parking and nonsense tickets all the time. Got that part down. 

 

Yep, owning a car is essential for a meaningful happy existence.

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I feel your pain man. I’ve been here a little over a year now and I’m still very much an Auslander. It’s difficult to meet people, nobody socializes with strangers out and about and if you make an attempt it’s the weirdest thing ever. The way people do things here is SO much more systematic and preprogrammed and it takes SO long to get anything done. It can be tough for sure and maybe this is just “culture shock” as the other people are saying. But I’ve found that people here for the most part are genuine but that takes time to get to. It took me 2 1/2 months of going to my local “watering hole” (which they don’t really have those here as well) before the folks there would even acknowledge my presence by name. So here’s the thing, once you crack that hard outer shell I’ve found German people to be a little more, I don’t know, loyal and sincere? Again it takes time and I certainly don’t have it all figured out especially after one year. What I do know is that common courtesy cuts through all language and social barriers and being genuinely polite with people here has gone a long way for this Southerner (Maybe that’s my Southern Hospitality speaking!) and sometimes it can be kinda fun “killing them with kindness” bc Germans for the most part so DO NOT expect that and it catches them off guard instantaneously. Anyways Christmas season is here and talking to strangers in the markets over glüwein I’ve found to be enjoyable. Besides there’s so many foreigners here anyways it’s not hard to mesh. Be yourself, be courteous and polite, and be sincere and people no matter where you are will naturally gravitate toward that. Oh and another thing that has totally helped me is that I have had to make a strong effort to STOP comparing things here to the way things are back in the states. That mindset had me stuck for sooo long. It was difficult to break that but once accepted, Germany can have some nice perks. Cheers 

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14 hours ago, alderhill said:

 

Just pushing your buttons a little. You repeatedly mention your car and it sounds like you're missing the more flashy parts of big city life. I feel you, to an extent. Every time I go home, I am reminded of how comparatively staid my current locales in Germany are.

 

 

I just wanted to make sure I wasn't imagining things, but I for sure only mentioned my car in a negative light. Tickets, parking, and having to travel just to see friends. I never mentioned the type of car or really anything about it in a positive light. I'm really confused how you're jumping to the "flashy" conclusions you keep getting to. Projection maybe? Honestly  I wish I didn't need it here or at home. If it all stems from the "money to spend line" I meant money to spend on entertainment...going out...having fun. 

 

14 hours ago, alderhill said:

 

I'm 35 and we have a baby, so I'm not really into clubs anymore. But like I say, I've been here just about 10 years. Even in the more mainstream clubs/bars when I did go (then NRW), they played a lot of crap, but it was never crap so bad as that...

 

 

Well I can believe you there, though I guess it depends what you're into. I'm just not into nightclubs and such.

I'm not really into "clubs" per se. I prefer cool laid back spots playing good music OR theatres and venues that bring in producers and bands. Tends to be a more mature scene not based around bottle poppin and snobbery.

 

14 hours ago, alderhill said:

 

 

What does your gf think? Is she a local?

 

 

She's from the Black Forest and very much dislikes Bamberg for many of the same reasons. 

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8 hours ago, snowingagain said:

 

Yep, owning a car is essential for a meaningful happy existence.

I'm sure this is sarcasm. Nonetheless, I have to have a car here otherwise I'd have to live in the city I work in which is MUCH smaller and would have drove me even crazier. I would prefer not to have a car but it's been a necessity. 

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You don't need to justify your opinion about living in Bamberg...I think it's pretty funny that those questioning your experience don't seem to live there :)

 

Uni towns are often sucky and incredibly boring if you're not in uni yourself.  I know a woman (German) who attended uni there and even she shudders at the mention of the place as she absolutely hated it. It's valid enough that you just don't like it, but it's too bad your whole living in Germany experience has been limited by that.

 

Such is life. 

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We have to live with our own decisions. There are a handful of cities in Germany that offer the lifestyle you crave - in Bavaria that city is Munich, not Bamberg. So move here. You’ll very likely have no problems finding an equivalent job. You’ll obviously pay more rent, but that’s literally the price to pay - there’s no use in complaining about it either.

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Interesting thread; I think all of the OPs points are valid. Settling in was probably made harder by being here on a fixed term contract and expecting to leave after it ended. I think to be happy here there needs to be some letting go: accepting that how things are here won't change and learning to find the best in them.

 

It sounds like you've made the most of your time here, learnt more about what gives you a fulfilling life, and ticked some career boxes. As others have said try and enjoy the rest of your time here knowing that in 12 months at least part of you will miss them.

 

I previously did an expat contact in a true shithole of a country: I left hating the place, the climate, the people, everything that reminded me of the place. A few years later I can look back and appreciate that there were things there that I did like and wish I'd spend my last weeks there as a tourist doing those things that I did enjoy.

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2 hours ago, freshtodeath said:

 

I just wanted to make sure I wasn't imagining things, but I for sure only mentioned my car in a negative light. Tickets, parking, and having to travel just to see friends. I never mentioned the type of car or really anything about it in a positive light. I'm really confused how you're jumping to the "flashy" conclusions you keep getting to. Projection maybe? Honestly  I wish I didn't need it here or at home. If it all stems from the "money to spend line" I meant money to spend on entertainment...going out...having fun. 

 

I dunno, you seem to be the car person, not me. I've lived here my entire time without a car and honestly haven't missed it. Maybe only when Ikea shopping, and we have car sharing, it suffices for us. You live in Germany, which has great public transit in busses, trains (even though I love to hate the DB too) and truly extensive bike paths (though I've heard Bavaria is less good as the rest of the country in this regard). Perhaps American car culture is just so engrained in you it's hard to imagine living without a car, but Germany it couldn't be easier. If it's causing you hassle, ditch it already, problem solved.

 

2 hours ago, freshtodeath said:

I'm not really into "clubs" per se. I prefer cool laid back spots playing good music OR theatres and venues that bring in producers and bands. Tends to be a more mature scene not based around bottle poppin and snobbery.

 

I don't know Bamberg at all, just a 12ish hour in-and-out conference and then a nice dinner with good beer as I recall. But yes it is small. As already mentioned, you'd probably enjoy a bigger city. It's not just you're in Germany, but you're in a small town in Germany, in a corner known for being more insular at that.

 

When I first came to Germany, I left a city of 3ish million, one of the more diverse in North America, to a pretty lily white provincial student city (Münster) of 250k. It has a reputation as being somewhat snobby and preppy, which is somewhat true, though it has a very healthy alternative underbelly and lots of student life, so that was the saving grace. Still, it took a lot of getting used to. I don't live there anymore and do miss it now and then. I met my wife there and we return for visits when we can.

 

2 hours ago, freshtodeath said:

She's from the Black Forest and very much dislikes Bamberg for many of the same reasons. 

 

My wife is from Freiburg, so it's my second home in Germany. I know the Black Forest quite well and it's very small towns (while often picturesque) cannot be better than Bamberg for nightlife... Unless you mean outside the Black Forest proper, like Pforzheim, Freiburg, Baden-Baden, Rottweil, Stuttgart, etc.

 

Anyway, not sure what more to say here. Two years isn't much, but the problem is as much mental as Bamberg itself, though I'm sure you don't want to hear that. 

 

Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison.

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2 hours ago, lisa13 said:

Uni towns are often sucky and incredibly boring if you're not in uni yourself.

 

As a blanket statement, I have to strongly disagree based on my own experiences. It really depends where you are. Some probably do suck when you're not a student, but others are vibrant enough in their own right, depending on what they have to offer and what your interests are.

 

Bamberg is maybe just one of those that is too small, isolated, and Bavarian (err... Fränkisch).

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46 minutes ago, alderhill said:

Some probably do suck when you're not a student, but others are vibrant enough in their own right, depending on what they have to offer and what your interests are.

Konstanz is a lovely Uni city.  

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1 hour ago, alderhill said:

 

Anyway, not sure what more to say here.

 

how about nothing?  I don't think anyone is looking to you, specifically, for guidance.  Especially not when your responses are tone deaf, not to mention ignorantly biased. 

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1 hour ago, alderhill said:

Bamberg is maybe just one of those that is too small, isolated, and Bavarian (err... Fränkisch).

 

Bamberg is no way "isolated" There's an ICE train 3 hours to Berlin and there's frequent trains to Wurzberg, Nurnberg, and direct to Frankfurt. It's 2 hours from Munich. How do you consider Bamberg to be "isolated"? 

 

Regarding too small, too small how? Are you referring to population or geographical area? 

 

 

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4 hours ago, lisa13 said:

how about nothing?

 

This is a public forum and you can also take your own advice.

 

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I don't think anyone is looking to you, specifically, for guidance. 

 

Duh, or they would have tagged me. This is a public forum. Are you upset that someone had the audacity to disagree with you? Or did someone piss in your müsli this morning? 

 

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Especially not when your responses are tone deaf, not to mention ignorantly biased. 

Ignorantly biased? lol, that's rich coming from the woman who said university cities suck.

 

4 hours ago, Lavender Rain said:

Bamberg is no way "isolated" There's an ICE train 3 hours to Berlin and there's frequent trains to Wurzberg, Nurnberg, and direct to Frankfurt. It's 2 hours from Munich. How do you consider Bamberg to be "isolated"? 

 

I personally don't think so either, but I'd hazard a guess OP seems to by how dull he finds it. Why don't you ask him?

 

That's one of the nice things about small towns here: you're never that far away from somewhere bigger for a days/weekends escape. I mentioned this point earlier.

 

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Regarding too small, too small how?

 

From the OP's perspective, of course. Did you read the thread?

 

As I said from my first post ITT, different people like different things.

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In my opinion, it has more to do with whether one is an introvert or extrovert rather than age.  I could not imagine living in a city with all of the stress and noise and the idea of going to a concert appeals to me like going for a root canal. I am happy in a much smaller town than Bamberg.   But that is because I am an introvert.

 

Some countries (and towns) seem more geared to extroverts, like the US, and others geared toward introverts, like Finland.  How do you tell if a Finn likes you?  He stares at YOUR shoes when talking to you.  Germany (and Bamberg) is somewhere in between.

 

There is nothing wrong with being an introvert or an extrovert.  It is just important to realize what you are and adjust your life accordingly.  Bamberg is a bad fit for the OP which seems hard to believe for people like me but I am not going to judge him.  To each his own. 

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My personal favourite post of the day, Brad! I love also your Finland joke!

💋💋💋

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