A question for all you long-timers:

72 posts in this topic

Hi Everyone,

 

I'm coming up on the 10th year of my 3-year Germany plan, and was wondering how you other long-time expats here feel about your situation.

 

Which direction are your feelings of home trending?  Has Germany become your home, or do you still see yourself returning to your home country at some point?

 

 

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I didn't come here with a plan so it's all good.  I had a case of itchy feet a few years ago but not itchy anymore at the moment.  I am staying here for the time being.  Not considering going home for good at all.  If I go it'll be somewhere else.

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I'm in the same situation. On the 8th year of my 3 year plan.

Most likely will move to another country. Definitely will move back home for retirement. Germany has a lot of great things, but it's not home.

I don't mind the weather, but food is crap and Germans in general don't want us here.

For me the most surprising thing was how much small things like quality of food can have such a hard impact.

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I am finding myself on the other side of this situation. I came here 2 years ago with no intention of leaving, but the worldwide debacle that is ongoing has shaken my faith that Germany is the place for me permanently.

 

I know that I can always go back to the US and live peacefully in the middle of nowhere, but that would be a last resort. I guess I will see how things unfold, but at the moment I am only about 60% confident that I will remain here long-term.

 

As for "home" feeling, I don't feel particularly strongly about any country. I can pack everything important to me in a backpack and be "at home" anywhere.

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Going back the the US isn't an option at this point. The health insurance and health care costs would eat me alive.

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I'm on year 31 of my 3-year plan.

 

This is my home. I'm not going anywhere.

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There *is* Medicare (mostly for those above 65), but there are a lot of copays. A lot.

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I didn't come here with any plan other than 'if you can't get a good job at some point go home'.

As luck would have it all my jobs (apart the first mini or midi on 440 a month to get health insurance) have all been better than I would have got back where I am from or where I studied. 

If I could get something back in those areas I would have to swap trams, buses and s-bahns for buses ran by at least two companies who don't accept each others tickets. I'd have to go shopping by car, maybe even also to work. I wouldn't able to go 10 minutes in to the woods on my bike and hear nothing but nature.  

I'm not sure there are many areas in the UK that offer this. My home area certainly doesn't.

 

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I would not want to go back to the UK it is simply no longer the place I left, it and the people have undergone massive changes in the many years I have been away. I can see a situation, though, should I outlive my wife, where it could become financially necessary, since I would be entitled to free healthcare as opposed to the expensive private cover I am locked into here.

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5 minutes ago, Metall said:

There *is* Medicare (mostly for those above 65), but there are a lot of copays. A lot.

 

I doubt I would qualify for it as I don't qualify for SS. With Medicare, you need to buy supplemental plans A, B, C, etc. for it to cover anything which still isn't much. The supplements are expensive. I feel secure with what I have here.

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7 minutes ago, keith2011 said:

I would not want to go back to the UK it is simply no longer the place I left, it and the people have undergone massive changes in the many years I have been away. I can see a situation, though, should I outlive my wife, where it could become financially necessary, since I would be entitled to free healthcare as opposed to the expensive private cover I am locked into here.

This would stop me going back to where I am from I think. As you say, big changes (even where I lived in Berlin has changed a lot over the last years), things not the same etc.

 

I wouldn't rule out another area of the UK if I had to,  but I don't have any plans to move back. 

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2 hours ago, HH_Sailor said:

Schleswig Holstein is my home.

Same here - came for 1 year & for "wrong" reason (not a girl)!.  Stayed for the right reason (a girl).

Am into my 38th year (if you don't count the several years of commuting beforehand).  Same girl is still my wife.

Now retired but busy.

 

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Can't imagine a return to the UK at all.

 

For a vacation certainly - my wife always has enjoyed our visits to the UK (except the last experience at Manchester airport).

 

43 minutes ago, keith2011 said:

I would not want to go back to the UK it is simply no longer the place I left, it and the people have undergone massive changes in the many years I have been away.

Quite.

 

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I can see a situation, though, should I outlive my wife, where it could become financially necessary, since I would be entitled to free healthcare as opposed to the expensive private cover I am locked into here.

Similar situation with me so that would be a possibility.

 

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21 years into my 3 years plan. now married to a non-German and with two kids.  Plus I can't continue jumping countries or then I won't have any (decent) pension.  If I manage to get into retirement someday I will probably move to a cheap South Asian country.   But not because I do not like Germany, I ended up liking it here, the low working hours is a bless when you have a family and when you finally learn German language your quality of life improves a lot.   If I didn't learn German language I guess it would be a nightmare. 

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Originally came to Berlin back in 1992, got married here 8 years later. A return to the UK in 2008 to live closer to my elderly parents (since deceased) made it clear to me that I didn't really fit in there any longer, so our eventual return to Berlin in 2015 was for good. 6 years later, we thank the day we made that decision as pretty much everything has turned out for the better. We feel grateful and very much at home here - no more moves for us.

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46 minutes ago, keith2011 said:

I would not want to go back to the UK it is simply no longer the place I left, it and the people have undergone massive changes in the many years I have been away.

 

This.

 

But I may have to, one day. :(

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It definitely depends on your personal situation.

 

For me I can't seem to help getting irritated more and more by the tiny annoyances here.  I know, I really shouldn't - take yoga to mellow out or something.  What started me off on this topic today though was the reaction I got from a customer's neighbour, when I politely asked them to park their car elsewhere on Friday so that we could do some tree maintenance overhead.  Of course, this was a gigantic deal as it always seems to be.  Anything where you put effort into make someone else's life easier, especially a neighbour's (gasp!), is just not cool among the locals it seems.  This may just be a Stuttgart thing though.  

 

An alarming realisation hit me though this spring when my son and I randomly discovered 'Heavy Rescue 401' on Netflix Germany.  It's generally terrible, but we boys enjoyed it for the machinery.  The shocker was that it made me nostalgic for the 401!  That is not a good sign - the very worst thing in Canada outside the Oilsands inspiring feelings of homesickness...

 

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4 hours ago, kapokanadensis said:

Hi Everyone,

 

I'm coming up on the 10th year of my 3-year Germany plan, and was wondering how you other long-time expats here feel about your situation.

 

Which direction are your feelings of home trending?  Has Germany become your home, or do you still see yourself returning to your home country at some point?

 

 

 

I am after over 2 decades of living abroad a "rolling stone", wherever I lay my hat is my home, so to speak.

 

It is a weird kind of feeling, not having a "home", but also liberating. I love my home country but I also enjoy living where I do. I get home sick sometimes, but I feel as long as I am healthy and able to enjoy life, I am happy.

 

I feel settled in Germany.

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8 hours ago, kapokanadensis said:

Of course, this was a gigantic deal as it always seems to be.  Anything where you put effort into make someone else's life easier, especially a neighbour's (gasp!), is just not cool among the locals it seems.  This may just be a Stuttgart thing though. 

 

I don't think that's specific to Stuttgart.  If I had to hazard a guess, I'd think it might have something to do with people being used to giving an inch and having a mile be taken.  I don't think the locals are necessarily intrinsically disinclined to be helpful to people outside their inner circles (though it can sometimes seem that way), I think some people are cautious of being bulldozed as they have been in the past.  A strange phenomenon I have observed many times here, both from the inside and the outside.  It really does seem to be a thing for some people to impose and impose and impose until they are firmly in a dominant position, exploiting the good will of others in order to gain total control of situations.  See: every Nachbarkrieg ever.  I don't think this is a standard German thing but definitely a recurring phenomenon.  Maybe the neighbor is concerned that if they do you all this favor once, they'll be slowly but surely edged out of their parking spot forever.  Or something like that.

On topic: I sorely miss my hometown, but I realize that firstly, it doesn't exist in the form it did when I left, and second, that at least half of what I miss is the era.  Like every generation of humans since the dawn of civilization, I'm convinced that my youth was a simpler and friendlier time and I long for ways of being that are simply no longer existent and/or no longer possible.  Some philosopher somewhere said suffering is caused by holding on to the past or refusing to accept things that have changed, so I do my best to abandon my frilly fantasies of times and places long gone.  Like other Berlin residents my neighborhood has undergone massive changes in the last ten years, which distressed me for a long time (that thing with the hating of the change) but I've learned to roll with the changes a bit more.  I hate my stupid hipster neighborhood sometimes but it is definitely my home--I have lived now in the same complex for 15 years (in two apartments, ten years in the apartment I'm in now) which makes it the longest I have lived anywhere in my life, including the house I grew up in.  As I left the US when I was 23, I've also spent more or less my entire adult life in Germany.  So yeah, it's home. Like anywhere, it's not perfect, but the US is also not much of an option for me and Berlin is definitely home, which I notice most acutely when I return here from anywhere else.

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My husband and I moved to Stuttgart in 2014 because he left the Army and needed a job.  We had wanted to come to Germany anyway, because when he was here with the Army, we had to leave a year early.  But it also turned out Germany was the only place to give him a solid offer when he really needed one. 
 

I never thought we’d still be here 7 years later, having moved to Wiesbaden.  

 

I do like it here...  it’s not home, and there are times when I miss being in the US.  On other other hand, there is still a lot to love about being here instead of there.  For one thing, I missed the entire Trump presidency.  I also think I prefer the way COVID has been handled.

 

We still have a lot of stuff in storage in Texas, which is where I know I won’t be wanting to live when we do move on...  but my husband has been talking about retiring over here... maybe in Italy or Spain.  I’m game.  My career never took off, and I don’t have kids... and his kids barely know me.  My family is full of right wing Christians and I don’t relate to most of them anymore.

 

We’ll see what happens.

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