Top 40 Reasons You Know You’re an American Living in Germany

After living in Germany for over three years now there are some things that let you know that you’ve completely settled into your new environment. While we’re all human, Germans tend to do some things just a little bit differently than Americans.

Here’s my top 40 reasons how you’ll know you’re an American living in Germany, in no particular order:

1. You now squeal with delight and say “Tschussie” instead of goodbye.

2. You can go an entire meal off of one sip of still water.

3. You know the difference between “still water” and “water mit gas”.

4. You crave mayo with french fries instead of ketchup.

5. You no longer need Google Translate to read a menu.

6. You carry multiple reusable bags with you no matter where you go.

7. Your favorite sit down restaurants and open-air cafes are now considered your “fast food”.

8. Driving to Amsterdam or Prague is considered a day trip or a cheap weekend getaway.

9. You know to do all your errands on Saturday because nothing will be open on Sunday.

10. You can endure more than 20k steps on any given day, easily.

11. You know you’ll have to seek out and wave down your waiter if you want to pay the bill.

12. You’ve learned to eat slowly and enjoy the restaurant experience without feeling rushed.

13. You think Hershey’s chocolate tastes a little tart now.

14. You look forward to every single fest.

15. You know what “pork chop on a stick” is.

16. You forgot what a garbage disposal was.

17. You don’t expect ice in your drinks anymore.

18. You have to choose between two buttons to flush the toilet.

19. You know to always carry coins with you if you want to use the restroom in public.

20. You shop mostly at Ikea for your home furnishing and organizing needs.

21. You no longer laugh at the word “ausfahrt”.

22. You have more souvenirs than you know what to do with.

23. You plan all your driving routes around ESSO stations.

24. You forgot what it’s like to “pay at the pump”.

25. You know better to use the crosswalk and wait for the little green man.

26. You call the United States “the States”.

27. You eat gelato no matter what season it is.

28. You look forward to Christmas Market season.

29. You know the perfect place to buy fresh flowers.

30. You say “hallo” or “guten morgan” when you see people instead of “hello” or “good morning”.

31. You can find round trip flights for a family of five to Dublin for under 500 euros.

32. You’re a recycling professional now.

33. You know where to find the best döner kebabs in town.

34. You have a trip planned to another country for every three day weekend.

36. You think rolladens are the best invention ever.

37. You are no longer shocked that beer is cheaper than a glass of water.

38. Your windows are open all year round, and you’re a pro at tilting them opened.

39. You know how to survive summers without air conditioning.

40. Your kids scream silly little things like, “but I don’t want to go to Paris again!”.

Frühstück in Germany

Frühstück may sound like a challenging word but it simply means “breakfast” in German.

Frühstück here in Germany isn’t quite like your traditional American breakfast but that’s okay because it’s pretty darn delicious!! 😋

On this particular day, I decided to order the “pancakes” at which point the waitress decided to kindly warn me that, “it would not be like you would expect, it’s more like grandmother made them.”

Well, I’m not sure whose grandma made these “pancakes” but I sure would love to have her in my life!

These were absolutely delightful and paired very well with the dreamy, creamy vanilla sauce that accompanied it. They almost reminded me of a crepe, except these were a little bit thicker and a tiny bit fluffier. *drool*🤤

Lets also note that the perfect amount of powered sugar sprinkled delicately on top of the freshest fruit truly brought this breakfast up a notch. Pretty sure I’m going to start doing this at home to dress up all my meals. 😉

The french toast was incredibly delicious, too. They almost tasted like a fried funnel cake except these had a yummy raspberry jam surprise inside. 🥰

My heart is happy. ❤️

5 Things I Love About Eating Out In Europe

While there are many things that I love (and have grown to love) about living in Europe, today I’m going to talk about five things that I truly enjoy about dining out here in Germany.

Let’s just get straight to it, shall we?

 

5 Things I Love About Eating Out In Europe

 

1. Fine Dining.

Every dining experience is a “fine dining” experience whether you’re eating a burger and fries or an exquisite delicacy from a top rated restaurant. The food is always fresh and the presentation is always stunning. It’s as if they are backstage practicing diligently and precisely how to gracefully glide each plate out of their angelic little hands like a delicate ballerina in a performance of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Not only that, but they present it to you as if it is such a gift to be able to serve you with the most exquisite dining materials. Plates, bowls and knives, oh my! Oh, and their mesmerizing, exotic, deep heavy accents only add to the beauty of the presentation that they display before you. “Madam, here is this fine plate that you shall be eating off of tonight, it is paired elegantly with the fork and the knife so that you have a plethora of options as you dine on your delicious feast this evening. Please enjoy every morsel and dream of me as I twirl away to the exit music that will begin to play as I drift away slowly to the next table.”

At least that’s how it mostly goes in my head. 😉

2. Open-Air Cafes.

Almost every single restaurant has the option to eat outside and the scenery is always breathtaking. Eating outside isn’t just “eating outside” it’s much, much more than that. It’s as if you’re sitting in a magical fairy-tale garden as the wind gently kisses your face all whilst the smell of freshly baked breads and perfectly aged wines dance around you. Not only this but gargoyles and cherubs sit closely nearby, nestled tightly on each massive towering building, admiring you as you dine. Just knowing that they are there, existing, as you fill your belly, brings comfort and joy to your soul.

3. Dog Friendly (and I don’t even have a dog).

There’s no better feeling than having a furry companion by your side as you enjoy a comforting meal made by someone else’s hand, even if it’s not yours! I’ve not only seen dogs outside of the cafes snuggled quietly near their owner’s feet, but I’ve also seen dogs inside some restaurants (be sure to call ahead), sitting obediently and patiently while their owners happily mingle and dine. It’s quite the sight to see. The server immediately offers to bring a bowl of fresh water and always seems genuinely concerned about the pups overall well being. It’s truly heartwarming to see. There’s also just something about having an animal nearby, something calming and therapeutic simply hovers in the air around you. It just makes the room so much more cuddly and cozy.

4. No Small Talk.

This was something that I gradually learned to love the more times I went out to eat here in Germany. The waitress couldn’t care any less about how you feel about the weather, how many children you have or don’t have, or what kind of church you go to or don’t go to. Germans believe in relaxing and enjoying a meal without any disruptions, so you’ll never find the waitress hovering over you or coming back to check on you way too many times with a handful of small talk ready to go each time. You could be in a restaurant at the same table for over five hours and no one would bat an eyelash. As long as you’re enjoying your meal and having a good time, that’s all that truly matters. Now on the flip side, if you’re in a hurry, be sure to learn the subtle art of flagging down your waiter because otherwise you’ll be sitting there for a lifetime waiting for your bill. The majority of the time, however, I’m not in a hurry and it’s so relaxing and refreshing to know that we aren’t going to be timed and hurried out of the room simply because it’s the rush hour.

5. Tipping For Smiles.

No matter what I tip, from my experiences anyway, the waiter or waitress is always overly thankful and grateful for my generosity. So overly thankful, in fact, that it always feels like they are giving me an acceptance speech as if I’ve handed them an Oscar for their award winning performance. Tipping really isn’t a big thing here in Europe because the wait staff is paid well for their service. In the States, it’s quite the opposite and so waiters and waitresses rely heavily on their customer’s tips. However, here in Germany, it doesn’t matter if I give one euro or five, the server is always incredibly satisfied with my generosity and has always thanked me graciously for anything extra that I add to the bill. Even though it’s not custom here to tip generously, I always tip my waiter at least 15-20% because I am so very grateful for their time.

So there you have it, my top five things that I love about my dining experiences here in Europe. Enjoy the photos below of some of the meals I’ve thoroughly enjoyed while living here in Germany.

Until next time,

Tschüss!🖤

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A little pizza restaurant in Wiesbaden. Those olives, I dream about (and I don’t even like olives).
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Cafe and Bar Celona downtown Nuremberg, Germany.
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A restaurant down in Rudesheim am Rhein. The yogurt dressing is so mouth watering delicious.
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Little Italy, downtown Wiesbaden. The most heavenly Gorgonzola gnocchi ever plated.
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One of the best schnitzel’s I’ve had since moving to Germany.
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One of my favorite meals at Brauhaus Castel in Wiesbaden. There’s a baked potato in there somewhere.

Traveling Made Easy

One of the greatest perks about living abroad is that you can pretty much travel (mostly) anywhere you’d like, on the cheap.✈️😃

Back in October, I booked a flight AND a hotel from Frankfurt to London for under 300 euro for an entire four day weekend. 🤗🙏

What!? 😍

Yup.😎🤩

In less than four hours, we could drive to Paris or Brussels. Prague, less than six, and in less than twelve, we could be in Italy! 😍

As a matter of fact, I could have driven to London myself in under eight if I really wanted to. 👩🚗❤ (Yes, there’s a ferry involved.) 🚢👀

We seriously have so many (affordable) options. 💛

Fortunately for us, flights are pretty cheap too so we don’t have to drive everywhere if we really don’t want to. 👍

Oh, and lets not forget to mention all our options with the train. 🚂😃

So I guess my point is, if you ever have the opportunity to live abroad for a few years, you should oh so totally do it. 😍😬👍🙌

Anyway, check out a couple plane pics from my last trip to London (more photos coming soon). 😘

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Sunset in London

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I named him Harry. Of course.

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Canstatter Volksfest

The Canstatter Volksfest is our favorite favorite favorite fest here in Germany.❤ It’s located in Stuttgart and is considered the SECOND largest fest in Germany, with Munich coming in first.

Can you believe the very first Canstatter Volksfest was held in the year 1818!?

I love all the fests here in Germany but this one, so far, is my absolute favorite. 😍 My second favorite would probably be the Wilhelmstraßenfest (click here to read my post about it) but again, it’s so so sooooo hard to choose.

Fests here in Germany are absolutely incredible. This particular fest has every kind of carnival ride you could ever imagine, including a haunted house and even a fun house. I think one of the biggest differences we have noticed with the carnival rides here (other than the fact that they are absolutely WILD, CRAZY, and FUN), is that there seems to be no safety gates or guidelines like we are used to in the states. For example, with the bumper cars, everyone kind of just runs right up to the little cars from all sides, as if it was first come first serve. Once we saw a man jump straight onto the back of a car while the ride was in motion from the sidelines. It should be noted that no one got hurt and everyone had an amazing time, because that’s just how they do here in Germany. 😉😁

Another thing that we have noticed is that the graphics and cartoons drawn on the rides are often a little explicit and not censored, not even a little bit (see photos below). When we first moved here, this was quite shocking, but now, we are completely used to it. 😆😅

But anyway, let’s not forget the MAIN reason I go to all these fests in the first place, for all the incredible foods and sweet treats. 🤤😍

They sell these yummy little pork chop sandwiches on the freshest brotchen ever and I look for them any time I see food stands out. I seriously act like a kid in a candy store whenever I see them. 😵🤪🤑🤩 OH! and my newest favorite thing is fresh hot pommes frites covered in MAYO. 😍 They are OMGeee YUUUUM. I also look for anything smothered in Nutella, especially fresh off the griddle crepes and waffles. 🤤🤤🤤🤤🤪

Check out the slideshow below for my 2017-2018 Canstatter Volksfest highlights. 🤗

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Adventskalenders

Beer Advent Calendars. What more can I say? It’s exactly what you think it is. I don’t even drink but these are kinda cool, huh? Adventskalendars are EVERYWHERE here in Germany. It doesn’t just stop at beer either. They have mini liquor bottle Advent Calendars, wine, tea, and even Coca Cola. I’ve even seen Advent Calendars for pets, cosmetics, toys, perfume and of course chocolates! You name it, they probably sell it.

Click through the slideshow to see more. 😁

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The Hottest Summer Ever

A few months ago, my very first post actually, I mentioned that we hadn’t yet experienced a summer here in Germany and that I was a little apprehensive about it simply due to the fact that Germany is the land of no air conditioning.

Well, here we are in August and I can definitely say that the summer heat is in full effect. So full in effect, in fact, that we are effectively sweating to death.

From what I hear, Germany has never really had hot summers up until a year or so ago (lucky us) which is why they never really had the need for air conditioning. Germany is also very conscious about the energy they consume so that’s the other reason for the lack of air conditioning.

In our current living situation, we are not allowed to install air conditioners or ceiling fans but we are allowed to have floor fans (you know, the kind that just blow around hot air).

Most houses here in Germany have these cool little blackout shutters that roll down with a tap of a button and they are connected to the outside of the window rather than from the inside, called rolladens. The hotel we stayed in when we first moved here had them and we thought they were the coolest things since sliced bread. Unfortunately though, our current apartment does not have this luxury.

We are responsible for hanging our own blackout curtains, which would be fine but there are also no curtain rods installed in our particular apartment and instead we have these little clips on a track system that pinch the top of the curtains to keep them in place. Well, if I haven’t mentioned that we own a cat, we do. Frankie, while adorable and sweet, thoroughly enjoys pulling the curtains down from said clips and watching me scream in horror when I have to run over and reinstall them. Ah, the joys of pethood.

Over the past several months, I’ve learned to gorilla glue the curtains to the clips, the clips are replaceable as they just slide into a track so when we move I will have to toss the curtains with the clips and put in new clips. Hooray.

Anyway, enough Frankie shenanigans.

So, now it’s time to tell you some fun and entertaining facts that I’ve learned about living through the summer here in Germany with no air conditioning.

1. (THE most important fact) We can’t keep chocolate in the house. No matter what, it melts. As a matter of fact, grocery stores here (not all have air conditioning) are all complaining that their chocolate has all melted. I know this to be true because I tried to buy myself a Ritter Sport chocolate bar a couple weeks ago and it practically mushed in between my fingers. So anyway, we buy the half melted chocolate and keep it in the fridge. On a positive note, we eat a ton of popsicles and frozen Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups now.

2. You can’t use the oven on exceptionally hot days, or the stove for that matter. It’s amazing just how many kitchen appliances give off a tremendous amount of heat. You’d be surprised at how much heat the dishwasher and refrigerator give off. I know I was. I’ve tried cooking with low-heat solutions, such as the electric griddle or an air fryer and each one (surprisingly) gives off an incredible amount of heat. Once the kitchen heats up, it’s hard to cool the rest of the house down (as if it was cool in the first place.. ha!) I’ve tried desperately to hunt down low cook or no cook meals and the options are few and far between. I will say that the crockpot and the microwave, while they do give off a bit of heat, they are the better choices in this scenario. Also, we’ve caved in and started eating out more because, well, that’s just way easier.

3. The autobahn (interstate) is literally cracking under the heat. We have been told to drive cautiously because the road has been buckling under extreme temperatures, which for here I was told is anything above 86 degrees fahrenheit. I know that that doesn’t sound too hot but Germany really hasn’t got much experience with temperatures much higher than that. Present day, so far the hottest day was about 97. I think Tuesday we will have another 97/98 degrees day and I’m not looking forward to it. It’s hot everyday but those particular days we have to keep calm and often try to stay outside of the house and look for the rare buildings that actually do have air conditioning. Hello, IKEA.

4. You learn to co-sleep in the same room. We have all the fans (so far we have obtained about 7) plus a (super secret) portable air conditioning unit installed in the back room of our apartment, and we’ve all learned to sleep back there in order to survive the summer. Nothing says “family bonding” like having a family of five hovering over a single portable air conditioning unit (that doesn’t even work very well) just to get a decent night’s sleep.

5. All the portable air conditioning units and floor fans are sold out everywhere here in Germany at the moment. We went to try to buy another air conditioning unit and more fans and we couldn’t find any! So much for super secret. Ha. The employees just gave us a laugh and head shake when we ask if they had any in stock.

6. Not all restaurants, stores, hotels here have air conditioning, so there’s literally not many places to escape. We ate dinner at a restaurant a couple days ago and I ordered a brick oven pizza. I was already sweating in my chair and when my pizza came out all I could think about was the hot steam flying off my plate and how it was heating up my personal space even more. I almost couldn’t even finish my food because I was so hot. I also totally regretted not ordering something cold, like a salad or some ice cream.

7. Speaking of ice, Germany doesn’t really care for it. So, when we do escape the kitchen for a meal cooked by someone else’s hand, the drink that accompanies it is cool for a few minutes and then warm thereafter thanks to the heat. So no refreshingly cold drinks unless we purchase a bag of ice and make it ourselves… Sonic, we miss you. Also worth noting, our refrigerator/freezer is so small that we can’t fit any sort of bagged ice in it, so it melts in a floor cooler after the first night.

8. Summers here in Germany make you REALLY miss America. They also make you appreciate every single little thing that the United States has spoiled us with. Air conditioning and ice being the top two luxuries on our list at present time (obviously).

9. We’re all grumpy and irritated due to the intense heat felt in the house. This means, no hugs, no talking, and no eye contact. Seriously, get away from me.

10. We are more aware of our outdoor physical activities (no playing outside until the temps cool off) and have tried instead to just sit still inside in the dark (hot) cave we have created thanks to our (gorilla glued in) black out curtains. The only thing that helps somewhat ease our suffering is the little ride home in the air conditioned car but that is short lived as we typically aren’t allowed to let our cars sit turned on in the parking lot for more than a few minutes (even though we sometimes do). Often, at red lights here, we see cars next to us turn off their vehicles at stop lights. This is also probably the reason why the stoplights turn yellow again before turning green, to allow people time to turn on their cars or to shift gears in preparation for the green light (hardly anyone drives an automatic here). Anyway, I will never again take a cold house full of air conditioning after a long day of being out for granted. We currently get welcomed home by more heat so we are basically forced to take cold showers, stand in front of the fridge longer and pretend we’re looking for something to eat, and then sit perfectly still on the couch, in the dark. Notice I didn’t say “or”. Speaking of showers, we also have to keep the water temperature cooler because the bathroom fogs up quickly with hot steam and it’s miserable stepping out into an insanely hot fogged up room afterward. I’ve even learned to let my hair air-dry (instead of blow drying) because the blow-dryer is literally a death machine in the summer time. Air drying is much healthier for your hair anyway though, so I guess “yay” for healthy hair.

And there you have it, my top ten fun and interesting facts about my summer experience in Germany.

While those are some reasons why summer here (mostly) sucks, I will say that some days are better than others and sometimes at night it gets down to the 70s so we try to open all the windows again to air out the house. I think one of my favorite things about living in Germany is how often we get to open our windows and let in the fresh air. It’s such a wonderful feeling and we get to do so almost all year round.

Also, worth mentioning, in a week or two (fingers crossed), the weather is supposed to drop again and the highs will be low 80s/70s and the lows will be in the 60s/50s. I cannot wait to open all these windows again and feel that wonderful breeze we’ve felt for most of the year. Needless to say, I am very thankful that summers don’t last too long here.

Fall and winter, I’ve never been so excited to embrace you.

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Wilhelmstraßenfest

A couple weeks ago, the Wilhelm Street Festival (also known as the Wilhelmstraßenfest) was held downtown Wiesbaden. It is considered one of the oldest street festivals in Germany and this was the 41st time it was held. Since we had nothing better to do and because we always get excited when we hear the word festival, we decided to go check it out for ourselves.

One of the (many) things I’m going to miss about Germany when we move back to the states in a few years are the amazing festivals that pop up here and there (they tend to never disappoint). The majority of these festivals go ALL out, from adorable little food stands and food trucks to amazing (and sometimes crazy) carnival rides. We always seem to discover a new type of cuisine and we absolutely love when we run into a food stand serving up something delicious that we’ve enjoyed in the past. At just about every one of these festivals, you can also find a variety of shops filled with unique jewelry and trinkets that always seem to enhance our festival experience.

We headed to the festival around noon on Saturday and found hardly any crowds and practically no lines. I wondered for a little bit if going at night would had been a better choice because it was almost 90 degrees outside, however, I had a friend tell me, who opted to go at night, that it was so incredibly crowded that she could barely move. The way the streets light up with all the wonderful sights and sounds makes for a completely different experience at night though. However, the peacefulness of the day time experience makes it really hard to choose which scene is best. So, I think next year, I’ll definitely try to experience both, because why not?

Regardless of the time of day, I definitely can’t wait to go back to next year’s Wilhelm Street Festival.

Click through the slideshow below to see pics.

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