Germanify me, baby!

by Christina Geyer on August 18, 2007 · 16 comments

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Rainer is on his way to München right now to pick up my aunt, who is currently on her way from LA, so Oliver will be meeting his first extended family member today! She’s staying with us for the next two weeks, so that should be fun. It’s too bad that we don’t live anywhere near any of our relatives. Rainer’s family is way on the other side of Germany; we’ll be making a tour of their homes in late September. And finally, Oliver will be meeting the rest of my family over Christmas. I’m excited to go back for a visit, but what I am most proud of is that I didn’t ask my aunt to bring me any food! I would say that I asked her not to bring anything, but it’s not exactly true, since I asked her to get me a can opener – one of the ones that punches holes in cans. The ones I’ve seen in the stores here are too small for using on condensed milk cans, it takes forever to pour the milk. I’m sure you can get the bigger ones here, but she was coming anyway and I didn’t feel like doing a search. Oh, almost forgot, she’s bringing a couple swaddling blankets I ordered and had shipped to her to save on the international shipping charge too. But I guess I’ve managed one more step towards Germanification. So, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Anyways, gotta go put sheets on the futon. Peace out!

  • Rositta

    I always bring stuff home from Germany when I visit there. This time I will buy those nice big square feather pillows. I’ll get them in my luggage somehow. Funny what people miss, I’m bringing cornmeal,barley and tootsie roll candy for a blogger I’m meeting in Athens. She didn’t ask but I gathered those are the things she misses most…ciao

  • O-Tay

    Enjoy your aunt’s visit… I’m sure it’ll be fun to show off that handsome little man of yours!

    Let me know when you have time to get together.

  • Maria

    It is amazing what you miss versus forget. I miss more things from Europe than the US…but a month or so in either place, and I am good to go.

  • Nick

    I enjoy your site, I also live in Germany and have my own blog

  • Sarah

    Good for you on the transitioning. We’ve managed to pare down our list of smugglables from the U.S. considerably, but there are some things (green chiles for Mexican food, mens’ stick deodorant, DVD sets of TV shows) that just make life so much more pleasant.

    Have fun with your aunt!

  • Anonymous

    How small this world is. My daughter just left us, with the most important thing being room in her suitcase for green chilis for Mexican food recipes. Green chilis really do make this world so much more pleasant. To the exppats out there, is it really possible to leave life in the US and live in Germany forever and be happy? Make no mistake, I do get it, the charm etc., but when does that, and does it, overtake the closeness of family. Just looking for some insight here. Pam

  • Haddock

    About the only thing I have sent from the UK nowadays is teabags (German black tea is ok but not up to British standards :) ). I can get English teabags in Germany but they are expensive :)

  • pinayexpat

    where did you buy condensed milk?!

  • barbara

    Hi Christina,
    Hey, that’s great that your Aunt will be visiting. It is really nice when families of expats make the trip over.
    I hope she has a good trip !
    Yes, all expats can relate in your feelings.

    When you live in a place for a long time, and you feel good, you “adopt” this second place.
    I do believe that I have blended into France on my side.But as Pam asks in the previous post “when does that overtake the closeness of family ?”
    Questions that often have hard answers.

    You have a nice day

  • ChristinaG

    @rositta: Get a Space Bag. You just suck all the air out of the bag and the pillows will be easy to pack then! (I used this method when I wanted to bring some US style pillows over several years ago).

    @o-tay: Thanks, I’ll do that!

    @maria: I was so homesick for the States when I first moved here, but now, if I stay longer than a month in the US, I’m usually dying to get back to Germany.

    @nick: Thanks, I’ll check out your site!

    @sarah: I guess I’m lucky that I don’t cook Mexican much. I like eating Mexican food, but when it comes to cooking, I’d rather make Thai 😉

    @pam: I think it is really an individual thing. Some people adjust to the distance easily, some never do. I was pretty close to my family, and I guess it took about 3 years before I really felt happy in Germany. I was miserable for much of my first year here. Now I expect that we’ll be living here forever and that’s okay with me.

    @haddock: I’ve heard a lot of Brits import tea. I’ve got a question about tea – does it make a difference which order you put the tea and the water in the cup? I’ve heard the correct way is to pour the hot water over the tea bag, but is it really better than just adding a tea bag to a cup of hot water?

    @pinayexpat: You can sometimes get Eagle Brand at the Asian supermarkets, or there is Nestle Milchmädchen in the same aisle as evaporated milk in the German supermarkets. It’s nearly as good as Eagle Brand.

    @barbara: Hi there! Just wondering, how long did it take you till you felt happy in France? You take care as well!

  • barbara

    Hi Christina,
    Hi :)
    Just answering your question…
    The first 2 years were exciting but trying. I did speak the language, but I didn’t quite have the fluency and ear yet.
    Then, it was hard getting to know “how things work”.
    But, I can say after the first 5 years here, I was comfortable, and enjoying the greater part of it ( there are alwys thing one doesn’t like !
    Have a nice day 😉

  • ChristinaG

    @barbara: Thanks for sharing your experience! I think no matter where in the world one is, there is always something to dislike 😉

  • vailian

    You can get the English teabags in bulk at the Indian shops (I buy the 300 bag size); they are cheaper there than in England!

    I am like you… I feel homesick sometimes but when i am in America for a couple of weeks I miss Germany. guess that means I am assimilated.

  • Matt

    What on earth is a swaddling blanket?

  • Sarah


    I’ve always known somehow that I wouldn’t live in my hometown forever. It’s a nice place and I like it, but I’ve always had a sense of wanderlust. Plus, my hometown and my husband’s are pretty far apart, so living near one would be depriving the other. When we do go to visit family, we’re ready to come home to Germany after about a week.

  • ChristinaG

    @vailian: I think at some point, you’ve got to assimilate or move. Otherwise you’ll just be miserable! :)

    @matt: A swaddling blanket is a small square blanket used for wrapping up a baby so it can’t move around too much. They’re pretty common in the US and the UK, but Germany doesn’t seem to be a “swaddling” country. Must be an Anglo-Saxon thing.

    @sarah: Thanks for the comment. I’m like you, but usually it takes at least two weeks before I’m homesick for Germany 😉

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