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Thread: Thoughts on life in Germany

  1. #31
    Lakemaker lakemaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WalterK75 View Post
    I encourage you to go. Just being in a different country is an education. In Germany you will be able to visit other countries easily. When there I love being in places and buildings that are several hundred years older than anything in North America. It puts a different perspective on things.
    Walter. I lived in Germany for 2 years while in the military ('73 thru '75). Was stationed in Mannheim and lived in a town where me and the couple that I lived with were the only Americans (Heppenheim... about halfway between Heidelberg and Darmstadt). It was a wonderful experience, and as someone here stated earlier, your kids will benefit a lot from that experience. I encourage you to travel with your family, learn the language, stay away from American enclaves as much as possible, and have a great time there. For me, it was an experience that I will always be greatful for. Best of luck to you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lakemaker View Post
    Walter. I lived in Germany for 2 years while in the military ('73 thru '75). Was stationed in Mannheim and lived in a town where me and the couple that I lived with were the only Americans (Heppenheim... about halfway between Heidelberg and Darmstadt). It was a wonderful experience, and as someone here stated earlier, your kids will benefit a lot from that experience. I encourage you to travel with your family, learn the language, stay away from American enclaves as much as possible, and have a great time there. For me, it was an experience that I will always be greatful for. Best of luck to you.
    Not arguing..merely asking because i do not know. What seems to be the problem with or reason to avoid the American enclaves?

  3. #33
    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 36654 View Post
    Sounds like a fantastic opportunity for everyone in the family.
    Without even reading this entire thread, I will completely and wholeheartedly agree with the above statement. As a civilian, your average opportunity to live abroad is virtually non existent. To pass this up would be , IMO, to deny your children a REALLY great chance to broaden their perspectives and open up their world view.

    Not even counting the motorcycling, there are a thousand excellent reasons to move to Germany for a couple of years.

    As far as I know, the Germans, in general, are very law abiding and inflexible to a large extent when it comes to rules, laws, and the order of things. Some friends were there a couple years ago for an international BSA Rally, and came back laughing about this particular aspect of German culture- having met some of this face to face regarding the Rally itinerary, etc.

    I think you'll find Germany to be very....
    well.... GERMAN. I think Germany is one place which has always had a Nationalist tendency, and has really held onto its sense of self as such.

    Don't laugh. The TV and Internet culture has broadened American influences and trends, in ways and in places you'd never imagine. American fast "food" is one example of something you'll find everywhere- as was mentioned, maybe in Germany you can buy beer at McD's... I know, in Italy, you can get an espresso with your Big Mac. I feel like most of the EU countries have held onto at least some aspects of their individuality- a plus in my book.

    I know here in America, much of the individuality of places has gone extinct- Texas for one example USED to be very Texan... I moved there in the 70s and it was unlike anyplace I'd ever been. Now, not only Texas, but the entire country looks like -IS- the same strip mall. Blindfold yourself, get on a plane and fly to an unknown destination within our borders, get off the plane, and take off the blindfold- aside from the flora or perhaps the accents or weather- you'd be hard pressed to tell exactly where you are. Every single town and city has the same limited number of [obvious] choices for food, shopping, etc. Recently, I was in Marion, VA, looking for a local mom-n-pop place to eat. Well, there IS one. ONE. And it took us a while to find it. I, for one, LIKE individuality in towns, cities, and countries. It's what makes them THEM.

    My point is, I hope you go to Germany and find its German-ness. (rant over)

    As a traveler or tourist, I personally would never consider going to another country and stick to the known or familiar- I prefer to hang out with the locals and this goes especially for the food. There are definite aspects of our own culture you'd want to keep up on, however, as a resident abroad. This should be quite easy, in most places outside the U.S.- especially in a place such as Germany, with a high American Military presence.
    Last edited by bmwrider88; 06-02-2013 at 04:05 PM.
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  4. #34
    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 71243 View Post
    Not arguing..merely asking because i do not know. What seems to be the problem with or reason to avoid the American enclaves?
    To move to Germany- or anywhere else out in the world... And to stick to the American enclaves....
    Might as well move to Cleveland, Omaha, or Peoria. What, then, would be the point of being in Germany?
    (See above post/rant)

    It seems so obvious to go there and not break ties with the American enclaves, but at least, to some extent, immerse oneself in the local culture, flavor, & color.
    Last edited by bmwrider88; 06-02-2013 at 04:06 PM.
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  5. #35
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    Jeff, I'll add one more comment, in encouragement. I mean, I'm excited for you. This means you can post ride reports from EU! (Selfish of me, I know ) let US live and ride vicariously thru you, my man.

    Seriously, tho.

    I was raised as a military kid. To this day, I feel it was really beneficial to move around the country (don't get me wrong- it probably had its downsides as well)... The one regret was never having gotten to live abroad.

    In 1969, my dad was doing time as a War College student at the Naval War College in Newport RI. Afterwards, he put in for overseas transfer. He was granted the position, and pretty much had his choice of duty stations. He wanted to move us to Germany. My mom, a southern girl, who was always freezing at temps below about 78 degrees F, wanted to move us to Hawaii. They had a REALLY big fight- and we moved to Virginia- for the THIRD time! Ironically, many years later, my parents fulfilled her dream, and took a Hawaiian holiday. My Mom? Hated it. Froze the entire time.

    GO. Just do it, man. For you, for your wife, for your children, and FOR US! learn some German, and live among the people outside the American base or enclave. If you all regret it, everyone can blame me.

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  6. #36
    Survivor akbeemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 71243 View Post
    Not arguing..merely asking because i do not know. What seems to be the problem with or reason to avoid the American enclaves?
    I had two tours in Germany. It was not uncommon to see other Americans insulate themselves from the German culture and people. They lived in American housing areas, shopped exclusively in the US commissary and exchange, and when they went out to eat they went to a military club. Often these kind of people were unhappy being in another country and spoke derisively about the German people. In my opinion the experience is much more fulfilling if you live, shop and dine as far away from the US facilities as possible. If you are lucky you may make some German friends and experience things you would never see in the USA.
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  7. #37
    Registered User jeff.ferguson's Avatar
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    Now we're talking! I have been away for the weekend and came home and saw all the replies - thanks everyone! It's funny, because I am at the point now where I basically have convinced myself the move will happen, even though I don't have the job yet! We went up to Ponca State Park in NE Nebraska and I rode while the wife took the kids in the minivan (yes, I said minivan - I'm secure in my manhood). I knew it would be cool and the potential exists for rain, but when I got to Sioux City it started raining hard! So I was cold and wet with another 30 miles to go, and I just thought to myself "this is sort of fun, and I better get used to it, cause it's cold and rainy in Germany". Just so everyone knows, I have lived in Germany as a young man and in Belgium with my first wife -but my current (and last) wife and our kids have never been overseas.


    I really do appreciate all the thoughts and advice. I want to do it, the wife wants to do it, and 3 of my 4 kids want to (middle 7 year old daughter not digging the idea). I'll be sure to let everyone know if I get one of the jobs. And you can rest assured I'll be posting some ride reports. One of the hidden reasons I want to do this is that I know my wife and kids will come back to the US every summer for a few weeks - and that means I get to stay in Europe. What's a man to do with no wife and kids around for a few weeks? Hmmm....I don' know, maybe pack up the 1150 and head to the Bavarian Alps, Stelvio Pass, Switzerland, Austria, or anywhere I damn well please! Finally, another reason I want to go is to buy a new BMW in Germany and have it shipped back to the States.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmwrider88 View Post
    I think you'll find Germany to be very....
    well.... GERMAN. I think Germany is one place which has always had a Nationalist tendency, and has really held onto its sense of self as such.

    .
    One of the biggest stereotypes about Germany.
    Most certainly because of our past and the history of the Nazi regime. Any other country can do certain things to protect and nourish their national pride but only the Germans are being accused of being "nationalists".
    The French uphold their language to an extend that it makes it impossible for a foreigner to even try to speak it. And how about that country where the spectators sing the national anthem before the start of any sports event?

  9. #39
    Registered User argent brick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff.ferguson View Post
    ..... another reason I want to go is to buy a new BMW in Germany and have it shipped back to the States.
    Check into that before you leave. I know that BMW has or used to have a bike program for people touring Europe. It was done through some of the touring agencies. You would book you tour, ride your new beemer during the tour and then bring it home. You would order the bike before hand and it would be built to meet the laws of your country and your preferred options. You don't want to purchase a bike there and then find out that you can't bring it into the US because of smog laws.

    Jump on the chance to live there. Just do it. I was over there in 1974 and would love to go back.I am sure it has changed a lot since then. FWIW, my cousin married a gal from Germany and I ask her if she longs to be back in Europe. No, not at all, was her response. She has been very happy here in North America. Only wants to go back to visit. To each their own.
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  10. #40
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKBEEMER View Post
    It was not uncommon to see other Americans insulate themselves from the German culture and people.
    I think this was from economic necessity.

    That is, the real economy is too expensive for those working for USA government paychecks.

    For one thing, I'm not so certain the average GI's car would be allowed on the road if it were subject to German inspection requirements. When I traveled there in a Military Liaison capacity for my company, we were issued the "coupons" so we could fuel our rental cars at closer to USA-like prices.

    And the Huffington Post looks like a Rush Limbaugh supporter compared to Der Spiegel. Some cultural "necessity," too.

    And, if you want to buy a new car in Germany, you'll have to do it through a USA dealer. There are some programs in Germany for US Military personnel, but you still have to buy a USA-spec car.
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  11. #41
    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EMSimon View Post
    One of the biggest stereotypes about Germany.
    Most certainly because of our past and the history of the Nazi regime. Any other country can do certain things to protect and nourish their national pride but only the Germans are being accused of being "nationalists".
    The French uphold their language to an extend that it makes it impossible for a foreigner to even try to speak it. And how about that country where the spectators sing the national anthem before the start of any sports event?
    No prejudice, slander, or any ill meant by my statement. I assure you that the "past, and history of the Nazi regime" was THE farthest thing from my mind. I honestly do not think that way. I applaud any place that tries to maintain aspects of its individuality and/or uniqueness. Yes, I did use the word "nationalist"... I actually meant it as a GOOD thing.
    I, in no way, meant to cause ill will or offense. If you did take offense to my statement, I sincerely offer my apologies.

    Any way, Jeff- good luck in your efforts to get an assignment over there! If I could go live in Germany, I would- in a heart beat.
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  12. #42
    Fissah! AKThumper's Avatar
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    Ok I need to jump in here as a military spouse, wife of AKBeemer...for some people there is a definite culture shock. And for some that translates into a type of fear...language being the chief barrier. Kids usually have no problems with this and pick up the language quickly. Adults just need to relax and be willing to laugh at themselves when they screw up. Everyone understands a smile and an apology, and it does not matter the language it is delivered in if genuine.
    If given the chance I would go back in a heartbeat. The different opportunities for travel, the museums, the food, the people ....all fantastic! What an education. I hope you and your family take full advantage of this opportunity!
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmwrider88 View Post
    N I, in no way, meant to cause ill will or offense. If you did take offense to my statement, I sincerely offer my apologies.

    .
    No offense taken and no apologies necessary. I just wanted to add another point of view based on your statement. And it is a fact that many (younger) people in Europe feel that the French are more nationalistic than the Germans.

  14. #44
    Registered User 36654's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    That is, the real economy is too expensive for those working for USA government paychecks.
    Not every American in Germany is an enlisted serviceman. US technical and management salaries (even in the GS world) usually exceed those of the Germans. Yes, the cost of living is more expensive, but so is any US metropolitan area versus the rural areas where I live............
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  15. #45
    Out There Somewhere bmwrider88's Avatar
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    I may have an opportunity to go to Germany myself- tho perhaps briefly.

    A friend of mine, whom I know from BritBike.com forum, emailed to ask If I want to fly into Hamburg, and go with him into Sweden for a big old style hot rod meet (A-Bombers Rally) then continue on to Norway for the International BSA rally, 8/3-8/10!

    We would truck bikes along, him with his BSA and me on his 79 Yamaha XT 500. Also we'd plan a stop in Gothenburg to see another mutual buddy.
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