Many ask me why I "emigrated" from Germany to Florida. A totally legitimate question, however, I find the word "emigrate" unsuitable. I never liked it. It sounds so final, and somehow also negative as if I could not or would not want to return. I have not turned my back on the country where I was born.
Recently, I had the rare opportunity to spend almost a month in Germany, seeing my family and meeting friends I have not seen for months or years. I had a great time, ate too much food, and shared awesome stories. Germany is my home, even though my roots are in Florida. This extended visit in Germany reminded me of the things I miss most about living in Germany.
Family & Friends
Pretty obvious, but I felt that this had to be the first item that I mention. I miss sitting in a beer garden and exchanging stories with old friends from my younger years. If you live across the Atlantic ocean, events in your hometown that you would like to take part in are always connected with booking a flight, spending money and spending already limited vacation time. Of course, I try to be at important events, but sometimes it does not work. However, it has been easier to stay in contact than I thought it would be years ago when I left Germany. Today’s technology with video chat and text messages makes them feel closer than they really are. If this would be the 1970’s with letters and expensive phone calls, it would be a lot harder for me to keep close contact.
The long evenings with a late sunset are for me the epitome of summer in Germany. It is only after 10pm that the sun begins to set. In Florida we have only about 30 minutes from sunset to total darkness. Too bad.
Nutella is available in many countries all over the world, also in Florida. But the problem is it tastes different here than in Germany, and that is not imagined. Ferrero, the producer of Nutella, uses a recipe in Germany that is different from that is sold in Italy or the United States: more solid, less sugar, with more cocoa. While the ingredient lists are comparable, they are not the same. Most notably the German version of Nutella uses vegetable oil and the American version uses palm oil, resulting in a more runny, oily texture in the latter.
The tap water in the United States, especially Florida, is much more chlorinated-tasting than the tap water in Germany. I avoid drinking tap water as much as possible and order bottled water at restaurants, even though it costs me every time. But even after more than 11 years with the Florida tap water, I still cringe when I encounter water with a chlorine taste.
Going Fast on the Autobahn
Sunday mornings in Germany, when most people are in bed or in church, is the best time to set your turn signal and move all the way over into the left lane. As an added bonus, many trucks are prohibited from driving on Sundays, which leads to less congestion and open lanes. German drivers are very disciplined when it comes to using the left lane for passing or going fast only. Slower traffic stays to the right, at least most of the time, which cuts down on having to break for a left-lane-lurker every few miles.
I miss those long, gray winter days when you do not want to leave the house. At some point you really miss the cold days if you have hot and humid weather for a long time. There is nothing better than to stay on the sofa, look at the snow from a warm room, while sipping a hot tea or coffee. Even better if it is your day off and you have nowhere to be.
What do you miss most about Germany? Let us know in the comments below.
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