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An American Living in Germany: 10 Things That Standout

American living in Germany

Hello all!

Depending on where you grew up we all have things in life that we consider normal. But have you ever thought about if those things would be normal to someone else from somewhere else? Growing up in America and coming to live in Germany, I have noticed a lot of small and large cultural differences. Here are the ten things that have really stood out to me so far.

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Greetings: Germans say hello (Hallo) and goodbye (Tschüss) a lot.

Water: It seems hard to stay hydrated here because they have a lot of mineral water that is normally sparkling. It tastes so gross! At restaurants, you have to pay for water and it is normally more expensive than beer. At many places, you also have to pay to use the restroom so sometimes we forgo liquids to avoid having to deal with that.

Fast Food:  There is not a whole lot of fast food here. Really, all we have seen is Mcdonalds and even those are few and far between. The one time we spun through the drive through we were super surprised……They have different things on the menu than they do in America. The food is….nicer? They have sweet potato waffle fries, and chicken caesar wraps.

Recycling: Everyone must recycle. Period. It is a really big deal here. All the grocery stores even have machines were you can return your glass bottles. You also have to bring your own bags to bag your groceries!

Driving: Unlike in the states, the police here do not sit around in speed traps all day. Instead, they use high tech little cameras to catch speeders. They are calibrated to the speed limit so any car going even 1k/h over gets flashed and a ticket is sent to you in the mail. Stressful…yes!

Restaurants: Service at restaurants is super duper slow…on purpose! They want people to take their time, enjoy the experience, and enjoy each other. The waiters never check on you because they don’t want to disturb you.

Smoking: So Germany, in general, is a super green county. They have tons of solar power, wind power, and recycling initiatives….BUT smoking is really popular here. You can even smoke in most restaurants. I think they are trying to get people to stop because many cigarette cartons have horribly gorry pictures of what smoking does to different body parts on them.

American living in Germany

Houses: All the houses here are made of concrete which is kinda cool, except internet has a hard time reaching throughout our house. None of the houses have AC either and they all have radiators. To help regulate temperatures and save on energy cost EVERY house has outdoor blinds that you pull open and closed from the inside. Depending on the temperature outside, and where the sun is you are supposed to open them or close them.

American living in Germany

Landscape: The landscape here is BEAUTIFUL! Everywhere you look there are rolling hills of forest, patches of multicolored farmlands and the cutest little villages nestled into each valley.

American living in Germany

Hours of Operation: The typical American store is normally open something like 10-8/9 except maybe on Sundays. Daniel and I are used to spending all day on Saturdays out and about, eating, shopping etc. Not here…..everything closes at super strange hours here. For example, most shops close at 1pm on Saturdays or are closed from 12-2 or 2-5….We really have to find our new Saturday groove!The


Autobahn: So turns out the autobahn is not the wild wild west like everyone thinks. Most of it has speed limits and there is always tons and tons of construction. In the places where there are no speed limits, there is still a recommended speed limit 130k/m or about 80mph. If you decided to go over that and get into an accident (at fault or not) you are in huge trouble…if you didn’t die going that fast in the first place.

American living in Germany

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Week Two in Germany: A Summary

Didn’t catch week one? Click here!

We are about to finish up our second full week living here in Germany! Things are starting to slow down as we have most of the major chores out of the way. This week our big win was that we found a car to buy! Woot woot! We ended up finding a beautiful red Volkswagon Jetta GLI.


We also got our first set of belongings from the states! It had some basic pots, pans, dishes, and towels. We still have about another week to go until our big shipment comes. I can’t wait to have a couch, dining table and to be able to decorate the heck out of this house!

On the fun side of things, we took a trip to Trier which is the oldest city in Germany! We visited the Imperial Roman Bath House, Cathedral of Trier, Karl Marz House, Palacio Eleitoral, Liebfauenkirche and so many shops and restaurants.

American living in Germany

American living in Germany


We also went to Nanstein Castle in Landstuhl which is just 20 minutes away from us!  It definitely got us excited to go see more of the fairytale castles around Germany!


American living in Germany

Can’t wait to discover more of the unique things that make Germany, Germany! What things have you noticed while you’ve been abroad?

Happy travels friends!



P.S. Do you have a PCS coming up? Seriously you need to get a copy of Modern Military Spouse! It is a super duper helpful ebook!

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