2016 was a year of changes for me and yes,today , is my 100 day-mark living as an Expat in Germany.
Last summer,we have successfully touched down & settled in our new ground. We have a decent place to live, a garden of which my daughter is so happy to roll over everyday, a 5- minutes walk and we’re standing in the middle of the woods, with lots of nearby playgrounds and finally living-out our European dreams! I call it European-dream for myself– because this is actually my first time to live in Europe. I tell you, it is so different from being a visiting tourist compared if you are an Expat living here. If you are an Expat -Mama relocating to Bavaria, you should read this for you know that Germany has wonderful pros for raising your kids. Here in Bavaria, it has so many playgrounds for children and the education system is of global competence. Something that I would really love my daughter to have.
So forgive me if I flood my Blog with things that are all new to me. Only with 2 months of preparation, we left Kuwait , sold our furnitures, sent our important stuff to Germany and moved to Bavaria.You can imagine my overwhelmed self when I saw how life is different from Kuwait compared to here. Talking about the efficient public transport system, did I mentioned that its my first time to ride in a German ICE (Deutsch Bahn high speed train ) and my daughter totally loved it?!
Everywhere I look, it’s all new and different for me. Almost everyone is fair & blonde, Deutsch is a strange language in my ears, the amount of sausages, the dark breads, the overwhelming calcium in the water, and who won’t be intrigued with volk musik and festivals? For the first time in my life, I have cycled with a tiny human behind me in two-wheels, and it felt terrifying,at the same time a total new experience for me. Yes, we managed to get home in one piece,safe and sound!
Everyday is a step to slowly integrating into German living. I even managed to learn some German in slow-phase and helping me to stay sane.
Everyone is so comfortable with cycling around as the easiest mode of getting around, to work, to do errands, or just getting active in any time of the day. Where else can you see people who shop in their wooden baskets and carries tons of bottles for recycling?Germans drink more sparkling water than tap water. Yup yup,only in Germany.
I’m happy I can stay out for hours without the soles of my shoes burning. Finally a decent temperature, well at least for now. Ever the air that I breathe is new to me. It felt clean and friendly to my lungs. I love the German way of protecting their environment and keeping everything in order. I haven’t even heard cars honking, only rings from the cyclist! Sorry Kuwait, you’re so fine,I missed the Baklavas and dates, but I had enough of dust storms and honking maniac drivers.
I can’t think of a better way to mark this day but by listing out things I have seen within 100 days of living here..but first, let me tell you first a bit of something about this place called “Bayern “.
Bavaria– is the region in the southeast part of Germany . Close enough to Austria & Switzerland , Czech Republic & France. The largest city in Bavaria is Munich or München ( and also third among most-populated city next to Hamburg & Berlin) and is the center of Beer festival known as ‘Oktoberfest‘. I thought it was just a get-wasted with beer festival but realized that it’s more than that. Excuse my poor mind!
1.Bavaria is Green.
It’s always been my dream to live in a place which have a city vibe & modern and yet with a foremost country-living feel. This is where Bavaria falls into. Ingolstadt is a city surrounded with vast green, it is so verdant that you always have a reason to spend the day outdoors. Historical old towns surrounded with green forests, medieval fortresses, beautiful architecture and lush gardens, you name it, it’s here. From hiking in the or cycling in the forest you can be in cobbled stones within 20 minutes. Bavarians love their nature and enjoy it relentlessly. I felt so close to nature here. I feel lucky that it’s always within my reach.
2.Bavarians love their National costume with pride.
How often did you wear your country’s national costume or dress?
I cannot even recall for myself. Maybe only once, at school loooong time ago!But in Bavaria, it is different. They wear it as often as they drink beer and there’s a sense of pride when they wear their ‘Tracht I’. thought I was still dreaming when I saw men in Lederhosen and pretty women in Dirndl in the crowded streets in Munich and so much more here in Ingolstadt. Before I only saw them in internet and now I see them before my eyes. I need to pinch myself sometimes to be reminded that they were real. I am so surprised by just how strongly the locals kept to their traditions, and just how many walked around wearing traditional Lederhosen looking so comfy, with knee-high socks and alpine hats, on a daily basis. From the young kids to the old ones.
3.Bavaria have Old, historical & beautiful beautiful Churches
I love beautiful architecture and visiting old churches. It has so much history in there and always a great work of art. Here in Bavaria, they have a unique culture, more of being a conservative ones since most are Catholics ( 52%). This explains why they have so many beautiful Baroque, Gothic and Renaissance churches, all in the same place.
4.The best beer in the world is here. The liquid gold from Bavaria.
Even if you’re not a beer-drinker, you’ve got to love the Bavarian’s cozy way of relaxation. Enjoying a mug of beer after a hard day at work is the best form of solace. Biergartens are not only for Beer drinkers but have become an attraction for all ages.Have you heard about Biergarten having a play yard adjacent to it? It’s true.
Bavaria is regarded as a wealthy region, and people tend to take time to enjoy themselves. And the best way to enjoy is to sit in a cozy Biergarten ,to meet with friends, or just have a night out with your partner. It’s a lifestyle. The ‘Reinhetsgebot‘ (or the Bavarian Beer Purity law) which can be traced since 1516 originated in Bavaria. On average, a typical Bavarian consumes from birth to the grave some 150 litres (40 gallons) of beer per year so it’s no surprise that Bavarians are at top of the beer consuming list of states in Germany.
What is the best way to show their undying love for beer? through Oktoberfest and Volksfest of course! In our neighborhood itself, I found 3-4 Biergartens.
5.Bavaria is the birthplace of many innovations, famous people and events.
There is so many things that can be associated with Bavaria. Just like everyone loves a good pair of sneakers, but did you know that Adidas was founded by the Bavarian, Adolf “Adi”Dassler? while his other brother, Rudolf Dassler founded Puma. Famous Bavarians include Pope Benedict XVI, Richard Wagner, Richard Straus, Thomas Mann, Levi Strauss, and Rudolf Diesel to name a few. If you’re a football fan I’m sure you know Bayern Munich, which is the most successful team in the Bundesliga , and having won European Champions League four times (1974, 1975, 1976, 2001).
Should I add having one or two of the best luxury cars in the world?
Bavaria has the largest economy in all Germany. This Bavarian pride comes being the Headquarters of car giants BMW (Bayerische Motoren Werke AG) in Munich and Audi AG in Ingolstadt. Bavaria is the region of one of the best-selling cars around the world! Anyone visiting Bavaria should visit the BMW Welt in Munich and the Audi Forum in Ingolstadt to see just how big these giants are. Really recommended for car-lovers!
Bavaria has a good standing when it comes to economy. So I am not surprised why this region is a magnet for Expats. Aside from having an affordable cost of living, the quality of life is high.
6.Best of both worlds for Expats
Bavaria offers great opportunities for Expats and their families. Even expat kids have financial allowance given by the German government and not to mention the Integration class with encouragement to learn the language for better integration to their culture. This is what Bavaria is. A place of new opportunities and culture-learning so an Expat doesn’t feel a forever Alien. My experience in the Rathaus ( City Hall) is very pleasing.The immigration process and paperwork for an immigrant like me is very tedious and yet, systematic. The locals are very friendly and accomodating. Contrary to what they say that Germans are cold, I find them rather open and very kind.
Ah yes,lastly, after contemplating about living in Bavaria for the last 100 days, who can’t be intrigued with their food? A sausage in a bun for snack,lunch or dinner. Indeed, welcome to Germany!
Are you an Expat too? What part of another culture is hard for you to get used to?