Most expats don’t realise how much life as an expat in Germany alters them until they return home and struggle with reverse culture shock. Here is a silly but relatable list of 45 signs that you have been living in Germany for too long.
Let’s face it: When you have been living in a foreign country for a few years, it will start rubbing off on you – whether you like it or not.
I came to Germany for the first time in 2010. In 2012, I moved back to the country of my birth. As soon as I landed, I started to experience a massive reverse culture shock. Within a week of arriving in India, I hatched a plan to go back to Germany.
Ladies and Gents, in that one week I realised that I had been Germanised in those two years. There are so many things – subtle habits that I have picked along the and didn’t even notice.
As of 2020, I have been living in Germany for a total of eight years. Last fall, I visited India for a couple of weeks. I realised during this trip that now I am even more Germanised that ever before.
This holiday really got me thinking hard about the signs that you’ve been living in Germany for a long time. At this time this list is just about 45. I will keep with adding to it as I think of new ones.
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Let the assimilation begin…
- You genuinely appreciate the German Ordnung – and miss it deeply when you are in a foreign country or back home
- You can get a full night sleep on German square pillow without waking up like a bent-neck lady/lad each morning.
- You have come to appreciate the high tax system in Germany
- You intuitively start to separate your müll into 7 different mülltonne
- Ruhezeiten have become sacred hours for you
- You have 107 types of insurances and don’t know what exactly they’re for
- You carry a bunch of cash everywhere you go
- You catch yourself saying tja and naja every at least 11 times every day
- German straightforwardness does not shock you anymore
- In fact, now you find over- friendliness of other cultures too superficial for your taste
- You do not hesitate before stripping down to nought at the sauna
Want to read some more about expat life in Germany?
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- You arrive exactly 5 – 10 minutes before any appointment and expect the same of others
- Speaking of time, you are now fluent in military time system
- You now carry reusable shopping bags and frown upon those who buy plastic bags at the shopping till
- Great weather now means – anytime when it is not raining…
- You wait at the red signal – even when there are no cars in sight
Suggested Reading for German Food Lovers
- You have learnt to make potatoes in 20 different ways
- You look forward to seasonal German foods like –Weiß Spargel, Flammkuchen mit Federweißer or Kürbissuppe.
- Suerkraut or mettwürst has grown over you – you actually love them!
- Abendbrot is now an acceptable dinner for you
- You now religiously believe that German beer is the best in the world
- You say your last name whenever the phone rings instead of ‘Hello’
- You say ‘Hallo/ Guten Tag’ whenever you enter the doctor’s waiting room and ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ when you leave
- It is now normal for you to accept your neighbour’s packages and feel fine when they accept yours when you aren’t home
- You automatically take your shoes off whenever you enter someone’s house
- You gasp audibly when a guest does not take their shoes off when they enter your home (and you never invite them. Ever again!)
- You open your windows every day for umluftung, even on the coldest of winter days.
- Apfelschorle, Weinschorle or any-schorle is now your standard drink to order at a cafe!
- You always remember to take an umbrella or a regenjacke whenever you head out
- You forbid yourself from wishing someone “Happy Birthday” before their birthday
- You appreciate the idea of a “Pfand” and religiously collect your pfandable bottles
Suggested Reading for Long Term Expats in Germany
- You say “Genau” in a conversation every few minutes – even when the conversation is in English!
- You are not afraid of drinking in public areas and don’t hesitate to take ‘one for the way’
- You watch Dinner For One and drink feuerzangenbowle every New Year’s Eve
- You look forward to Christmas markets in November already
- You look forward to your “Feierabend” every evening – even when you work from home
- You effortlessly greet your German colleagues with a Mahlzeit!
- Making a table reservation is a norm for you when planning to dine out
- You love visiting your local therme as often as possible – especially during winter
- You have different beer glasses for specific types of beers
- You own Tracht! And NEVER miss a chance to flaunt it
- You get seriously annoyed when someone talks loudly in the ruhebereich in the train
- You know better than to go grocery shopping just before the long weekend
- You use at least one item from Jack Wolfskin in your wardrobe.
- You are much more aware of sustainability and have picked several sustainable lifestyle habits – and you are proud of it
And here is the last one! 😉
- Whenever you leave Germany to visit home, you terribly, utterly miss your real home in Germany. 🙁 🙁
Your turn now! How has living in Germany changed you? Do you have a special habit that you picked up while living in Germany? Tell us in the comments below.
Like this post? Read this Dummy’s Guide to Dating a German
Want to learn more about Life in Germany? Start Here!
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