Less than 10 Weeks

And there is so much to do:

1. Get a driver’s license and before you tell me that I should have it already, I’ve always lived in a big city where there was awesome public transportation. And also I’m afraid of the test.

2. Ship things

3. Health Insurance!

4. Find potential jobs over there

5. Personal training so my big bottom isn’t SO big when I get over there

6. New glasses

7. New clothes

8. Hope the G-Man finds a wunderbar apartment.

9. Try to stay calm.




4 thoughts on “Less than 10 Weeks

  1. You will get EVERYTHING done I promise!!! 🙂 🙂 and why do you need lincense?!! you have a passport dont you?

  2. Hello Ellie,

    I’ve been perusing your blog and you & I actually have a lot in common… except I did it 6 years ago.

    May I tell you a few things from experience?

    Get the license there. Hopefully you can transfer it easily to here, this depends on the state you get the license in and if DE has an easy swap possibility. If you are not living in an easy swap state, I suggest that you cross the state lines and see if that is possible. (and make certain you make the switch to DE in a timely manner, I believe you have 6 months)
    Forget your fear of the test. In my experience the test in ANY state is much easier than the learning/paying/testing here. In the US, it is all common sense. Just watch out for trick questions.

    To get your license changed to a DE/EURO you will be asked for a translation of your license from the States. You may also be asked for a translation of your birth certificate for things like getting married or official documentation. I suggest that you wait (if possible), until you get here, or contract with a German translator through the Internet. They will include the ALL IMPORTANT official stamp which shows it is an official translation. Otherwise you could face difficulties.

    Ship things soon. Label extensively. Fill out the forms correctly. Get the G-man to have your name put on his mailbox (or where ever you are sending it) so that you can actually send the boxes to YOURSELF. This helps with the Zoll (customs), trust me. (no, you can’t charge ME import tax for items I send to MYSELF)

    New glasses and clothes. This one is pure preference, but remember that fashion and quality are pretty regional. Europe and America have rotating fashion with one or the other actually adopting things earlier, or dropping it. Thus those thick-framed glasses which may or may not be fashionable in the US have long since been eschewed from fashion circles here in DE in favor of the next best thing. See what I mean? Shoes in DE are different. I can spot an American at 50 paces just by their shoes.

    Health insurance. Have the G-Man help you with this. Get him working on finding your options. If you are getting married, this will be much less of a problem… as will the work visa. But if not, there are STILL lots of possibilities for you.

    Personal trainer. Most expats actually gain weight in the first year. I bet that it is the idea of trying everything. I ended up losing weight because I made a conscious decision to MOVE more when I got here. (it doesn’t hurt that I married a “sporty” girl… and she had me doing LOTS of things) Be prepared for the “Expat Spread” and try to avoid it.

    I’m proud of you for learning German before you come. It is a good idea to be able to order beer and bread before you step foot in the country. Learning the language is a long process. I can suggest (mainly because I didn’t do it, and I should have) that you and G-Man make a pact to speak German to each other in SOME situations. Your relationship language will become ingrained, and if that is English, it will be harder to change later. My suggestion… say that you will speak German at the grocery store, or anytime you are in a cafe, or whatever. Get into a routine with it, and practice. It is hard to have daily life conversation when your grasp of the language is limited. But I promise you, the language will come more easily if you actually USE it.

    Read the blogs of American expats who have come to DE. See that they’ve all lived through it. Read about the little things they’ve noticed, and be prepared for it. But keep an open mind. Your “usage may vary”.

    Staying calm will be harder as the day approaches. BUT, keep in mind the reasons you are coming here. Learn to rely on G-Man, as he will be VERY important to you as you realize that EVERYTHING is different here. He will help you see that it isn’t BAD different, just different.

    In the end you just need to have goals. (When I get blah/blah boxed and sent out, I will have passed another milestone… yeah for me!) It is time to learn to roll with the changes… and there will be changes. But if you accept that from the beginning, you will be a LOT better off.

    Oh, and best of luck with the move. A year from now you will look back on it and giggle.

  3. What Snooker said. She’s a wise woman.

    I had a non-swappable driver’s license, so I had to the whole thing from scratch, like a teenager. And in Germany, that’s a true pain in the butt. Nine hundred and sixty multiple-choice questions, some of which have more than one right answer. Get a swappable license if you can.

    (that said, if you do need to learn form scratch in Germany, you can learn and take the test in English. Munich, an hour down the line form Nbg, has an excellent English speaking driving school that I found fun and excellent, if you’d like a referral)

    You might have the opportunity to opt out of the public healtjh system in favour of prvate insurance. I did, and I regretted it. Private health insurers are the same everywhere, alas…

    Yes, all this stuff in Germany is more complicated than it really needs to be, but dammit, at the end of the day it pretty much works like it should.


    BTW, Bavaria rules!

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