Hallo! I’m Julie, a Canadian living in southern Germany with my American husband. He’s been living in Germany (due to work) since early 2011, and I’ve been living here since late 2014, after our wedding. When we were younger, we both thought of living abroad, but Germany was not really on our radar, but we’re finding our place here. Not surprisingly, one of our favourite things in Germany has been connecting with internationals living here. The whole world is coming to Germany right now—including us, I guess!
Guten Morgen from southern Germany! We live close to the city centre in an 88m2 (950 ft2) apartment that’s over 100 years old. Our current apartment is about twice the size of our previous apartment, so we feel like we’re living like kings. 🙂 (Each of the four-storey apartments you see in this picture probably contain about 8 to 10 apartments).
(Left Photo) Many Germans buy a few fresh “Brötchen” at the bakery each morning. Our mornings don’t always start this way, but today I picked up a few fresh buns for breakfast at the bakery closest to our apartment.
(Right Photo) Breakfast for two.
My husband is almost always out the door before me. He bikes about 5km one way to work each day, and gets to ride by a palace and through a large forest every day—a pretty nice commute!
These days I leave the apartment shortly after my husband does, because I’m taking an intensive German language course every morning. As you can see in this picture, there are special lanes for bikes throughout our city.
We love how flat and bike-friendly our city is. Bikes are the primary mode of transportation for many students in the city, but lots of other people use bikes too—including families with young children and also our 80-year-old landlord. We haven’t owned a car here yet and we’re hoping to avoid buying one as long as possible.
When I arrive at German class, the bike racks are about half full, but by the time I leave they look like this. Bikes get stolen a lot in this city, so lots of people use old, poor-quality bikes for errands around the city. I ride a bike that I bought secondhand for just 25 euros, and I fit right in.
(left photo) My classmates are from all over the world. Even our teacher is not German — she’s Russian. On this particular day my classmates decided to write “Hello! How are you?” in each of their languages on the whiteboard.
(right photo) The German government has a program which partially funds German language and culture courses, to help newcomers integrate into the country. I’m trying to make the most of the discounted classes during the next few months, since we’re expecting that we’ll be in Germany for a while. Today in our B1 class we’re talking about vocabulary used for expressing an opinion, and about German hand motions and what they mean. Hopefully in January I will finish my last intensive German course.
Near my German classroom is one of the most popular ice cream parlours in our city. I’m not sure why, but Germans love “eis”. I don’t blame them—it’s freshly made and available in a wide variety of flavours. You’d be surprised to know how much ice cream or gelato some trim, fit Germans can put away!
(left photo) I often pick up some groceries on the way home from German class. I took a picture of the alcohol section to show because this is something that is different here. In Canada liquor has to be sold in a separate store, to keep underage kids from even seeing it on the shelves (I guess), but in Germany there’s a large selection of alcohol available even in the regular discount grocery store.
(right photo) Today I also stop at the Asian grocer for things that aren’t so typically German, like cilantro, natural peanut butter and black beans.
(Left Photo) While going to the post office, I ride down this green street. Germans are big fans of having green spaces in their cities, and so are we!
(Right Photo) Back to my home sweet home. Our landlady, who lives in the same building as us, grows a variety of plants in our shared “Hof” (courtyard) behind our building. Most of the apartments also have an outdoor line for drying clothes.
In the afternoons I work from home doing graphic design work for clients who are mostly in USA and Canada. Today I’m making a flyer for an event in Canada, but I just work a couple of hours, because guests are coming for supper and I have to reserve some time for food prep.
When I first moved to Germany, we had no washing machine and I took our laundry to a “waschsalon”. However, we recently bought a washing machine and it has been wonderful to be able to wash laundry at home while I’m doing design work or making meals.
Germans take their recycling very seriously, and in our city we are supposed to separate our garbage/recyclables into about six different categories. I’m still not sure if we’re doing it 100% correctly, but I came up with this little system for organizing most of our garbage. Glass and bottles we take to recycling bins about a block away, and everything else goes into bins directly behind our building.
One of our favourite things to do in the evenings is to invite others to come join us for supper. We haven’t been able to do this as often since I’ve started taking German classes, but tonight an Indian friend of a friend and a Syrian guy from my German class join us. Many of our guests are like us—foreign and don’t have family nearby—and we all enjoy having someone different to eat with.
Sometimes our guests keep us up way too late, like tonight, but we enjoy them and don’t want to send them away. And, we’re sorry to see you go, too! Thanks for joining us for a day here in Germany! Auf Wiedersehen!