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A German in Texas

July 2, 2010
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Inspired by a few blogs I follow (for example la tortuga viajera and Travel With Den Den), I decided to start writing some posts about my expat life as a German in Texas. I’ve lived here for about 5 years now and so I don’t necessarily notice some of the weird things anymore that stick out to you when you first get to a new place, but one day I’ll sit down and write a re-cap of my first impressions here in Texas 🙂

Really?

Right now my mind is more on the topic of leaving Texas since we went out with a few friends the other day who are about to move back to Europe. They seemed really happy and so instead of dwelling on yet more friends deserting us here, I decided to be happy for them. Talking about their move and new life in Germany got me excited about the thought of moving as well. There are no immediate plans to move, so it really is nothing more than a hypothetical exploration of possibilities in my mind at this point 🙂 And while I’m excited about new possibilities, I know there are many things I will miss about Texas:

  1. People: And by people, I don’t only mean the friends I’ve made here that I will miss so much, but also a general friendliness that you don’t find everywhere. Can you imagine being greeted with a friendly hello by almost every single person you run into? In Germany? Or Italy? Or France?
  2. Sun: I have gotten so used to the reliable Texas sun that I will have a hard time living anywhere with lots of clouds and rain again. At this point I get cranky when the sun doesn’t shine for a few days in a row.
  3. Texas BBQs: I never even ate steak before I moved here, but now I really like it. And the occasional greasy burger? Hmmm… Texans really know how to prepare their beef!
  4. Low taxes: Who doesn’t wanna keep more money?!
  5. Customer Service: … is better here than in many other places I’ve been. With the exception of realtors/property management companies… We are looking into renting a small house and so far it seems as though Texan realtors really don’t want to rent out houses. Not even the ones they have listed on their websites.

What I won’t miss:

  1. Isolation: It just takes too damn long to get anywhere from here!
  2. Lack of International Foods: This might not be the US as a country or even Texas as a state, but there are definitely not enough international restaurants in town! Oh, what would I give for crepes from Bretagne, Chinese spring rolls in Germany, authentic Italian pizza pretty much anywhere in Europe, freshly baked bread from a bakery, …
  3. Ignorance: Most people are so nice here, but I will not miss the occasional question/statement like “Have you ever been to Europe?” (after an extensive conversation about how I am from Germany), “Of course we are the best country in the world.” (Pleeeaaaase! Don’t say that if you’ve never even been anywhere else.), or “Do you speak English with your parents?” (Why in the world would I do that when I am German?!).
  4. Tornado Warnings: They still freak me out!
  5. TexMex: Sorry, not a big fan.

There are a ton more things on either side, but those are the ones that came to my mind first. I do however have that nagging feeling that I missed at least one important one. Hmmm…  I’m sure it’ll come to me later!

Austin in July 2009

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15 Comments

  • Marthe says:

    Haha, when I saw the link to this post I immediately thought of the story about “Have you ever been to Europe”. I always tell it just to illustrate how bad it can be 🙂

  • Donna says:

    lol, Sabrina, I like this one — when I was planning to go to Quito, Ecuador, one of my family members first asked me where it was (umm South America?) and then asked me “So what do they eat there, do they have houses like ours?)….as if I was planning a trip to MARS and not Quito!!!!!

    ps When I make it out of this state I WILL miss texmex but you can have all the bbq:)

  • Paula Cervino says:

    Having moved back to Argentina recently, after two and a half years in Texas, I think I got a bit more perspective about what I liked/disliked about living there. Adding to what you guys already mentioned,I can think of these things:
    I MISS:
    – Definitely THE BURGERS!!!! And, why not, a side of those greasy fries!!
    – FREE REFILLS. That’s the best idea EVER! Now whenever I go to a restaurant, the soda they give me just never seems like enough…
    – Cheap shopping. Who doesn’t love real sales!?

    I DON’T MISS:
    – the absolute lack of public transportation, and the fact that people stared at me in awe while I walked down the street (since there are NO SIDEWALKS) or when I rode my bike.
    – Tornado watch, freezing rain, and that freaking wind in the morning!!
    – Yellow grass and cacti as the only vegetation!

    • Sabrina says:

      You are so right! I’m sure I’ll realize many more and/or different things if and when we move 🙂 I was laughing about the free refills you miss. Totally true! In fact I already miss those when I’m in Germany only for a visit. And yes, I won’t miss the lack of vegetation either. That one’s for sure!

  • Silke says:

    Really loved reading this one Sabrina! Especially as I’m in the same situation. For sure my expat experience is much shorter than yours, but I guess I’m still in the phase of discovering new things and getting closer to a different culture.
    But the good thing about living abroad is that all of a sudden you can see things in your home country from a distance and maybe realize that there are things you miss and things you don’t miss at all. As an essence, let’s try to mix the best of both worlds. That would be perfect, sah?

    • Sabrina says:

      Silke! I totally agree about gaining a different perspective on your home country. That’s what fun about travelling so much, isn’t it? Being able to see things differently. And I’m sure you could write your own blog about life in Egypt at this point 🙂

  • Well, Texas really is like its own country isn’t it!? I don’t even recognize the place you describe, even though I’m from the US. But then again, I suppose San Francisco is like its own country too. I’m 100% positive you would find all the international food that your heart could desire there, not to mention a lot fewer ignorant people!

    Thank you for the mention in your post! Keep the Texas blogs coming!

    • Sabrina says:

      Will do! And yes, Texas is kind of its own country I think 🙂 By the way, San Francisco is on the top of my list places that I still want to visit in the US. I heard so many great things about that city!

  • Denise says:

    Really enjoyed reading this post because as you know, expat life fascinates me. Looking forward to more. Thanks for the blog mention, by the way.

  • Pit Vins says:

    Hi Sabrina,
    I’ve just happened to come axcross your Blog. I like this post here a lot as it – to my mind – describes living in Texas very well. Interesting what you’d miss and not miss.
    Will read more of your posts soon and comment more, too.
    Best regards from southern Texas,
    Pit

    • Sabrina says:

      Hey Pit! Danke 🙂 Du bist ja auch schon eine Weile hier habe ich bei Dir gelesen – nur weiter suedlich. Ist es bei Euch momentan auch so furchtbar kalt?

  • Alex says:

    Hi, if you come to Houston, there are sooo many international restaurants, we even have our own China Town!! and restaurants are so cheap compared to NY or other cities in the US. I have lived in Europe and the quality, price and variety is different to match Houston scene.
    Alex

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