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Insiders guide to Annafest

23 Jul

In celebration of the feast day of St Anne (mother of the Virgin Mary) Annafest is a 10 day long beer festival held in the Forchheim Kellerwald. The Kellerwald if a hilly forest  on the edge of town, where the local breweries traditionally, and some still do, store their beers in the various Kellers which run through the hill. With an expected attendance of 500,000 people, it really is the place to be locally.

Annafest has adifferent kind of atmosphere to the Bergkirchweih, it is undoubtedly more local, you won’t hear an awful lot of English being spoken, but it is a wonderful festival. And the Kellerwald is also open May-September so you can enjoy a lovely beer without the crowds and organised chaos.

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View to the ferris wheel

How to get there

Get the train to Forchheim, then a bus/taxi or walk to the kellerwald, there is also a park and ride option

– There is a regular bus service from the train station to the Kellerwald, you cannot usually (maybe this will change this year) use your Tages ticket on this bus, you will have to pay around 2 euro for a specific one way bus ticket

– There are plenty of taxis at the train station, they charge a fixed fee to get you to the kellerwald (usually 6-8 euro) so if you are in a big group it can work out cheaper than the bus

-Walking to the kellerwald will take you about 20 minutes (its 2km), it’s not a particularly picturesque walk and you can just follow the crowds

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What to wear

Sensible footwear, it’s in a forest and on a hill, you have been warned.

Tracht (Lederhosen and Dirndl) for the whole family are common.

There are more areas that are covered in the kellerwald than at the Bergkirchweih, but if the forecast is for rain, take a jacket

Useful to know

There is a refundable deposit “Pfand on your mug, glass, bottle or plate. Mugs and glasses are generally 5 euro, other bottles and crockery is usually less. Always return you items to get back your pfand, look out for ‘Ruckgabe’ to make your returns.

Beer will be served by the Maß (litre) in most places ‘Eine Maß bitte’ it will be served in a stone mug and will cost you  7.40 euro (plus pfand)

For a more refreshing and less alcoholic drink try a Radler, a mix of half beer half lemonade. You will also be served this by the Maß, ‘Ein Radler bitte’ and it will usually come with a straw in it to indicate it’s a radler. Tip – If you get rid of the straw no-one will be any the wiser that you’re drinking shandy. Radler willl cost the same as a full beer and have the same deposit on the mug.

Other alcoholic options are Weißbier (wheat beer) which is usually served in 0.4l or 0.5l. Wein or Weinschorle, the latter is mixed with lemonade for a suß (sweet) schorle or sparking water for a Sauer (sour) version, both equally refreshing and a nice alternative to beer.

Apfelschorle is my favourite of the usual fizzy drinks and water, half apple juice, half fizzy water. Tip – If its hot, sometimes you can order a Maß of apfelschorle, otherwise you usually get a 0.5l.

Toilets are 5o cents a go but will generally be clean and well kept, the queues can get long for the ladies (such is life) join before you’re desperate.

Know how to toast in German, a hearty clink of stone mugs and a “Prost” Oh and make sure to keep eye contact with everyone one you toast with, otherwise 7 years of bad sex is coming you way (I kid you not).

You will hear the bands play this at least once an hour, learn it and sing it loud!

‘Ein Prosit, Ein Prosit, Der Gemütlichkeit

Ein Prosit, Ein Prosit, Der Gemütlichkeit’

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Dancing on the tables is just more fun on a hill in a forest!

Neder-Keller is a party keller, it is not really suitable for kids after noon, plenty of dancing on the tables though!

The walk up through the woods is mostly tarmac so suitable for pushchairs etc but parts are steep so have good brakes.

Leave you bike at the bottom of the hill, there are too many people to ride it up and down.

You won’t find many cash machines (ATMs) in the Kellerwald, be prepared.

Recommendations

Have a plan, there is no way you can try all the kellers in one day so pick a selection, this will help.

Eichhorn-Keller to sample the Eichhorn beer, I love this stuff, true amber nectar as far as I’m concerned. Their biergarten is pretty chilled and does good food, it even has a sandpit for the kids.

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Look out for this stuff!

Neder-Keller, their Schwarze Anna (a dark delicious beer) is something to try, it looks like Guiness but tastes completely different, I love it.

Grief-Keller, pretty much the first Keller you come to and they do a lovely refreshing beer, it’s a perfect start to a beer festival.

Look out for Bock biers, these are VERY strong, delicious but one is usually enough.

The parade is full of traditional costumes and musicians, if you don’t want to follow it from town Greif Keller which overlooks the path up to the Kellerwald will give you a good view. The musicians also parade through the Kellerwald, you’ll hear them coming.

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The details

The official tapping of the first barrel is at 5pm Friday 25 July. This year the mayor will tap the barrel at Schindlers Keller which is usually a quieter Keller so theres a good chance you could score a free Maß!

Opening hours are 1pm-11.30pm Monday-Friday and 11am-11.30pm Weekends (realistically some Kellers open at 9am-10am).

Price for a Maß is 7.60 euro + optional tip 0.40, so lets save on change filling your pockets and say 8 euro (plus 5 euro pfand).

The parade from the town to Annafest starts at 2.30pm on Saturday 26th.

Tuesday and Thursday 1pm-8pm are family days, lots of the rides will give family discouts during these hours.

Wednesday is the Forchheimer Tag, lots of the shops in Forchheim will close at noon so that the workers can enjoy an afternoon at Annafest.

Let me know if you have any more questions about Annafest and if you plan to visit have a great time!

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Getting around (by public transport)

28 May

If you can commute by bike to your job, why have a car? For a lot of expats the expense of buying, insuring and running a car in Germany, sometimes for the short period of time that you actually live in the country can prove to be unviable economically.

The good news is that Public transport, biking and walking will get you around for a fraction of the cost and shouldn’t even take you too much longer.

Trains

EC – EuroCity Express -These are the fancy grey trains you see at the station. These trains will connect with other neighbouring European countries. Best to book online for the best price, only get on this train if you have a specific EC ticket.

ICE – The InterCity Express – Again, these will be the fancy grey trains. Best for long trips  to cities as they travel nationally. They are expensive but you will change less and you can find offers sometimes on the D-Bahn. You will need a specific ICE ticket to use this train.

RE (Regional Express) – Look out for the red trains (generally, and sometimes double decker), they are generally very regular but as the name suggests travel regionally not nationally.

Regionalbahn – Your lovely basic local train, it will probably stop at every stop so can be slower than the RE. These are also red, think buses on a rails.

S-Bahn – Comparable to the RE but the trains can sometimes be pretty old, they are pretty regular though and good for the Erlangen-Fürth-Nürnberg trip.

Tickets

Buy a ticket when you travel and buy it before you get on the train. Most train stations, will have an automated machine and bigger ones will have actual real live people to buy a ticket from old school style.

The Bayern ticket – This ticket is a wonderful wonderful thing.

  • You can, for the princely sum of 23 euro, travel throughout the whole of Bavaria (on train, tram,bus, underground) between 9am and 3am the following day Monday -Friday!
  • And 0am to 3am (27 hours) on Saturdays, sundays and on public holidays
  • And for and additional 4 euro each this ticket can be valid for up to 5 adults
  • Sign the ticket on the dotted line to make it valid and you may have to show the inspector ID too, to prove it’s yours, since these tickets are valid for so long a lot of people pass or sell them on when they are finished with them.
  • You can travel as far as Salzburg on this ticket!
  • For families, two adults can also travel with an unlimited number of children under 15
  • A ticket bought at a counter from a person will cost you an additional 2 euro
  • More useful info can be found  here on Toytown Germany

Tages ticket (Day ticket)

  • Buy on a Saturday and this ticket is also valid on the Sunday of that weekend too!
  • Valid on Train, tram, bus and U-bahn (all trains except the EC and ICE)
  • Solo -Valid for one person for the whole day until 3am the following day
  • Prices start at 3.70 euro and increase depending on how far in the region you want to travel
  • Plus – Valid for 2 adults and up to 4 children (under 18)
  • Prices start at 7.60 euro up to a maximum of 17.50 euro for a network wide ticket
  • On some services you may take your bike in lieu of a person using this ticket
  • Your dog travels for free

For any sizeable events that are going on in the region, special transport links will be available to get you to your destination. Events like the Frühlingsfest and Bergkirchweih for example have great public transport links and even special routes to get you there and back safely and efficiently.

The regional travel provider here is VGN (Verkehrsverbund Großraum Nürnberg) and they deal with everything that Deutsche Bahn doesn’t (basically). Their website is great for route planning, maps, local large events and is available in English! Their App is invaluable and free and gives you access to tickets cheaper than at a machine if you buy online, just show the conductors machine your QR code and your golden, get it.

I already blogged about my massive love for biking and how to go about buying a bike and using it as your main form on transport here so I won’t go through that again. And as for walking? well it’s safe and good for you, need I say more?

Happy traveling in Bayern and beyond!

5 reasons why I love living in Germany

22 May

Yes I’ve been a bad blogger lately, it’s been a weird time, decisions, lots of traveling and lots of guests have come through our apartment in the last couple of weeks and I’ve just not been able to sit down and write like I’ve wanted to. In the next few months exciting things will be happening and as soon as I can share them I will share them here, watch this space.

So for today I thought I’d write a favourites list, what can I say? the endless sun is so uplifting (and sweaty) at the moment that all the shite is invisible.

Public transport – Be it via train, tram, bus, underground or a combination of all of them I can get pretty much anywhere I want locally or nationally using public transport, and the prices are so cheap (compared with GB anyway).

Lifestyle – work at work, don’t share personal issues, holiday plans or talk about last nights TV in the office, a simple “did you have a good weekend?” will suffice, save talking about your outside life for after work beers at 5pm. Unlike a lot of companies (large and small) in the UK, small talk and chat, heck even Facebook is a part of working life but you are also expected to stay until the work is finished and a lot of the time how good you look in front of the boss depends on how many nights he saw you working late this week. I kid you not plenty of friends leave their jackets on their chairs and their computer screens on so that the boss thinks that they are in the office! Staying late at the office in Germany consistently can have the opposite effect, your boss might worry that you can’t cope with the workload and the Betriebsrat (Works council) can fine your employer and you for working over the number of hours that has been agreed. Your own time however, is your own. BUT Germans use their own time productively (maybe because they have so much of it?) Being a member of a Verein (club) is very popular (even I am) and the clubs range from football and sporty pursuits to music and handicrafts, it really is a great way to meet people, improve your German and settle into your new home.

Location – Being slap bang in the middle of Europe instead of having to cross that pesky old channel has made getting away much easier and affordable for us. Having a car makes this slightly easier but the train system across Europe is pretty efficient and the some flights are so insanely cheap that they basically dictate your holiday plans.

Beer – It’s not just cheap it’s astonishingly cheap, it’s not just delicious it’s delightfully delicious and it’s everywhere. While there isn’t as much variation as there could be,  I do miss not having to pay through the nose for an imported IPA every now and again but the fact I can go down to my favourite brewery (who do THE best beer) with my two litre krug and have it refilled for 5 euro, well, it’s not rocket science is it? Without wanting to sound like a raging alcoholic I love the fact that I can order a beer with my breakfast and no one bats an eye, heck I can drag a case down to the park and wile away the day with my friends and their families, because I’m an adult and I can decide for myself when and what I drink. Thank you Germany for treating me like a grown up and letting me make that choice.

Celebrations – From Fasching to Frühling (spring), Easter to Weihnachten and everything inbetween, when the Germans let their hair down they do it with a sense of purposeful fun. Yes it’s just an excuse to get together with friends and family but it also means that you are part of the larger celebration involving everyone around you, a sense of belonging and connection to your town, Bavaria, and Germany.

I could go on and on about my loves today, blame the weather. What do you love about Germany?

 

Frühlingsvolksfest Nürnberg

17 Apr

To start the festival year off with a bang I recommend that you attend the Volksfest in Nürnberg 19.04.2014 – 11.05.2014. It’s easy to get to and there is an tram stop nearby, get off at the Dokuzentrum stop and follow the crowds.

Think huge funfair, with beer tents, entertainment, food and lederhosen thrown in for good measure. Go with an empty stomach and a little extra cash (you will pay a deposit on your beer of 5 euro, which you will get it back when you return your glass). Check out the programmes for the fest online, there will be different acts on throughout the fest and they could be anything from belly dancers to brass bands to punk bands, there are also usually fireworks on the last night.

Part of the fun of a festival is the food, buy your sweetheart a gingerbread heart, eat a giant pickle, try a Langos, crepe or the famous drei im weckla (three nürnberger sausages in a bun). Frankly the rides scare me to death, and please, approach them with caution after a few beers. I do love the ferris wheel however, its great day or night.

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After the Volksfest is over it’s countdown to the Bergkirchweih, do you have your dirndl yet?

Clothes maketh the (wo)man

14 Apr

Now I’m not talking about just any kind of clothes here, I’m talking about German traditional clothes or Trachten. Men wear lederhosen (real men anyway) and women get the opportunity to wear a supremely flattering and beautiful outfit which they call a dirndl (pronounced Deer-n-dil).

The dirndl I refer to is not the very traditional dress that some Germans wear for celebrations but the more modern form of dress that is easy to wear and comes in may different styles, colours and price ranges. You can see the more traditionally dressed women at local events, they will often have matching outfits since they are part of the same group. Their outfits are beautiful down to the wicker bag and fresh flowers they tote.

When we first moved here, under no circumstances would you get me prancing through town in ‘a milkmaid outfit’, yes those were my exact and uneducated words. I’m not a girly girl you see, I spend my spare time in jeans, a dress with an apron and a frilly blouse? No.

And if I had never stepped into that Tracht shop one rainy afternoon and been taken under the wing of a dirndl wearing saleswoman, I would feel downright out of place at a beer festival. I also wouldn’t feel so feminine, whilst drinking my litre of beer. In the past few years the wearing of trachten to to beer festivals has really taken off, just check out the Bergkirchweih if you don’t believe me.

A dirndl is made up of a snugly fitted corset like bodice, blouse, skirt and apron, and if you’re worried that you will end up all cleavage, then don’t (unless thats your thing of course) a dirndl can be modest and practical as well as figure flattering. You can pick just about any colour you want, even the plainest cotton dirndl can have some beautiful detailing on the buttons and neckline. Go as plain or as fancy as you want, but do be aware that you will be wearing it outside surrounded by a lot of beer, maybe rethink the silk! And you will always find a pocket in the skirt, though its only really big enough to keep your 50 cent for the loo safe.

dirndl

Image by Ornella M via Flickr

This is the only time anyone over the age of 20 should wear a belly top (crop top as a non northern translation). Since the bodice is close fitting your blouse will be elasticated and end just under your bust, don’t worry once you get the dress on you’ll feel better I promise! You will have to choose from a vast array of white and some black blouses, puffy sleeves, lace, off the shoulder, buttons, frills you name it you’ll find it. My advice? find the dirndl first, then try on at least five different tops before you make up your mind.

The bodice is form fitting, it gives you amazing posture and can give you help in the bust department (if necessary). Also if you do need a bit of extra help, check out the dirndl bras, they tend to be balcony rather than plunging so you get a more natural cleavage rather than a full on in your face boobage.

Skirt lengths are less varied, the mini(high above the knee), the midi (knee length or longer) and the long (mid calf to ankle). Bear in mind that you’ll be up on a table dancing and riding your bike around in this dress, if you go for the mini, please get some big pants too! The midi is generally the most popular length, everyone can rock it and not much chance of flashing your knickers. Long is generally more for the older generation (50s or 60s) or waitresses, and yes, all ages wear dirndls from baby to grandma, check out a bridal dirndl they are stunning.

The apron itself is not a big deal, where you tie it on the other hand is. The code of dirndl apron tying is as follows, ‘single or looking’ bow tied to the right on your hip, ‘married, taken or not looking’ bow tied to the left. Front and centre bow means you’re a virgin (strangely one doesn’t see a lot of these about) and back centre is either widowed or a waitress.

Shoes, this is always a bit of contentious issue, purists maintain that trainers should not be worn with your dirndl but trekking a couple of miles through a muddy forest means that pretty heels are a big no. Ballet flats, pumps and converse (other brands are available obviously) tend to be what most women choose, you can get special tracht shoes but I’m not a fan because they are quite clompy.

So go and buy your dirndl before the craziness of the pre Bergkirchweih shopping starts, now is the perfect time. Check out C&A for cheap and cheerful, Erlangen Dirndl Garage for last seasons collections at bargain prices (Opens 5th April) and Wirkes Dirndl & Tracht for unlimited choice and good advice. Peek & Cloppenburg and Galeria Kaufhof also sell them seasonally though theirs tend to be on the pricier side.

You will feel especially silly the first time you go out dressed in a dirndl, you might even find yourself humming ‘the hills are alive’ but when you get to that beer festival you will be glad you did it.

Honestly, the best matching accessory to your dirndl is your guy in his lederhosen, I always maintain that ‘real men wear lederhosen’ and honestly if your guy won’t join in once you are looking beautiful in your dirndl, well, I may rethink the guy. Go shopping together and he can pick a coordinating shirt, it’s also a fun shopping trip to have with your visiting friends if they want that authentic beer festival experience!

Just don’t EVER turn up dressed like this, you will get laughed out of town!

bad dirndl

Image by Thomas Cizauskas via Flickr

 

 

Easter in Franconia

10 Apr

Like all religious festivals in Catholic Franconia, Easter is celebrated with gusto. It’s not just about chocolate eggs here (they still have some though), it’s about real decorated eggs and every town and village for miles around joins in.

Osterbrunnen or Easter fountains (or wells) appear before Easter, basically the locals decorate any and all fountains or wells in their town with evergreen and decorated eggs (more plastic than real eggs now). Each fountain is different to the next, some are huge and some are small, there are plenty in between too.

The world record breaking Osterbrunnen is located in Bierberbach, bus load of German tourists tour Franconian Switzerland during the Easter period, purely to see these beautiful creations.

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I don’t want to spoil Bierberbach for you but this is just a glimpse of the scale of their fountain, it’s definitely worth a trip, and worth going early to avoid the crowds.

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And some of your neighbours may have an Easter tree set up in their garden (or even in their house), decorated with hand painted or cut eggs.

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You don’t even need to go all the way to the Frankische schweiz to see an Osterbrunnen or two, look out for them in Erlangen, there are even some artificial ones in the Arcarden to check out.

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So I suppose you’ve been looking in the shops for Easter eggs, English style Easter eggs, and you’ve not found any am I right? If you have I need to know where! Big chocolate eggs here just aren’t really a thing, its all about the Creme egg sized eggs (and the Lindt bunnies). Be careful buying filled eggs here, most of them will have an alcoholic filling, stick to Kinder or Milka for the kids.

If you like chocolate the Lindt chocolate bunny is the way forward, any size you want, any type of chocolate you want, and there are special Easter Harribo for non chocolate lovers. Osterbrot is my replacement for hot cross buns, every bakery has their own version and my personal favourite is the one from the Fuchs bakery, toasted with butter it’s amazing.

If you need some more inspiration then my previous post A-Z Local Edition might also be useful too.

Happy Easter expats!

The Expat Personality

7 Apr

Whilst we are all expats here (being non Germans) and might stick out like sore thumbs to the locals, it is important to recognise that all expats are not necessarily created equal.

Here is my guide to the expats you might meet when you move abroad…

The Bragger

Commonly heard saying –
“You haven’t been to Neuschwanstein/Berlin/newest restaurant in town yet? you really must go”
“My kid speaks five languages”

Easy to spot, no matter how long they have been in the country (2 weeks, 2 month, 2 years) they will always have been to and experienced places that you MUST go to (in their opinion). Usually these braggers tend to have very little imagination and have seen every sight listed in their guidebook, but not a lot else. Guidebooks are great, but use them with caution, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.

If they have kids, well, get used to hearing how amazingly they are doing at adapting, learning the language (and never acknowledging that they should work on their own language skills), bringing their culture to a German school (by passing out valentines to every kid in kindergarten on Valentines day, much to the confusion of  their classmates). These expats will only adopt the best (in their opinion) of German culture and ignore the rest, their home culture is much more important to them (hence why the braggers generally aren’t in it for the long haul and will head home when life gets real, and then presumably brag about their European life some more back in their own country).

When to call a bragger – On returning from a fantastic holiday to a far flung corner of the earth, but do be prepared to find out they’ve been there and did it better last year. Good advisers about things to do in Germany when your friends and relatives visit though.

Best friend – The traveller
Mortal enemy – The whiner

The Networker

Commonly heard saying –
“I went to …. and worked at … and … and …, where do you work?
“I volunteer at ….. and ….. and ….., and I’m friends with …. and ….. and …..”

It can be hard to be away from your 9-5 for the first time, networkers react to this by treating their life like their job. Lists, lists and more lists are a sign of a networker, they never stop talking about making connections and have usually volunteered at every available place within their first six months in the country. If you aren’t visibly well connected they will probably look right through you, but once they find out who you are, they will be all over you.

When to call a networker – When you need help on a project that they could put on their CV or you hear of an opening that might interest them, they might even have some tips for you, if there is something in it for them.

Best friend – The Bragger
Mortal enemy – The whiner

The Wannabe Integrationee

Commonly heard saying –
“We are completely integrated here, no we don’t speak German and our kids go to the International school”
“I spend three months in the summer in Florida with my family and then two months at Christmas with his family in Texas”

Their idea of living here is actually being in the country for 7 months of the year, they do all their shopping in their home country and are never short of foods from home that they just can’t do without. This expat rides a bike, owns lederhosen, is friendly with their German neighbours (though they are not on first name terms even after 5 years) and really enjoys their life in Germany, when they are in the country that is.

In Germany they make good friends, they are people to call if you need help but the amount of time that they spend out of the country makes it hard to have a normal relationship with them since they are constantly arriving and leaving.

When to call a wannabe integrationee – If you need advice about luggage allowances back to your home country, where to go to get a passport renewed or the number for a good cleaner. Generally these expats are a font of information but due to their part time status in Germany can be hard to get hold of day to day.

Best friend – The stop gapper
Mortal enemy – The traveller

The Integrationee

Commonly heard saying –
Everything in German, all the time

Generally they are married to a German or have given up their former citizenship for a German one. Their life is here and they have made it their home but they do still think of their former home and their family there regularly. Their German is impeccable but they also accept that in their village they will always be “the foreigner” not matter how integrated they are, this does not phase them though.

They may have fewer expat friends since they have been here so long and have German friends though work or school, but that just makes them well rounded, oh and they probably own some Jack wolfskin too.

When to call the integrationee – Need advice about language schools, help with German customs or a natter about your past lives (in your former countries that is). They have been there and done that and most importantly survived, be aware that they may be wary of you, since you might not be sticking around long term.

Best friend – A native
Mortal enemy – The stop gapper

The Traveller

Commonly heard saying (usually be voicemail since they’re out of the country) –
“We are so lucky, we get to travel so much”
“Have you tasted the pasta at … in Florence?”

These expats are here to travel, their weekends and holidays are planned months and years in advance so not a minute of time is wasted, well, enjoying where they actually live. Always good conversation, about their travels anyway, but they can seem out of touch with their own city of residence, after 4 years here they still haven’t worked out how the recycling system works.

They are here for a limited time and are prepared to make the most of it, real go getters and if you aren’t that way inclined you might just end up being their house/cat sitter while they are away. Great people to ask for advice about holidays and to borrow guide books off.

When to call a traveller – Weeknights Tuesday-Thursday, the rest of the time you will go straight to voicemail. They always know when and where all the cheapest flights are available.

Best Friend – The bragger
Mortal enemy – The whiner

The Stop Gapper

Commonly heard saying –
“Do – you – speak – English?”
“We are worried about our kids now we are moving back to the states, I mean what if they start asking to go to the toilet? and not the restroom?”
“My husband thinks I should be grateful to have to live in this godforsaken place!!!”

They are here for an allotted amount of time and make little or no effort to integrate (why should they?) and tend towards blaming their spouse for having to live in Germany, especially when they are having a bad day. One day they will just up an leave for good so reliability is not necessarily their strong point.

They live their whole life for holidays to their “home”, countdowns are plentiful and their problems can be anything from ‘everyone can see when I buy toilet paper because I have to put it on the back of my bike’ to ‘my child is speaking with a German accent, how will anyone understand him back home?’

When to call a stop gapper – Just before they head back to their homeland for a holiday, they will be at their absolute brightest. On there return however be prepared to deal with the massive comedown and try to distract them with shiny things or alcohol or hugs.

Best friend – The whiner
Mortal enemy – The wannabe interationee

The Whiner

Commonly heard saying (or rather whining) –
“I asked him so slowly, and he pretended not to understand English”
“I miss my family/pet/husband” repeat x8 million
“If one more person stares at me I’m going to lose my shit!”

These expats tend to be very reactionary in nature, and mostly over reactionary. They will always have a tale of woe which is longer and more woeful than yours and despite your tea and sympathy they are actually very happy to be whiney and annoying to everyone around them.

Beware the group of whiney expats, boy can they suck the fun out of any and every event, mix your friends well and make sure that the whiners get their time to whine and give them some wine if they just won’t shut up.

When to call a whiner – Feeling emotionally strong? call them and hear their latest long rant about the things that are awful about living in Germany and how much they want to go “home”.

Best friend – The bragger
Mortal enemy – The traveller

Which one are you? Of course most of us expats are a mixture of all of these, I hope I am anyway!

Not that I think you are a touchy expat but just in case you are, this is totally a tongue-in-cheek piece and not intended to cause offence.

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