After a whirlwind 5 1/2 weeks, we came back to Germany and hurried to settle back into a routine before our son started back to school (less than a week later!) and our busy schedule resumed. Our first visit home was a wonderful, busy, fun-filled time, but even though we were technically going “home”, there is still no place like home (as in the place where your bed resides, your clothes hang, your kitchen is your wonderland, etc.). We have taken a little communication break the past couple of months to get our heads back in the game, and now that a bit of time has past, we want to share some reflections on some of the major differences between living in America and living in Germany.
Here we are! In this picture, we had just arrived after 20 long hours of travel to greet our families at 2:00 am.
Round 1: Transportation
If you’ve never traveled to Europe before, you’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying real, effective public transportation in its finest form. Sure, there are cities in America with train systems and cities where you can ride a bike, but they just don’t do it like the Europeans, especially not like Germany.
In America, we were once more dependent upon cars (big shout out to my parents who leant us a car for the whole trip!!!), which is shockingly hard to do after living in Germany for awhile. The kids weren’t too excited about being hauled around in a car all the time. They missed hopping on the train or riding their bikes (very safely with perfectly marked bike lanes, I might add) to get around, and so did we.
That being said, we miss the SUPER low prices of American gasoline. In case you are curious, we pay around $6 per gallon here in Germany.
Round 1 Winner: Germany
Left: Nick and our friend Jake enjoy a train ride in Hannover. Right: Clara is all strapped in for a bike ride, equipped with plenty of safety and Clara humor.
Round 2: Food
I might catch some flack for this, but I am not a huge lover of German cuisine. There are a lot of yummy German foods, but since I am not much of a meat eater and can’t eat gluten, a lot of German food just isn’t my thing. Nick, on the other hand, is a huge fan. Sign him up for a currywurst and brötchen any day!
When people ask us what we miss most about America, we say (other than the people we love) the food. Here is a short list: Mexican food, barbecue, salad places, and healthy food stores (Trader Joe’s, Lucky’s). Even Aldi in America is better with a lot more organic and healthy choices, despite being a German company. I will say that gluten free options in stores here in Germany tend to be tastier, but the gluten free options in American restaurants (particularly in Louisville) are abundant and totally delicious. Sigh, dreaming of all the yummy food now.
Round 2 Winner: America
Pic 1: All the delight of Halo Top ice cream. Pic 2: A gluten free, dairy free cupcake from Annie May’s in Louisville. Pic 3: A pizza from Pieology. Pic 4: Drool. Real Mexican food.
Round 3: Language
We are more than two years into our life here in Germany, and we are all fluent at this point. Still, there is nothing like being able to speak and think in your mother tongue without worrying about mistakes or sounding unnatural. Nick loved being able to preach again in English (click here if you want to hear his sermon from our time in America, episode: Who wears your crown?), and I loved hearing him.
However, coming back to Germany was equally as nice in terms of language. It was so reassuring to come back to Hannover and ease right back into speaking German, rather than feeling like our 5 weeks of English immersion took away from German ability. Nick preached shortly after returning, and he reported feeling more comfortable than ever speaking German in that context.
Round 3 Winner: TIE!
Our reporting trip this summer really solidified what we already felt to be true: we have two homes now, and God is moving in both of them and using us whenever and wherever we open ourselves to being used.
Thank you to everyone who opened their homes and lives up to us this summer. We enjoyed the food, the coffee, the hugs, and the laughs. See you again in 2021 (or when you come to visit us)!