US Military Wife in Germany - Expat Interview With LLMF

Published: 18 Jan at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Germany
Life Lessons of a Military Wifeis an Army wife who shares her stories of living overseas and life's little trip ups, some hilarious, some not so much. Learn from her stories and then share some of your own. Yes, you can learn from your own mistakes but wouldn't it be great if you could save yourself some of the stress by learning it from someone else? This is what the blog is all about....learning and helping others. Even her readers get in on the fun and advice. Her blog, which won the Bronze in the Expat Blog Awards 2012 for Germany, is Life Lessons of a Military Wife (see listing here).

LLMW contemplating her next move
LLMW contemplating her next move

Here's the interview with LLMW...


Where are you originally from?
I was born in Germany to a German mom and an American dad in the US Army. Even though I am American, I claim both countries as my own.

In which country and city are you living now?
Garmisch, Germany

How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
We arrived this summer from Belgium, but as with many military moves, we are uncertain of our timeframe.

Why did you move and what do you do?
I follow my husband. He is in the US Army.

The rest of the family
The rest of the family
Did you bring family with you?
Yes.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
Since I consider myself half German, I felt like I was coming home.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
In overseas military communities it is easy to make friends. We are all in the same boat. To make friends with Germans is a bit harder. You have to throw yourself out there. I interact with other expats at my son's international school, but that's about it:-(

One of my favorite things to do in Garmisch...ski (but usually not uphill)
One of my favorite things to do in Garmisch...ski (but usually not uphill)
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Skiing, hiking and anything outdoors. I like to blog about the fun things to do here (and elsewhere). I always recommend visiting the town or city's tourist bureau...always a wealth of information.

What do you enjoy most about living here?
I'm not going to lie...the food...the accessibility to other countries and the friendliness of the Bavarians.

How does the cost of living compare to home?
I haven't been "home" in over 5 years. I've forgotten.

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
Sometimes it's difficult getting used to NOT having the 24 hour mentality of everything being open and the ability to eat or shop at all hours. I know with my American friends, it is difficult for them to navigate German bureaucracy. As an example, I can't tell you how many times I've called Telekom on someone's behalf!

Munich Oktoberfest fun
Munich Oktoberfest fun
If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Come with an open mind and don't compare Germany to the last place you've lived. Just roll with it.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
The actual physical move. The older I get, the harder it gets...mentally. I have my system of getting everything ready (which I also blog about), but since I love order and neatness, it can sometimes throw me for a loop.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
Hmmm...I think I'll be shocked by all the products and how things move superfast in the US. I have gone back for a few visits and found myself standing in store aisles just staring. I'd think also the instant news that is available everywhere and the talking heads. I don't think I miss that.

Gotta love the German flea markets
Gotta love the German flea markets
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Open mind.
  2. Be a sponge.
  3. Ask for help and don't sit back expecting it.
  4. Introduce yourself to your neighbors (it's the opposite of stateside etiquette).
  5. Watch German TV, take a basic German language class and learn the basics.


Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
It actually started stateside. I am a big tip collector of making life easier...and it kind of morphed into a place of advice (sometimes light hearted) for moving overseas, living over here and traveling. I frequently share my own trip ups to let folks know that no matter how familiar you are with a place, you can still screw up and learn from your own and others mistakes.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
On my blog (see link below). I have readers from all walks of life, not just military. I welcome anyone who wants to learn and experience life overseas...even if it is just on the internet. I once received a letter from a homebound lady who was physically unable to travel, but she loved visiting my blog. That's when I realized my blog was bigger than just a how-to and a simple writing outlet for me...it was also a lifeline to someone who could not get out and enjoy the world like the rest of us could.

LLMW blogs at http://www.lifelessonsmilitarywife.com/ which we recommend a quick visit if you haven't been already. Life Lessons of a Military Wife has an ExpatsBlog.com listing here so add a review if you like! If you appreciated this interview with LLMW, please also drop her a quick comment below.
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