From USA to Germany - Expat Interview With Kaitlin

Published: 29 Jul at 4 PM
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Filed: Interviews,Germany
The Diary of Sugar and Spice is a look into what happens when the All American Girl leaves behind her family, her great job, and her safe world to follow love across the ocean to Germany. It's the typical story of Girl falls in love with Boy and the rest is history, except Boy just so happens to be a German living in the South of Germany. Follow along as an American girl tries to explore the world she's now a part of and telling the story as she sees it! Kaitlin's expat blog is called The Diary of Sugar and Spice (see listing here)

Meet Kaitlin - American expat living in Germany
Meet Kaitlin - American expat living in Germany

Here's the interview with Kaitlin...

Where are you originally from?
Syracuse, New York, USA. Go CUSE!

In which country and city are you living now?
I am currently living in Germany about one hour Southwest from Stuttgart in a very very VERY small village. Did I mention the village I live in is small?

How long have you lived in Germany and how long are you planning to stay?
I've lived here for two and a half years now with no plans to move at this point!

Why did you move to Germany and what do you do?
I was working for a German company in upstate NY where I met a boy who I fell madly in love with. So much that I decided to move to Germany to be with him forever! Now married, I split my time between teaching Business English and failing ridiculously with the whole "HausFrau" thing!

Our American turned German black lab, Harley
Our American turned German black lab, Harley
Did you bring family with you?
I brought along our black labrador, Harley, who is the greatest best friend an expat girl could have! And yes, he's fluent in both English and German.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
To be honest, the first 3 months felt like vacation. Everything was new from the food to the language to the buildings. Then after reality set in, it got really hard and the transition still isn't easy. Now that summer is here (as I write this) I found a new complaint...WHERE ARE THE AIR CONDITIONERS?!?!

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
It hasn't been easy making friends but I would say the friends that I do have are mostly expats of some sort. I recently made friends with a few of the neighbors who are twice as old as me but makes no difference! A friend is a friend! I found that most were afraid to speak English with me and my not so great German definitely doesn't make it easy for people.

The husband and I at Oktoberfest!
The husband and I at Oktoberfest!
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
When people come to visit me, I like to show them what every day life is like. Taking them to the grocery store is always important because it is different and really fun to see all the different foods and things. But as a tourist, of course the castles and the Alps are great!

What do you enjoy most about living in Germany?
I've really started to enjoy the wellness hotels! There are so great ones around the Alps that have to-die-for views! The food in Germany is outstanding too! They take a lot of pride not just in the quality of food but also the presentation. It's a beautiful thing.

How does the cost of living in Germany compare to the USA?
Many things are much more expensive here. Living in Europe isn't cheap to begin with. I would say make-up/perfume, electronics, furniture, etc are more expensive than in the US. Food on the other hand is much more reasonable and higher quality here in Germany.

Gorgeous view from atop a ski jump looking down at a small lake and the Alps.
Gorgeous view from atop a ski jump looking down at a small lake and the Alps.
What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
Where I am living, if you can't speak German than you will get nowhere. I'm lucky to have my husband who is obviously fluent otherwise, I would have been without health insurance and a visa! I'm still learning the language but it is NOT an easy language at all! Their words are sometimes over 20 letters long! What is that?!

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Germany, what would it be?
Research! Research! Research! Before I moved to Germany I had only been here once for 5 days. When I moved to Germany the only words I knew how to say were "Hello" and "My butt is cold." That didn't get me far when I moved here. I was a typical egotistical American thinking that everyone would speak English with me and that was certainly not the case! But before moving anywhere, I suggest visiting several times to make sure it's something you really want to do. And not just visit the touristy things. Go to the grocery store, the furniture store, do things that will be every day life for you.

Hiking in the Alps I captured this picture of a waterfall across the way. This is my absolute FAVORITE picture!
Hiking in the Alps I captured this picture of a waterfall across the way. This is my absolute FAVORITE picture!
What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
The hardest part has been being here without my family and friends. I miss them more each day but the hardest thing is not being able to share the experiences with them. I get to see all these gorgeous things like the Alps and giant castles and villages that are older than dirt and I don't have them here to share it with.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
Eventually the husband and I want to move back to the US to live for good. When this happens, I think we will repatriate really well. We visit the US as often as possible and it's as if we never left.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Learn the Language as best as you can before moving.
  2. Find a translation service if you don't have someone to help you with government items like obtaining a visa and health insurance!
  3. Make a plan to return home when you're feeling homesick. Having something to look forward to really helps.Or have the family send care packages often to lift your spirits!
  4. Completely throw yourself into the culture and soak it up like a sponge.
  5. Remember to live in the "now." In ten years from the day you moved you will have so many incredible stories and experiences to share that most people would never get a chance to live in their lifetime. Try to remember that when you're feeling annoyed.

Neuschwanstein Castle in all it's glory! Castles are another great reason to visit Germany. If only I was a real princess.
Neuschwanstein Castle in all it's glory! Castles are another great reason to visit Germany. If only I was a real princess.
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
I initially started the blog to share with my family. Knowing they could follow along in some way with my life helped me. Then the blog just sort of grew through social media. It's been such a blast sharing my experiences with strangers around the world. I try to keep it real when I write about the ups and downs of being an expat and I think people respect that, or at least I hope!

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
I can be contacted through my blog, followed on twitter @DiarySugarSpice (see links below) or you can follow along on the blog's Facebook page for special updates and pictures here: I think I covered it all! Too many social media sites to keep track of, I might have to quit my day job!

About the author

Expat Blog ListingKaitlin is an American expat living in Germany. Blog description: Tales of one girl's journey living in a new country with the love of her life and their furry friend, Harley
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Comments » There is 1 comment

Vanessa Camozzi wrote 7 years ago:

Great interview, very interesting!

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