American Expat Living in Germany, Interview With Deanna

Published: 9 Aug at 10 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Germany
Deanna is a Las Vegas native who has recently joined the expat community. Deanna and her husband decided to pack up what they could, sold the rest and followed their dream of relocating to Germany. Deanna is a medical social worker with a focus on pediatrics turned stay at home mom; at least for the next year anyway. Deanna exchanged her "city girl" ways for a slower paced life lived along The Mosel River. Deanna's expat blog is called From Casinos To Castles (see listing here)

Meet Deanna - American expat in Germany
Meet Deanna - American expat in Germany

Here's the interview with Deanna...

Where are you originally from?
I was born in Las Vegas, lived in Texas for about 17 years, moved back to Las Vegas and stayed for 12 years, moved to Germany for 2.5 years, moved to Indiana for 2.5 years and now I am back in Germany. So, I guess I am a bit of a gypsy! But, I claim Las Vegas as my home and where I am from because aside from Germany, it is the only other place I'd rather be.

In which country and city are you living now?
We live in a small village about 10-15 minutes away from Trier in the western part of Germany closest to Luxembourg.

How long have you lived in Germany and how long are you planning to stay?
We moved here in May if this year (2013) and we plan to live here permanently; finally even looking into buying our first home! How is that for a couple of gypsies?

Why did you move to Germany and what do you do?
We always planned to return to Germany, but when we had our son, we decided that we needed to return prior to school age. We wanted to raise our son around family however, my husband's very large family is here and my small family is in Las Vegas. As a result, we made the choice we felt was best for all of us and since the plan was always to return, Germany was the obvious choice. I have a Master's Degree in Social Work with a former career as a medical pediatric social worker, but I am currently a SAHM (stay-at-home-mom) until our little man starts German kindergarten next year.

Overview of my village and The Mosel
Overview of my village and The Mosel
Did you bring family with you?
Yes, me, my husband and our one year old boy made the journey across the Atlantic.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
So far it has been easier than when I moved here for the first time in 2008, but having a child brings upon a whole new set of challenges; doctor's visits, illness and just getting out and exploring. I don't find that the German culture is too different than that of the American lifestyle.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
Since I lived here before, I still have the friends I made then (the few Americans still here with the US military) as well as my husband's friends. However, I do find it difficult to make new friends on my own, but that is mainly because of the language barrier. I am not yet fluent and while most Germans know and understand English, they can be just as uncomfortable speaking it as I am speaking German. As a result, I do find myself searching for other expats or Americans and this has been successful for me so far. The expat community is larger than you think!

Vineyards and The Mosel
Vineyards and The Mosel
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
We live right by The Mosel River which is surrounded by gorgeous vineyards. There are river cruises you can participate in, boating, skiing, bicycle tours as well as wine probes and gorgeous restaurants/hotels. In Trier (the oldest city in Germany), you can find many historic sites such as the Porta Nigra as well as superb outdoor shopping.

What do you enjoy most about living in Germany?
What I missed the most about Germany while living in the states, was the lifestyle. It can be hard to explain unless you have lived here, but the pace is just slower and people live more simply; you buy only what you need, you work the hours you're supposed to and leave work at the office and you play hard on your free time. Family time is encouraged and valued here as well as protecting the environment. Our stress levels are always dramatically lower here and our overall feeling of health and well being is better.

How does the cost of living in Germany compare to the US?
I have found that food/groceries are much more reasonable, but household goods/clothing may be a bit more expensive. Furniture seems mostly comparable although expats beware that most apartments and houses do not come with kitchens which can be a little pricey. I think renting is also similar but buying a home is much more expensive. You have to buy your land and build your home and homes are built very differently here.

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
To be honest, everything being closed on Sundays (except gas stations and restaurants) is a love/hate relationship for me. I think it rings true to maintaining the value of family time, but sometimes this family wants to shop on Sundays!

Amazing Eis Cafe Treat
Amazing Eis Cafe Treat
If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Learn about the culture is my number one with language coming in second. If you don't understand the culture, it is easy to be put off by some things. Many Americans I have spoken with describe Germans as being rude because they don't say "hi" and "how are you" and sometimes even "please and thank you". But I learned before moving here originally that they are not a culture of casual pleasantries. For instance, asking how you are doing is usually something they would ask a friend or family member. In some ways, they are just more formal and private than Americans, but it is typically not an indication of their personality.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
The language barrier and learning the language is absolutely the hardest part. Not so much because the language is hard to learn (words are easy, grammar is hard), but because it takes time and just doesn't happen overnight. So, in the meantime, my poor husband has to be my personal translator for anything of necessity! Think about that for just a minute and you can imagine how frustrating it can be! But when you are surrounded by another language, you will be surprised how quickly you learn.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
This is home! :)

Trier Porta Nigra
Trier Porta Nigra
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
Aside from all of the technical stuff (visas, international driver's license, etc) these are my top 5 tips:
  1. First and foremost learn about the German culture and cultural norms.
  2. Start becoming familiar with language.
  3. Get out there and explore your new home! Every time you venture out, you will become more at home with your surroundings.
  4. Do your best to try new things! So many times when I go out to eat, I just randomly select something in the menu. Everything is new, so why not try it all?
  5. If you will be driving, invest in a GPS!

Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
From Casinos to Castles is our story; this American girl, her German husband and their Germerican son relocating to Germany for good. My blog is about the whole journey, both physically and mentally, the ups and downs, the good and the bad.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
I am an open book and love meeting new people, so feel free to find me on my blog (see link below) and Facebook:

About the author

Expat Blog ListingDeanna is an American expat living in Germany. Blog description: An American girl, her German husband and their Germerican son relocate to Germany for good.
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