Stories from my life and travels as an American immigrant in Germany!

Moving to Germany as an American

Moving to Germany as an American

I’ve known for some time that a moving to Germany was a very real possibility. My fiancé, Jan, is a German citizen here on a work Visa.

It seemed so far off, though, that I didn’t really worry too much about what such a change would really mean. This was especially true when we thought he might extend the contract one more year; for a while, we thought we would be here until October 2018. Now, we may be moving to Germany as early as this May, but certainly no later than the beginning of this October.

It’s a strange feeling, going from believing that I had an extra year in the U.S., to finding out I may actually have even less time than was originally planned. Don’t get me wrong: I’m excited for the move, and I believe it’s the right choice for both of us. Although I am concerned about the rising popularity of the AFD, I still believe Germany is a much better fit than the U.S. for a progressive like myself.

I would be lying, though, if I said I wasn’t nervous.

Now, obviously, the reasons why I’m anxious could fill a list a mile long. For the most part, however, I know that they’re temporary concerns that will be assuaged over the long-term. For example, I know that I will eventually become fluent in German. Sure, it’s taking me longer than I had anticipated; but, I am confident that I will get there sooner than later. I also know that the move will force me to learn much faster out of necessity; a fact that ties my stomach into knots. I can’t help but think about the unavoidable embarrassing situations ahead of me, but I at least I can tell myself that (eventually) it will all work out.

My primary fear is that I will not be able to make any new friends in Germany, and I will thus end up bored and lonely for the rest of my days. That might sound a bit melodramatic to some, but I’ve only recently gotten past many of my social anxieties, and just thinking about starting over has been keeping me up at night, as of late.

Making friends as an adult is hard. Making them when you’re at the age most people have kids is, well, harder. I’m happy to make friends with people who have kids, but that doesn’t mean they’re looking for new friends; their lives are much busier, and it’s probably hard enough just to maintain the friendships they already have. Now, obviously, I know that not everyone my age has a kid; but, that still doesn’t mean the child-free are looking for new friendships, either.

Logically, I know that I really am being dramatic If I can make friends after moving to the metro Detroit area, then I can surely make them after moving to Germany. Yes, it will likely be harder due to things like language and cultural differences, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. If other people can make friends in foreign countries, surely even I can do it if I put forth some effort.

…but it’s still scary, nonetheless.

I’m not even going to get into my fears about what will happen to the friendships I’ve recently made here in the U.S. I keep telling myself that we will all remain in touch. Deep down, though, I know that may only be over Facebook. That, of course, is no one’s fault; flights are expensive, after all.

So, I want to focus on the good! I really enjoyed the two weeks I spent in Germany over Christmas break in 2015. I know a vacation is far different than actually living somewhere, of course; but I am looking forward to exploring the country, as well as the rest of Europe.

Regardless of how worried I may be about some of the challenges I will face after moving to Germany, I am still excited for what will, undoubtedly, be a very exciting chapter in our lives. And even if I don’t, in fact, make a single new friend, I will never really be lonely. Not with Jan by my side.

Reader Comments

  1. I’ve never been to Germany, but it sounds like a good opportunity. Europe itself is really nice so you’ll probably be able to travel around too. 🙂 As someone who moved like 4x as a kid, I know it’s hard to make friends when moving (and even harder as an adult) but I think you’ll be okay.

    1. I hope I’ll be OK, and I think deep down I know I will be. But anxiety can sometimes be a little overwhelming. Thanks for the vote of confidence, though!

  2. That’s similar to a friend of mine whose spouse was relocated to Germany. He’s in the army. She ended up staying in the U.S. and bought a house, so they will be living in separate countries for the next couple years or however long they decide to keep him there. I am actually a little jealous that you get to go have a fresh start somewhere new. However I do understand your fears and reasons for having anxiety about moving there. Making friends as an adult is really hard, but easier when you are in a workplace or group (art class, maybe a writing group or book group?) and given the opportunity to get to know people. The other plus, is that you’ll likely learn to speak German? (If you don’t already) That’s kind of awesome.

    1. Yes, it’s going to be a great adventure with a fresh start, for sure. I’m learning German now, and it’s been a slow process, but I know it will speed up quite a bit once I move. 🙂

      Thanks for reading!

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