opinion · personal · Expat/Immigrant Experience

The Autostadt VS AutoWorld


I’ve never been a car enthusiast. Unless it’s a sports car or several decades old, I have no idea what my husband finds so appealing when he points out a “cool” car.  So it may come as a surprise to some people when they find out that my favorite place to go as a very young child was AutoWorld, the short-lived “amusement park” in Flint, Michigan, USA.

If I’m being honest, none of my memories of AutoWorld include a single, solitary car. I don’t even remember the giant engine they had on display. My strongest memory is of a creepy animatronic man with what I thought were fireflies in his head. I only found out later, as an adult, that this memory wasn’t just some early childhood fever dream; one of AutoWorld’s “attractions” included a life-size replica of Flint in the 1900’s, which began at the cabin of Jacob Smith, the city’s founder. Good old Jacob wasn’t so much animatronic as he was a mannequin, and the “fireflies” were actually a video about Flint being projected on his blank face. So, still creepy; just in a different way.

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Expat/Immigrant Experience · personal

Unexpected Differences: It’s Rainy and there are Slugs Everywhere

A small lake near our apartment on a rare sunny(ish) day.

After nearly dying from the heatwave in NYC, the cooler temperatures here were a welcome change.

…for the first day or so. Now, I’m getting a little tired of all the rain. Of all the ideas about Germany that I had in my head, a lot of rain wasn’t one of them.

Mercifully, the weather has taken a nicer turn over the past two days, but it’s cold by the time the sun sets. I didn’t expect that, so all of my hoodies, sweaters and jackets are in our container, which we still haven’t received. I finally gave in last week and bought a new light jacket, which has really come in handy.

In terms of getting settled in, our kitchen is mostly done now and we can finally cook at home! Hooray! We’ve also made a fair amount of progress in getting my temporary residency established. I probably won’t have my card until November, which means I can’t apply for work. If we’re being honest, even if I could legally work right now, I don’t think most employers here are eager to hire someone with the German linguistic skills of a 4-year-old.

“Warum sollten wir unbedingt Sie nehmen?”

“Ich mag Äpfel. Wo sind die Toiletten? Tschüsssssssss!”

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Expat/Immigrant Experience · personal

First Day in Germany, First Day in “Poo-partment”

Not our new apartment, but it is a nearby local business that is both topical AND delighted my inner 13-year-old boy.

Today marks two weeks since we’ve arrived in Germany! We’ve been fairly occupied with cleaning up our apartment, registering our marriage with the city, and getting everything in order for me to be able to stay and work here.

We’ve been lucky so far; some people who temporarily work overseas have to sell their apartments, and then have to find a new one when they return. Finding an apartment seems to be much more difficult here than it was back home in Detroit; some acquaintances of ours are also moving back to Germany soon, and they expect to be living in a hotel for up to three months while searching for a new apartment!

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