Its been five months now since we moved from Finland to Germany. Back in Finland we barely had any weird encounters when it came to our interracial relationship. Sure there was this one neighbour who occasionally broke parts of our car, or there was the creepy old lady talking about the supreme white race but otherwise there were not many troubles. Also communicating was never a problem as pretty much everyone spoke English. But now we live in Germany and life is a bit different here.
First of all I want to say that these are just my/ our experiences which are not giving any real overview what is going in Germany in general. With what shall I begin? Of course, registering in this country.
My wife has the Chinese citizenship and thus needed once again a residence permit. It pretty much didn’t matter at all that she had already a permanent European residence permit as apparently Germany is playing its own game. Thankfully it was an easy process as we have a child, little Nathan, together who has the German nationality because of Jus sanguinis the right of blood. However even though it was an easy process and we had all documents ready it appears that no one in the immigration office knows a word in English. Furthermore Germany seems to have missed the digital age and everything is kept on paper in folders. I am not exaggerating when I say that over half of the office was full of extremely thick folders, the amount was unreal and was already comical in my opinion.
Next thing are some few people who are apparently troubled by foreigners. Even though Germany has already for a long time a high number of immigrants it seems that many Germans still haven’t adjusted to this. Weird looks on the street when we go for a walk are not that uncommon. Mind you, it is still far away from the constant stares you get as a foreigner in China but it is uncomfortable. I haven’t heard any bad comments yet except people wondering why I would marry a Chinese woman but we do have some odd neighbours. It seems some weird person is going through the paper trash to collect all mail which is addressed to us and takes them out to spread them all over the street. Only our mail…
In the same trash you also throw cardboard boxes of which we had plenty due to moving and buying a lot of new things for the apartment. Diligent me always flattens the boxes so that they don’t take too much space in the trash. But recently someone, probably the same person, started to reassemble these boxes and leave them there. Due to this we had already many complaints that our cardboard boxes are taking too much space etc.
What else makes life harder for us? Well, it is pretty much the language. As mentioned before, no one really speaks or wants to speak English. Going to the doctor for a checkup for the baby is a challenge as the doctors do not speak English. In general getting anything done is so hard here as they want also all documents in German. I do not even want to think about how much money we spent do get all kinds of documents translated AND verified.
The language problems continues with Nathan. We want to get him into a kindergarten but there will be most likely trouble that he won’t speak good enough German. You know, in many kindergartens they discourage growing up bilingual! It seems to me that Germany did not evolve at all in these aspects in the past half century.
I wonder when there will be a time when people won’t stare at us anymore in the streets, when they won’t make stupid comments when I say that I am married to a Chinese woman and that there won’t be an issue anymore to show proudly that German is just another language in your repertoire. I know that I shouldn’t really complain but some of these things are just annoying on a daily basis. Do I speak for every interracial couple in Germany? No, definitely not. It is so different here depending where you live and what the background of each interracial couple is. I just wish that in future Germany and its people will get some better idea on how things should work when it comes to integrate “foreigners” into their own weird German world.
Do you have own experiences to share about weird things in your country as an interracial couple?
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