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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81 thoughts on “Living as an interracial couple in Germany”
I thought China and Germany were cool; I know a lot of Chinese who have visited Germany. I hope there will be more open-minded attitudes in the future. Aren’t all humans going to be interracial in a few generations? Let’s speed it up, humanity!
I don’t know much about Finland, but I just read Murakami’s new book Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki that has a Japanese character go there and it seemed nice for Asians and nice for everyone in general.
Yeah Finland is a pretty good place to go as a foreigner as long as they don’t mind eight months of darkness/ winter 🙂
But sadly Finland is changing slowly. All over Europe the right wing groups are gaining power and thus one of them is also in parliament in Finland now …
oh, that neighbor responsible for mail and boxes sound really creepy. you can’t put like any small cheap camera outside? or something? that’s like a prelude to stalking I’m surprised, Germany has so many foreigners and it doesn’t seem to be a problem but Chinese foreigner is? for me – if you don’t like, then don’t like everyone, the only fair way. but maybe just the place you live never really had any Asians around and they don’t know what to expect? there are many stupid stereotypes like girls marry for the citizenship bla bla and older generation seems to believe in those. I hope everything can be sorted out 🙂
In Poland we went to a Christmas mass and everyone stared on a left hand side of the church on Sing instead of the front at the alter 😀
There are manystupid people out there. I really hope it will change over time, I don’t have any hope it will be in my lifetime but perhaps my son will see those times at some point 🙂
It seems like creepy people follow you around the world! I wonder why people like to rebuild your cardboard boxes, and how they have so much time to do it.
It seems strange that Germany would not promote bilingual studies more, since it is in the middle of Europe. Do you speak German fluently? Do you plan to stay in Germany for a long time? I hope that integrating into German life will get easier!
I speak german fluently, afterall I grew up here, even in the same building 🙂
I believe people who do this kind of thing are either unemployed or already in retirement, otherwise I don’t think anyone would waste so much time on doing these things.
In Germany it is already hard to find places to study English at early age. My wife is in a german course now and everything is taught in german, no teacher can speak English…
Nathan doing yoga, XD
Do you think things would be different in a bigger and more cosmopolitan city like Berlin or Hamburg?
I think there it also depends on the area. There are more cosmopolitan areas of hamburg and then there are parts which are like secluded villages 🙂
But yes, I think it could be perhaps easier in a big city rather than in this little town
Quite surprised to hear that actually, I thought Germany was ahead of the game really when it comes to immigration/bilingualism.
I wonder whether we will experience similar things in the UK in the future.
Are you in a small city?
We live in a small city, about 80k people living here. Germany seems to really have a problem adjusting to this near world. As education and integrating foreigners is regulated by each state and not the government it will takes ages until there is a unified system happening. The states just have too much power for example when changing school from one state to another the kid will have tons of problems because the new school might have an entire different study plan eg books, foreign languages and level
That is terrible to hear your family gets stared at so much in the streets. And I was always under the impressions Germany was very progressive and accepting of various races. Crazy to hear the immigration office hasn’t moved on to the digital world yet…that is very scary because if there is a fire or a flood there and, well, you know…
Nathan seems very smart and inquisitive. I’m sure he’ll pick up German fluently in the coming years 🙂
People going through your trash – how horrid. An invasion of privacy…and in a way also not really since you’ve thrown the rubbish out. It’s stupid to go through rubbish bins anyway since you don’t know what’s in there and you can get hurt. I hope things get better soon 🙂
It is not just the immigration office. Any institution here has missed the digital age. This is why I had to send copies of my documents dozens of times, even to the same institution, just different department as they can’t even share the documents as they are all on paper…
This thing of going through the trash is really creepy. I lived here before as a child and once we threw away my old school stuff. Next day my old homework appeared in the mailboxes of the neighbours…
I didn’t realise it was so backward there. But you never know, one day it might all go digital. Surely at some point they will realise how more efficient going digital actually is.
Creepy is really the right word to describe your trash situation. It makes no sense. Maybe the neighbours thought someone threw the homework out by accident. If they are looking into your rubbish, maybe they are peeping into your apartment too. I hope not
I really hope that we dont have some weird old stalker around here 🙂
Germany always prides itself of being so far ahead but in reality pretty much everything is far behind except very few things
Love the picture of Nathan doing yoga. If he doesn’t get into a kindergarten, maybe he can start and be an instructor at a yoga studio! 🙂 Just joking! 😉
Throwing your mail around and reconstructing the flatten boxes just sounds, in the words of Lina, creepy. And strange. And weird. And worthy of a camera.
I get stared at A LOT in Taiwan but not in a creepy bad way. People are just curious about where you are from. In Canada, everyone associates my husband with me (small town, remember), so nothing mean is ever said to him.
And omg, you and your wife’s hair have the same ‘swish’ action to the side happening in the first picture.
OMG never noticed that before. It is nearly exactly the same 🙂
In China so many people stare at us. The only method I found to sto it is to walk around my video camera and pointing it at those people, you can’t imagine how quickly they turn the eyes away 🙂
Here are even rather many Asians living compared to the place where we have lived in Finland however there no one seemed to mind and now we have eyes following us. So strange to have it here
A video camera? That is clever!! 🙂
I’m following your blog since a while, as I’m a German women with a Japanese partner.
He lives in Germany since 5 years, but due to the crazy amount of work he does every day, he rarely finds time to study German and we basically communicate in English.
So far I helped him a lot on his visits to administration (residence permit and so on) and when we moved together I managed the whole process alone. To be honest, after a while I started feeling a bit annoyed. And as we are also planning on having a child sooner or later, I’m realizing how important it is for me, that his German skills improve. I want to rely on him and need clearly more support with daily life tasks.
As an interracial couple we never get stares or comments. But that is perhaps because we live in a “university-city” in northern Germany with a lot of foreign students. But if I think about something like “Pegida” I start feeling worried about his well-being.
Like you, I’m surprised from time to time that (young) people working in administrative offices often don’t speak English (or refuse to do it), even in the alien department!
Just in one case I was positively surprised when an elderly lady at the fiance office spoke to my boyfriend in rather good English, telling him that the staff gets advanced training in English.
I can imagine, that for your wife it will pay off in the future that she is now “forced” to learn German. I work in a very international field and see many foreign wifes (speaking neither German nor English) leading a very isolated life at home, feeling unhappy and even depressed after a while as they always depend on their husband and can’t integrate into society.
By the way, compliments on your blog! It’s so informative and amusing and I like how you take the time to reply to comments. Thanks for sharing your stories and experiences.
Thank you for taking your time to read my blog posts and comment 🙂
For me it is like a therapy to write all the things down because otherwise the daily crazyiness would just drive me insane! Especially when my mother-in-law is around (only 3 months left of freedom till she is arriving)
Germany can make a lot of things really really hard. Everything seems to be set in stone, no real flexibility in the whole system. For example my wife is required to go to this language course and it is very good for her. However I know one guy who speaks German better than most Germans as he has studied the language for a long time but he was forced to attend the same kind of integration language course in order to maintain his residence permit. What a weird world this is.
I hope your partner will get around soon to get his German skills settled. The longer you wait the harder it will be because then you will find out ways how to deal with the daily life without needing German at all. I know what I am talking about as my wife did so in Finland. Sure she knows some Finnish but she never ever needed it in daily life and thus after eight years there she could barely speak…
Oh wow, I wasn’t expecting anything like this from Germany… northern Europeans are supposed to be tolerant, advanced and everything…
When you said that about some car parts being broken in Finland, do you mean someone broke them in purpose? And the crazy neighbour taking things from the trash, do you have anything like a building representative you can talk to? I agree to setting a camera and finding who it is, based on the amount of time spent it has to be a bored retired old person…
Yeah Germany is not really up to date and Germany is more like middle aged middle Europe rather than northern Europe :p
Well, the antenna has been broken off once, license plates removed, scratches all over the car and jokes like that…
Sadly no cameras can be set up due to the really strict privacy laws here in Germany. Nothing is allowed liek that and can get you in much trouble. 😦
Oh the stories I have from living in (a small village in) Germany, and I was only there for 4-5 months! I got stared at *all the time*, which I felt was very strange, especially since I am often mistaken to be German while there. (Which I don’t mind per se, but I feel bad that I disappoint them every time my mangled German comes through. “Ein…umm…eine?…ahhh nevermind…ZWEI Brötchen bitte.” 😀 )
Hopefully people will settle down and get used to this “strange” apparition before their eyes. 😛
I know, it really does seem Germany is taking its sweet time to adapt to this new world full of strange people who dont speak this wonderful German language 😀
Maybe you should rename your blog into “Crazy German Neighbours”. Reassembling the cardboard boxes so people will complain that you don’t follow the rules is kind of creative, but in a really creepy and bad way. Watch your step!
My neighbours seem to be strange wherever I live. First in Finland and now here in Germany.
But is really surprising how much trouble some people go through just to get on the nerves of others…
I suppose we are all surprised by Germany’s behavior, but could tell you some stories re: places I have been in the States that would surprise many folks, too. I think the difference lies in exposure, therefore, small town vs city.
I hope your wife is okay with all of this. I think as long as you feel safe, that’s the most important thing. The cardboard boxes thing was odd and eccentric. I’d burn whatever is important that you don’t want the “trash collectors” to see.
And I would also make it a big deal to share with your neighbors and friends what’s been going on. Take pictures of your mail scattered, the boxes re-assembled, etc. You might even want to make a report to the cops, in the States, going through someoene else’s mail is a violation of the law. I think if you make it well known, make some noise, they will stop.
No matter the country, there will be always the creepy neighbour 🙂
I wish I could burn important papers but we dont have the needed equipment here/ it is not allowed in this building. However I will try to get my hands on a small document destroyer just to make sure that this weirdo neighnour gets less opportunity to annoy us!
The cops wouldnt really do anything as we have no idea yet who it might be. Our apartment complex got roughly 200 people living here so it will be a bit hard to find out (yet) who it is 🙂
Document stredder. Brilliant. Well, you can still take photos and let the cops know that SOMEONE in the bldg is going through your mail. Or you can talk to the manager of the bldg, just let them know and anyone else!
We have this general building management but they are also responsible for dozens of other buildings in this city. They surely can try however it is hard to get anything through to them except at the bi annual apartment owner meetings. Next time I will try to take photos, last few times I was just too pissed at the situation to even considering using my phone to document it 🙂
Yeah, send them a letter anyway. Just a FYI, kind of thing. I say document all you can and post it if you can in the common area of the building b/c what you and your wife are having to deal with is BULLshit.
Wow, that neighbor is really strange. Maybe, if you know who it is, you should ring the door and ask him, why he is doing it? I haven’t had such experience. Well, I’m not “white”, ha. I only get positive comments about how well I can speak German. But I think, there is also a difference from city to city. Munich, Düsseldorf, Berlin, Dresden, Frankfurt, Asian looking people are respected differently. At least, that is my feeling.
Yes, it really depends on the area or city where you are. Each place is a bit different and right now this little city here is not that well with foreigners (yet). This city is actually more known for its right wing club ….
Oh, poor you… Hm, maybe you do some Chinese dumplings or other Chinese things Germans would also like to eat, ring the door and say “hello, we are your new neighbors!” . I baked some muffins and did that with the German neighbors in our first apartment. It helped so much that they at least said “hello, how are you!” afterwards, when we then met each other randomly in the house.
Lets see if we will get around and go around our neighbours with some snacks at some point. Right now we just dont feel like it even though we know that we should try something like that
That’s quite surprising to hear actually :O I thought Germany would be more open to foreigners, compared to what Norway is .. And about that creepy neighbor I would totally put up a camera like Lina said, that’s just creepy..!
Actually my boss in China, is from Germany and she opened the kindergarten I’ll be working in, and these are her exact words “In Germany we really like bilingual kindergartens and schools..” That may just be her opinion though, but I can totally relate to getting all paper work translated and verified, I just went through that process before I moved back to China >.<
In kindergartens they prefer only German language as it will make life much easier for the care takers. When the child cant really communicate they will obviously have harder time. But even going against learning from birth on another language(s) is really annoying me here, really stupid attitude in so many places here.
Ive been only once in Norway so I dont really know anything about it (was only in Oslo for three days, mostly spent in the swimming pool—) however from my creepy mmorpg life I know many Norwegians who are more opened minded as few are also in “interracial” relationships and can relate to my troubles here but are also saying how much better it is in their country :p
I’ve thought of this topic a great deal and some of it because I genuinely enjoy being a bit of an anomaly 🙂 Silly? Perhaps. There’s quite a lot I love about small town Germany (like 4 thousand people), very much. Given a choice when it comes to (for example) raising a child and starting a family I would much much rather small German town than the major cities in China or the US.
I hope you don’t worry too much about little Nathan, throwing a child right into a language is really just wonderful (again, in my humble opinion). I’ve been the little Chinese girl thrown into Swiss, German, English, American and (in one terrible few months) Portuguese schools. Looking back it’s amazing how easily one picks up things.
I find it all very very amusing (more than I should perhaps) but you could begin to share those articles on why men are preferring Asian women, and that article way back on “Asian trophy wives” (I don’t mean this seriously) but it’s just a good laugh.
A part of me likes being branded as the token Asian girl in certain places, when you do (can’t believe someone actually mentioned the same above!) your best to participate in communities, bake things for the neighbors, smile and greet people….shamelessly speak the language and joke about your errors. It’s great. People (even the elderly) have a hard time making you the suspicious evil in the building when they’ve received your smile and eaten your Brunsli.
….There is a chance everything your wife does will be spoken of as “a chinese thing” like “oh yes the traditional Chinese christmas cookies” or the “Chinese exercise routine.” Which completely add a bit of fun to life, right?
We will have to see what way will be best for us. Right now we still need to adapt to this strange German world. I think what it makes it even harder to find a clear way is that I work from early morning till afternoon and thus can’t really help my wife at all during her daytime struggles.
I don’t know whether to like small towns/ villages in Germany. We have plenty around the our small city so perhaps they might be a future residence when we will start searching for a new house somewhen in the future.
Writing more about relationship between white male and asian female? I might write more about it but up till now I never really had it on my mind as just too many other things keep on happening 🙂
Your mail/trash situation sounds so bizarre! Some people are crazy indeed. Also, kids pick up on languages so quickly; I’m surprised that a European country in 2015 doesn’t promote bilingualism. We have two English-speaking kids here in our expat village who have only ever gone to a local Chinese school (all classes are in Mandarin). They speak better Mandarin than their Western parents. Hope things get a little easier for both you and your wife and Nathan!
Probably middle europe is just too traditional. I also don’t get why they are so backwards here but it might be also because it is.a little town afterall 🙂
Hmmmm. My partner is German-Canadian. He immigrated to Canada when he was 7 yr. old just few yrs. after WWII ended.
We’ve been together for nearly 24 yrs. as partners.
In your description of the German system for obtaining full citizenship/residency rights, as being inflexible…it sounds “German”. 🙂 Very cut-dried, organized, “straight” and not dealing with legal options/variations.
He jokes about the “stoic” German sensibility..their technical wizardary, attention to detail, order and hard work ethic tendencies. In my personal opinion there’s actually similarities between German working professionals and Asian professionals!
Through the global German engineering firm that I worked for in Vancouver area, I met some German engineers and their Asian wives. Some of their wives did learn German and became trilingual. Others, not so much.
I had 2 German university educated women work for me in our dept. They were in their mid to late twenties. They told me that the German school system now requires students to learn some English. But this maybe similar for the mandatory French learning requirement for Canadian school children. I only learned up to Gr. 2-3 level equivalent of French. But it is helpful whenever I go to Quebec or to France.
Where do you live in Germany?
Of course, I get this powerful sense that younger generations are trying to live down/forget the ugly Nazi history, by being as liberal/ global in their public attitudes. However to me, the strongest indicator of integration of non-Germans, non-whites who become German citizens are:
elected in political office
senior management positions in govn’t and corporations
My partner and I were at an international cycling conference in Copenhagen in 2010. Well over 180 people in the rm. Did anyone approach us to speak? No. For dinner, we sat with a bunch of cycling advocates, from Germany, France. It was ok but really they weren’t very interested in know much…focus was on the IFA soccer game involving Germany in a match.
And I am with a partner who can speak everyday German! I have a partner is a gracious guy but maybe he just wasn’t cool enough for these young bucks…https://cyclewriteblog.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/sharing-love-cycling-passion-and-idiosyncrasies/
Dearie blames himself for not being enough of a small talk person. I think he’s wrong…but anyway…
I admit that I haven’t picked up more German words beyond certain food dishes :), thank you, good morning, salut, etc.
By the way, I have 4 out of 7 nieces and nephews who are half Chinese and half white.
You are right, Germany is very inflexible in a kind that they think their system is the best/ the only one.
Even though you learn English from grade five onwards here, as the first foreign language, the success depends on what level of school you visited and what your focus on studies is in the last fewy years of high school. Germany has a school system where the children gets selected after they are ten years old! So you will be asked to go to either a high school, middle school or some basics school. This means that high school startsalready with grade five. Only ten percentage or so finish their high school degree and from that perhaps two percentage take English as a major study subject.
Germany is also a bit strict with formalities, especially when addressing older people. That might have been a reason why there was not much interaction going on between those youngster and your husband.(perhaps, perhaps not, hard to say of course as I ont know how it was there)
And now after reading this it really seems that Germany has many things in common with several Asian cultures except the crappy school system!
By highschool, do you mean the “Gymnasium” and by highschool-degree the “Abitur”?
May I ask, where you got the information, that only 10% of pupils finish the final exam? As far as I know, more than 50% of an age-group of all german students are able to get the highschool-degree. For example at my Gymnasium only 2 out of 70 people failed the Abitur.
You sound, as if you are very frustrated and disappointed by the german system. I hope, you and your family still can find the positive sides of a life in Germany and find happiness. Otherwise, would moving back to Skandinavia (or any other country) be an option for you?
It is the overall amount of students who achieve the high school diplima (Abitur). I think the highest amount should be still Hauptschulabschluss. I got the statistics as I worked on an educational program few years aback comparing the amount of people who achiev their high school degree and go to further studies.
It is roughly 10%. I remember from one study that the amount of people in their working life with Abitur were about 13% (2004 or something like that). Compared to countries like Finland it is insanely low (between 40-50% with high school degree)
When I think back to my high school time it is very frustrating. We were roughly 100 students in grade 5 and only 24 got their abitur. By grade 7 we were already down to 70 students.
The whole system needs a revamp which will be never possible as long as the States (Länder) are responsible for the educational system.
I am adopted and grew up in Denmark. It is very common to adopt children from foreign countries, so I’ve never felt different. It wasn’t until my husband and I moved to Dubai 3 years ago that I had questions regarding my origin, as people down here just don’t get that you can be Korean without the ability to speak the language. Interracial relationships are very common in Dubai and the constellation Asian female-caucasian male is probably the most widespread. Some of them are gold diggers, no doubt about that, and it can be a bit stigmatizing to the entire “category” of couples.I’m shocked though, to hear about your experiences in Germany. That country really should know better.
I know that people should know better but appearently they dontknow it yet themselves 🙂
For example I thought that the situation might prove as the vice chancellor 2013/2014 was Phillip Rössler, a man who has been adopted as a child from Vietnam. Same as you he does not speak his “native” language as he had never interest to know about it before and still does not. This made for some reason. Many people angry in Germany. I don’t know, Germany is a weird country, it feels like as if the people still don’t know where they belong and how the world changing all the time
I have been following your blog for a while now. It is always fun to read about your experiences. I always thought that Germans were more cosmopolitan than other Europeans…I guess I am wrong. Nathan is super cute!
Thank you 🙂
Germany is both cosmopolitan and traditional, depending where you live. We have the bad luck to be stucked in a small city now. Things would be different when living some place else, like Hamburg which has the biggest Chinese community in Germany
Wow. That is just horrible Nathan — and yet not altogether surprising. Sort of reminds me of our experiences in the US as an interracial couple (especially the cardboard box thing). People wouldn’t openly express their dislike towards my husband — they would do it behind his back or our backs, even attempting to sabotage him/us. Be very careful, racists these days are really tricky (and dangerous).
On Sun, Jan 25, 2015 at 11:19 PM, Crazy Chinese Family wrote:
> CrazyChineseFamily posted: “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 “
I’m surprised you have to experience that in Germany 😦 I feel like I have to apologize for my people! What part in Germany do you live in?
However, I have to say when you go to some administrative offices in China, they don’t speak English there either. They might in big cities, but not in smaller ones.
I’m sure your son will catch up quickly in kindergarten, don’t worry! Why do you think they don’t encourage bilingualism there?
Well, if you feel like apolagizing how should I feel as I even lived in this city before for nearly twenty years 🙂
We live in northern Germany, between Hamburg and kiel, in the middle of Schleswig-Holstein
Basically the kindergartens told us that they don’t want any bilingual things going on under their supervision…I also know one caretaker who is actually in one kindergarten where they teach english for th kids however those ones are very rare I this region
Hm. I know where I live, we embrace different cultures, there are many international schools and english kindergardens… maybe you should move to Munich 😛
My city of Neumünster is best known for the Club 88….anything foreign ain’t good here even though it is a city full of immigrants for many decades
Oh and Munich, no thanks, any place south. Of the river elb is dangerous 😀
Interesting. I didn’t realize Germany was that way…
It always depends where you live. For example I live in this little city and life can be really annoying here with these weird people.
In bigger cities like Munich, Hamburg and Berlin it is much more multicultural and I bet we would have much less troubles
It is very sad to read about your bad experiences but also a bit surprising.
When my husband (Asian) came to live with me in Germany I had concerns about just the things that apparently are happening now to you and for the first few months I was very alert about anyone looking strange at us and such.
The relieving “but” for me was that nothing like this ever happened. No comments, no strange looks, nothing.
I think we were just in the right spot, because Düsseldorf has a large population of Japanese (and Chinese) people and about 500 japanese companies in the city and vicinity, so I think people are just used to seeing Asians on the street. Sometimes even leaning to the other annoying species, the people who ONLY want to be together with Asians, especially japanese. My husband had some experiences with this kind (hitting on him with me walking beside him…)
Also, because of the Messe Düsseldorf, there are a lot of foreign visitors at any given time.
That does not mean that Düsseldorf is the best place to be foreign (especially if you are turkish), but in general Asians seem to have not so many problems.
Though Düsseldorf also has at least made a step forward in regards of Digitalization it remains a paperland. You can actually email here a lot of forms in and even receive an email back sometimes (though mostly it is letters) but I know that especially the “Ausländerbehörde” is detemined to force everyone to speak german. And of course take the course… My husband studied German at his university as main subject, but had to take the course nevertheless.
Event though my hometown is very very small (80K for a combination of four cities, my hometown being the smallest) the elementary school have now teach english from the second grade. Two of the kindergardens here are integral, which mainly means that they integrate children with disabilities and that they have groups that has a mixed age structure, but they also accomodate non-german speakers, which I think is great. Then again, it’s just one example I have experience with (because of my nephew with cochlear implants).
So I always thought that everyone around me is learning at least english at quite a young age.
Recently I changed my attitude and am now just grateful for the chances we had. One of my best friends became an english teacher and the tales she brings us from her 11th grade are just gruesome. I think my favorite quote from the is “I hope it claps” (Ich hoffe es klappt = I hope it works)…
To make a long story short, I just wanted to share some of my experience but I really hope that your situation will get better. Jeez, that dumpster person really is creepy. Wish you all the best!
Yeah, from your experience you can see that it really does depend on the area in Germany. Some places are basicaly stoneage time and other are living the new world. I do hope my city will change soonish as we have plenty of foreigner coming here every year and also the Asian community is growing rapidly
I can vouch for your experience actually…only through a short 4 day visit to Berlin a year ago, I received harrassment from some locals on the street more than once! On appearance I look Asian of a Chinese origin, as my parents have a Chinese background and I was born as well as grown up in the UK. So I guess it might have been why…but it did made me laugh afterwords how limited the English vocabulary locals seem to have. Shouting after me calling out; ‘Hey Sushi….’ or ‘China Hello’ didn’t make much sense as I walked away. But it did make me think Gemany is not a place I would like to live in…..so I can understand how difficult it must have been for you and your wife. Hopefully things will improve for you and your family!
English is really not doing that great in Germany 🙂
Through all the comments I read thus far and also some research on my behalf it seems that it really does depend where in Germany you live. Also within cities are huge difference. For example in Berlin are many areas which are thriving thanks to people coming together from all over the world and other places you better dont want to enter when you look foreign!
The disturbing thing about the garbage incident is that it’s sneaky. People who live in China talk about the strange comments some Chinese make, but at least it’s very much out in the open. The person who goes through your paper trash would be an interesting character in a suspense novel. If you ever have time to write one, just think of all the material you’ll have!
Nathan is getting cuter every day.
All these things would make really good material for some stories and as you said especially the person going through our mail.
We will just have to see how it will develope here, it is not that much fun but perhaps I will figure out who is doing it 🙂
Actually i am not surprised to read this at all! The brig out is creepy, but unfortunately neighborly fights are so common in Germany! Especially in smaller villages or more secluded areas of big cities. We had our fair share of those. But honestly I don’t think that has anything to do with you being in an interracial relationship. That neighbor is bored and you are new, so he picked you. It’s one of those at the wrong time at the wrong place things…
About the English speaking thing I cannot understand your frustration. I am sorry but it is germany after all and you cannot except anyone to speak English. It’s always the same when people immigrate to another country. All of a sudden they get angry with the people not speaking English (or any other language for that matter). Even though English is the world language it doesn’t mean everyone has to speak it. Not even doctors and teachers. Why? Because every countries language is also their culture, and I am honestly annoyed by the amount of English words in German tv advertisement! I love this about china, they couldn’t care less about English and keep their own language clean! If however you want your son to go to a bilingual kindergarten than you have to move to a bigger city with a bigger community if foreigners. You cannot expect a smaller city or even a village to provide a bilingual kindergarten. That is very arrogant thinking, sorry for the harsh words. But complaining about having to translate documents into German just seems wrong to me. You decided to move to Germany! Of course you will need the German language! If you move to Spain you will need Spanish! If you move to china you will need Chinese! This is not the people trying to be mean to you but just a simple nationality thing. Globalization is great, don’t get me wrong. I like how it got easier to travel arround but in mine opinion every country has to protect its own culture, heritage and language.
Also why people might stare at you might be because you are a Westernguy with an Asian wife. You know the stories about ugly unachieving Germans who go to Thailand to buy a wife? Unfortunately those stories are very alive in Germany and make it normal couple like you guys harder. They will get used to it. It seems the place you live is not that big so after a while they will know you and know your story and stop staring.
I think especially because Germany has become an immigration country German people are very weary of more immigrants. German people have gotten very frustrated with immigrants and that frustration can easily turn into hate and violence in some parts. It’s a huge problem caused by the government who does every single immigrant into the country! All those refugees, sometimes criminals or people without education all get into te country! But “good” foreigners, I mean foreigners with education, a degree and the ability to do something for Germany’s economy just don’t get into the country… But well that’s another problem we won’t be able to fix anyway.
I wish you and you little family to settle in soon. After all it just has been five months, wait and see how it is after a year.
I was just wondering, will your wife be learning German? Or going to work in Germany? Maybe you can write a post about all the procedures you had to go through for getting the visa and what the visa entitles her to do in Germany 🙂
The problem with German and English language is basicaly than it got so much worse over the years. We have here in our neighbourhood many older and elderly people in their 50s-90s. Nearly all of them speak English rather good and then suddenly the generation between 30 and 50 know only “hello”? There is seriously something wrong. Furthermore I have lived over the past decade in many different countries. Even countries like France I had more success with people speaking English than in Germany and France is known for their position towards foreign languages.
Sure I share your sentiment that there is too much English being misused in everyday life and I am not talking of increasing this but basic conversations would be great.
Howcome doctors in any other country seem to posses knowledge of the language called English and then in Germany it is not possible? No matter where I had been in Russia, China, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Greece, France and many more countries I have never experienced such a bit level of English in the people I tried to communicate with. I know I cant speak of the overall level of the population as I only encounter so few however these kind of things I have read all over different forums, blogs and news articles. Germany is just leagues behind when it comes to English. Sure it makes some sense to have certain main documents in German but why English documents work in other countries but here? It is very frustrating especially after paying so much for the documents and handing them in just that they tell you to go once again to another department and to bring these translations again. Mind you they mostly dont hand you back the papers except originals so you have to order an extra bunch of certified version which again cost more money…
I know about the steorotype of Germans buying their wives from Thailand and whatnot. However in this city at least anybody seemed to be stared at who doesnt look German or of Turkish origins. To make matters worse this city has been known for decades for its Right Wing Club and its clubhouse (even featured in the news of other countries..)
The whole procedure for the Visa was very simple due to our backgrounds so I dont think I will write about this thing. Basicaly we just went to the migration office, stated our purpose, had all ID’s, birth certificates, marriage papers etc ready and then had to come a week later to fill in the last documents. It was so easy as we had been married already for two years and got married ina EU country. Furthermore our Son got the German nationality so she did not even had to provide any language certificate which would be otherwise neccessary. However as we are inviting MIL again we have a mountain load of things to prepare so I guess I will write about that one later.
For now my wife is in a six month German language course. Everyday from 8am till 12:20pm. In the end of the course she will get the B1 certificate and from that point on we have to see what other courses are offered here. B2 level will be neccessary to get any jobs here so we will have to figure out where to get this one done
I like your ‘future Germany’ 😉 Maybe we could have it all over the globe??
As for us… as my partner is Anglo-Indian, when folks meet us for the 1st time they refuse to believe he is Indian, has always lived in India (except a short stint in Canada), family goes back 3 generations in Mumbai, etc.
It is even more challenging for those from NE India who are treated as ‘foreigners’ or called ‘chinkies’ in their own country!
In any country people who look a bit different than the average are treated differently. Depending on the size of a country there can be big difference in the appearance as your example from India already shows. Just hope it will improve over the years, some countries will be quicker to adapt than others so lets see 🙂
I hope things get better for you in Germany. Doesn’t help that local right wing club exists. I thought stuff like this would be banned given the ugly WW II history ..
Oh people try to get them banned but those clubs always find some loopholes in the law to avoid getting banned.
Oh Lieber Gott im Himmel, the dreaded Anmeldung (and Ausmeldung) at the Bürgeramt! When I lived in the university town of Heidelberg, I would occasionally get stares. It took some adjusting, because I got similar stares elsewhere throughout the country. It’s a reason why I wanted to learn German as much and as quickly as possible. Didn’t minimize the stares, of course, but they were good motivation to learn the language.
Weirdly my wife doesn’t get those stares (not that much) when she is alone outside but as soon as I am with her with our son the people just stare at us 🙂
(hope her German gets better quickly, in summer she should reach b1 level)
Bad and intolerant neighbours is the worst thing that could ever happen.. I myself have had bad experiences with neighbourhood, but not regarding this matter. However when I was living still in Italy or better Sicily there people still have obsolete mentality so I never ever during my 8 years living there happened to see any interracial couples and there were a lot of Chinese people. When I was discussing with my classmates and teachers about this topic they would always look at me weird and give me the “are you serious”? look, not even mentioning the sexual orientation of a person. I had literally a verbal fight with my Communication teacher that was strongly convinced gay people should not be allowed to get married nor adopt children… And she was teaching Communication I mean…. Anyway this is off topic but still no matter how developed a country is and how well its economy is there will always be a prejudice and wrong convictions that will be pulling down that country’s enrichment. Not even to mention that Italians do not speak English as well when I first arrived there none of my classmates would make an effort to try and speak to me in English, here I should really be thanking my mom for subscribing me in kindergarten with intense English teaching. Being bilingual is really big plus not only for the individual itself but for the community he will be part of one day…
Just found out that this comment mysteriously ended up in the spam folder! Anyways I rescued it as you can see 🙂
It is really true, no matter how developed a country might be it has nothign to do with the general view people might have about certain things. Just let take few US States as an example where Darwinism is not taught at all as God supposedly created everything some 5k years ago…yeah right.There are many more examples but I do not want to go into detail with them now as it is just too much.
I am hoping on finding/ actually getting into any kindergarten where they at least not try to stop us talking to Nathan in English, Chinese and Finnish 🙂
ohh thank you!! I was wondering why it did not show up~ I was worried that I instead of sending it I cancelled it. Haha
Yes that’s true Japan is so developed country in every aspect but still has racism going in towards the so called gaijin or simply foreigners… It’s realy sad. And I really hope that you will find the best kindergarten for Nathan!