Daily life of an Interracial Couple in Germany

We live now for over 1 1/2 years in Germany and are getting the hang on living here. I should know much about it as I lived here nearly my whole life except those 7 odd years in Finland but it ain’t so. You see both my wife and I adapted to the life in Finland during those years rather well and things are just a bit different here in Germany.

There is for instance the good old Mittagsruhe – Midday Peace which is a quiet time from 1pm till 3pm. You shall make no noise at all during that time. You have some work at home which needs to be done? Tough luck as you will have a horde of furious elderly neighbours massing in front of your door in case they even hear a tiny sound. This might sounds amusing but it is not, not at all. Sure it is a more generational thing these days but we have the luck to have a building full of elderly people here and they can hear pretty well out of nowhere as soon as it is Midday Peace. Also another thing I didn’t know about in Finland  is that many restaurants have a Ruhetag – Day of Rest some when within the week, sometimes even two of those days. I wonder how often my wife and I already drove somewhere to eat just to find out that they have their Day of Rest…

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Am I different?

Anyhow this is actually not what I wanted to write about but it came to my mind as I just had yesterday again some complaint from a random neighbour due to the midday peace. The topic for today is in fact something like a continuation from my post from January 2015 “Living as an interracial couple in Germany”. Back then I had many things on my mind with people behaving odd with us or also the thing about language. Most of those troubles have subsided over time such as the annoyance with official documents and governmental things as they are done (for now). Also we had no stupid neighbour going through our trash anymore which is rather nice. But there is still something which happens few times a month.

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What’s going on?

When I take a walk with Nathan around the city people always say how cute he is, especially elderly women are really fond of him. However when we are out together as a family people are looking at us and then whisper something to each other. Often when I am close enough I hear stuff like “She must be here for the Visa”, or “Another Thai around here” or “I wonder if it is even his child”. Now I don’t get upset about it or try to argue with them as it is anyways useless. I never heard such stupid things in Finland, not in the big city there nor in the countryside. Here in Germany I also only heard it in my hometown not in the bigger cities such as Hamburg, Kiel or Cologne. It really seems that people in Germany appear to be more narrow-minded the smaller the city gets. But I must also say this is another generational thing same as the before mentioned “Midday Peace”. I have never heard anything like that from people around my generation, always from one to two generation older than us.

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Germany lost 😦

It appears also that the people around here have a very certain stereotype when it comes to WMAF, White Male Asian Female couples. Why? Because more often than not you see older German guys with their younger Asian (in this case nearly always Thai) girlfriends or wives. In fact in our building there is a nice man living together with his Thai girlfriend but she lived here already years before she got together with him. This is also why all peopl assume that my wife is from Thailand. Just few days a guy whom I gave few cents for a bus ticket asked me if my wife is from Thailand. Here again it is nothing I get upset about, nor does my wife care about it any longer but the consistency about those things are something which sticks to my mind. Do I think that life is harder for us due to our interracial relationship? No, not at all but it brings up a lot of more comments from other people around. Sure many of them sound racist (some actually are) but most of these comments are happening because they don’t know any better.

Now that this is of my mind (thank you blog for being my therapy) I can go  back and focus on more important things in my life, such as preserving the kitchen from total destruction due to MIL. Oh and by the way, next weeks blog post will be a bit delayed. We will be over the weekend in the beautiful city of Dresden for some sightseeing, eating and visiting a few of my friends.

Do random people start talking about you when you take a walk outside?

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54 thoughts on “Daily life of an Interracial Couple in Germany”

  1. Good thing about living in America as foreigner esp in SoCal. Since it’s so diverse, no one really (seems) to care. But I totally understand how uncomfortable it would be and the best thing is to ignore i guess

  2. I guess racist people are everywhere. Even though Australia is multicultural country, I have experience racism few times. I used to be very upset before but I don’t anymore because they are narrow minded people who have never seen the world.

    Have a great weekend away and keep us posted 🙂

  3. I’m not sure if we’re talked about when he and I are about, but Vancouver and Toronto there are enough interracial couples out and about. Less so here in my city, Calgary but not so unusual.

    In Canada, there are enough Asians born in Canada and that’s all they know, that taking upon an “foreign” looking /Asian looking person is less of an issue to talk about.

    The Chinese have made Canada their home since 1858. I think in Germany it’s a totally different story…

    Not familiar with that peaceful multi-hr. time period each day in GErmany.

    1. Germany did have many Chinese prior to WWII, especially in the port city of Hamburg. There is even still a Chinese graveyard. But due to the Nationalists the China Town in Hamburg was torn down towards the beginning of WWII and most Chinese left Germany. It is only since the past 40 years that more and more CHinese/ Asians are coming to Germany again, with Hamburg having the biggest Chinese community here with around 10.000-12.000 permament Chinese residents plus several thousand students.

  4. Though we’re not really an interracial couple, we do get weird looks from time to time. Maybe they’re wondering how we got here or something. Well let them wonder ‘coz we don’t care what they think.😂 The best thing to do is to ignore. Anyway, enjoy Dresden! Would love to go back there but it’s a loooong ride from here.

    1. Indeed it seems the best way is to ignore such people because in the end there is nothing really you can do about them.
      Really hope the weather will be okay this weekend. I havent been in Dresden for 10 years!

    1. Haha no no. I also put an Edit note in the blog post. The midday peace only applies to the home…not to work even though I know a few branches from my old workplace which even had beds in their bank…
      So work goes on as usual during that time but at home you have to be quiet because, well just because! 🙂

  5. I thought the siesta was only practiced in southern countries. During the midday peace, do people leave their offices?

    When I married my husband, he was the only Asian in our town. I don’t remember anyone saying anything about us. They probably did, but I wouldn’t have noticed.

    1. Seems I described the midday peace a bit wrong. The midday peace only applies to the home…not to work even though I know a few branches from my old workplace which even had beds in their bank…
      So work goes on as usual during that time but at home you have to be quiet. It is some old thing here in Germany and mostly only elderly people stick to it.

  6. You actually have this midday peace? But Spain gets the bad reputation about everything being dead during lunch time and afternoon? haha!

    I never heard any comments about me and C., nor here in China or in Spain, or in any of the other (Asian) countries we have been together.
    Sometimes Chinese people do make comments about foreigners though. Usually it’s just something like “Look at that foreigner, I think she is Russian” but the other day when I was walking the dog I passed by 2 guys in their early 20s and one of them said: “Foreigner women always have big asses”. He would have died of a heart attack if I had turned my head and said something in Chinese, but I just laughed and kept on my way.

    1. I guess Spain gets bad reputation as they don’t work during that time. IU described the German version a bit wrong and also put a little Edit Note now there. The midday peace only applies to the home…not to work even though I know a few branches from my old workplace which even had beds in their bank…
      So work goes on as usual during that time but at home you have to be quiet. It is some old thing here in Germany and mostly only elderly people stick to it.
      The midday peace only applies to the home…not to work even though I know a few branches from my old workplace which even had beds in their bank…
      So work goes on as usual during that time but at home you have to be quiet. It is some old thing here in Germany and mostly only elderly people stick to it!”

      In China many people changed from “He is Russian” to “He must be from Xinjiang!”. Really wonder how they get that idea…

  7. Interesting post! I never knew that such a thing like midday rest existed in Germany.. What do people do during this time? At work, school, big cities etc..
    It’s good that your wife and you no longer care about those narrow-minded comments from either racist people or people who don’t know any better.. I thought Germany was more open-minded than Finland 😀 Here in Poland, since there are very few foreigners and the country is so homogeneous, I do get a lot of stares (most of them have been positive) and I probably also get stares when I am with my boyfriend.. But I don’t really care what they say or think. I haven’t heard anything outright from anybody about me and boyfriend, but I am not 100% fluent in Polish anyway 😀 Boyfriend hasn’t commented anything as such so I guess we haven’t experienced any remarks from random people. Just some stares 🙂
    Have a great time in Dresden! I hope you’ll post some photos. Nathan looks very cute in the photos above as usual!

    1. Oh oh I really did a poor job describing the midday peace 😛
      The midday peace only applies to the home…not to work even though I know a few branches from my old workplace which even had beds in their bank…
      So work goes on as usual during that time but at home you have to be quiet. It is some old thing here in Germany and mostly only elderly people stick to it.
      The midday peace only applies to the home…not to work even though I know a few branches from my old workplace which even had beds in their bank…
      So work goes on as usual during that time but at home you have to be quiet. It is some old thing here in Germany and mostly only elderly people stick to it!.

      Finland appeared to me very open minded in retrospect but that could be also because the little town where my parents have their cottage is known for their basketball team with many Afro American Player extra hired from the USA! Besides that in Finland more and more “Berry Collectors” arrived from Asia during the past decade plus all the thousands of international students. I think the percentage of International Students is much higher in Finland than in Germany but I could be wrong about it as I only live in this little town here :p

  8. I think I remember your first post about being an interracial couple in Germany as my partner is Japanese and I commented on it.
    In the meantime we got married and a baby is on the way 🙂
    Luckily, nothing changed so far in prospect how people see us. No racist comments, no strange stares (at least not from Germans but from Asians though…), really only positive reactions.
    Whenever you write about how the people in you hometown behave, the mean comments and so on, I wonder actually, what a strange place it must be… at the moment, we are living in a very small, rural “town” with only 13.000 (!) inhabitants, mostly elderly people, but we never had any problems due to the fact that my husband is not German.
    “Mittagsruhe”, it seems, nobody here ever heard of it. No matter the daytime, even on sundays or public holidays, you can hear the neighbours’ washing machine, the vacuum cleaner or loud music.
    Anyway, I’m happy for you, that you managed to ignore hateful, offensive or thoughtless behaviour from random people! I have the feeling, as Germany is getting more diverse, the situation is changing slowly and getting better. Nontheless, I think I would still be afraid moving to the East of Germany…

    1. Oh yes I remember your comment from the older blog article.
      Congratulations on the marriage and also on the baby coming!
      You must be very lucky in your little town that you were spared with those comments. My hometown with 80.000 people had until some years ago also the Club 88…
      Here I have the feeling that Mittagsruhe is something more holy than the ten commandments. You dare to switch on your super silent vacuum cleaner on the lowest suction level => a nice neighbour ringing your doorbell 😀

  9. Good to hear that you wife doesn’t mind such assumptive comments. It sounds like it happens quite often, and if you had a dollar for every time someone said something like that about her or your family, you could buy a few meals already 🙂 I don’t get any rude comments like that when I’m out and about. But one of them I get quite often is, “What are you studying at university?” Then I have to explain that I left university so long ago that I don’t really remember what I did there 😀

    1. Great that you don’t have to endure such bad comments as they are really annoying at times.
      That people asume that you are younger ain’t a bad thing though, definitely better than they would think you are then years older or so!!

  10. I had been a recipent of racist comments before. Ironically, it mostly came from Africans, with their thick accents in South London. ‘Go back to where you come from,’ they shouted at me. Strangely, I had never seen these people doing high level stuff in high finance and in Whitehall (Central Government or the Prime Minister’s Office. I certainly wasn’t a graduate from Oxbridge (Cambridge or Oxford).

    Where I used to live in Turkey, a conservative area, people would openly commented that I was a foreigner. On one occasion, I replied that I was a foreigner in English. There was silence. You could hear a pin dropped!

    In recent weeks, I was in the company of a young, smoking hot Turk who helped me with the translations etc. We would enter a shop (I had been there before and there were no incidents) and often the men would fix their eyes on me. I don’t know what ran through their mind nor have I discussed with my Turkish friend.

    1. We actually experiences a similar thing in Berlin five years ago. A young man of African descent told my wife to go back where she came from with an accent which made it hard for me to tell for while what he actually had said in German! Oh well I dont mind such things as they can be even rather amusing depending on who is making such comments.
      Now I do really wonder what the men in the shop were thinking! 🙂

      1. Ha, ha,ha.

        Initially, my friend was amused. He looked at me with a smile. The stares continued in the street. One afternoon, I suggested that we headed for the side street which led to the fresh produce market that I had frequented. I said ‘let’s give them something to gossip about. They may ask you who you are.’ Pity, no one asked who he was.

    1. OH no no, I guess in Germany they work much less than what you are used to! It is all about efficiency…standard here are thirty paid holidays plus multiple public holidays bringing your yearly holidays (if done smartly) up to 45 days easily I would say. Besides that there are no unpaid over hours in normal companies, no phone calls during your ‘off time’ and besides in case you work for the government or similar (such as state owned banks, police and whatnot all) you are actually forced to not work over the limit of 8 hours or so :p

  11. I remember learning the term ‘farang hunters’ when I first lived in Thailand. This referred to the Thai women who were on the hunt for a white (preferably, assumed rich) man. Then, of course, there were the old geezers looking for a sexy (preferably) and young Thai girlfriend. Oh, the stories and the couples I’ve know/heard/seen! Apparently, these men are all German! 😉

    What you are experiencing is what would probably happen if you were in Thailand, too. Or even in Cambodia! People talk and they have old ideas of how couples get/got together and really, we (interracial couples) are here to challenge those notions and judgments 🙂

    There are times when I fear other people’s thoughts because I know (presumably) what they are thinking. Usually though, I know I am not who they think I am, no matter how much they stare or wag their tongues. You got the right idea, just move along to more important matters.

  12. I had no idea about the Mittagsruhe. Like a German siesta? Regarding the white male/Asian female, I’ve also found that it’s mostly the older generation who seems to care about it. In Denmark, the constellation is also usually old Dane/ young Thai, but since we are so many Korean adoptees, I don’t think I’ve ever been mistaken for being Thai. How does your wife handle it?

    1. Yes and no, yes because it is really a quiet time and no because it applies only to the “home” not to work at all.
      I didn’t know that there are so many Korean adoptees in Denmark.
      I think in Germany it is more from Vietnam as for example the former German foreign minister Philip Rösler who is a Vietnamese adoptee.

      My wife doesn’t care about the whole stuff anymore, at first of course but now she does not even realize it anymore 🙂

  13. That is so odd about the midday rest. I remember siesta in Spain (I studied there for a semester), but never expected other areas would have something like that!

    I think you both are handling things well. It would have to be annoying at times to have people always ask if your wife is from Thailand — but you’re not letting it get to you. Good for you.

    People in China just usually think my husband is my translator or a friend!

    1. yeah this midday rest is kinda weird as it only applies to the home however all working people (with few exception) still got to do their work.
      We had it in Finland when we went out with friends (Finnish and Chinese) that most “outsiders” thought that my wife would be together with the other Chinese guy, not with me 🙂

  14. I agree with ‘nepaliaustralian’ who says that although Australia is multi cultural we still experience a lot of racism. I am actually saddened to hear of your experiences. I am sure your blended family looks beautiful when out walking. People (some) are definitely narrow minded!!! Enjoyed your post as always!!

  15. Our building’s ‘Midday peace’ is 2 – 4 pm and while it is largely ignored, there have been times when I was the raving lunatic trying desperately to impose it. Just imagine non-stop construction work, banging above, beside and below for not days, not weeks, not even months but YEARS!!! 🙂

    In India, we tend to see more AMWF combos… of which some evolve perfectly naturally and others I will admit finding it challenging to hold back judgement.

    Why? Because they are sometimes the product of random creepy guys reaching out over Facebook or other social media to white women (not black, not Asian of other cultures… only white).

    That such contact leads to relationships and sometimes even marriage is something I struggle to accept. I’ve had a ridiculous number of such approaches (ignored as not worth the trouble to decline) and often wonder how they’ve missed the point that I’m the age of their mother!!?

    And the social response to AMWF couples? That depends more on the background of the couple than anything else…

    If he comes from more modest circumstances, then “score!” or puzzled incomprehension of why a supposedly wealth educated white woman would fall for someone “beneath” her… [insert product of random creepy social media contact here]

    If he’s hugely wealthy and the ‘girl’ isn’t well travelled, urbane then its a question of how she will keep up in the mad social and economic elite… in other words her skin colour was a ‘ticket’ into wealth and privilege. [insert accident of a social invite or studies/work outside India]

    For whatever reason, WMAF combos tend to fall into “social equals” so more accepted on some levels though not by certain communities / families.

    In a sense then – in a completely glossing over complex highly personal circumstances – there can be a reverse stereotype found here.

    With huge caveats and apologies all around for reducing to such broad perceptions. 🙂

    1. Yeah when it comes to relationship people will always “disect” it and will check social status, nationality and and and no matter in which country 🙂
      Here many got the idea that white mal and asian female equals always some kind of strange thing…but well I don’t really care any longer these days if I actually ever cared at all!

      The midday peace, at least in my town/ neighbourhood it seems to be a sacred thing. I heard now from others that in other parts of Germany it is not that strict anymore, wish I could live there! But what you have to go through in India, lets just say I would try to enforce the midday peace as well then!

      1. Haha! The challenge with ‘mid-day peace’ is that it is decided society by society i.e. one building has it but the one directly next to you does not so the banging, jack hammer, drilling and more continues!

        You shouldn’t care! You have a fabulous family and it is your life.

        What is amusing is because my partner is Anglo-Indian, with me it is assume he isn’t Indian so he gets “Oh how long have you been in India? What do you like?” When his response is “My entire life!” Conversation stops.

      2. Oh yeah that is a good one that they assume he is also a”foreigner”. I had similar during our trip in east Germany as I was speaking English with my wife and some Germans thought that I must be as well just at tourist so they asked from which countries we are and how long we have been in Germany (in English )

  16. It seems that in most countries, the more homogeneous the population and the more rural the setting, the more comments you get if you are in an international relationship. This is the same in the US, and in Japan as well. And, it seems the same in Germany!

    Usually strangers don’t comment in our earshot, but I’ve had questions from people at work that make me wonder if they have ever been around people who were not American and Caucasian.. In Japan, I have only had a very few rude comments or questions.

  17. I can’t believe how some people behave that really is awful. My family is a right mixed bag – my mum is Eurasian from Malaysia with a Chinese mother, Scottish father. My dad is half Scottish, half English. I think it’s hard but the best thing to do is ignore silly thoughtless comments. People can be so idiotic at times.

    1. It Is always so annoying to have ignorant people around. Hope our Nathan will experience a tad bit different world growing up.
      I am myself some very odd mix between German, Finnish and Russian and now my son got also a big part Chinese in him 😀

  18. Really!! This is the post that I could totally relate into. The thing about “White male, Asian female”cracked me up. Seriously! My husband is Dutch and I’m Filipino so I am sort of a victim of this. I dunno why certain people behaved like this. It’s not the first time for interracial marriages here and yet it seems that they see a big joke on it! They asked weird questions that I never imagined that they would think..
    Even when we were living in Kuwait, people (Arabs or other GCC locals) would make such remark and through time I just ignored it or rather gotten used to it.When we moved here in Germany, I did received lots of stares, the kind of stares that you know it’s not just what it seems.Just like Nathan, my daughter often is the center of attention when we are out..The old people here seemed to loved children so I don’t have any problem with it..
    The Ruhetag is definitely one of the things i’m getting used to now..and the garbage bins 🙂

    Thanks for making me laugh thru this post..and btw, its almost time for “quiet hours “!

    1. Thank you for enjoying this post. Germany certainly has its odd points which probably only older Germans will understand. I was born here but I have no clue at all why this all is happening.
      Interracial relationships seem to attract in nearly every town here some stares. However in Hamburg, Cologne and Dresden we had not such experiences yet

  19. There’s also something similar to Midday Peace in here too! Just that the hours are a bit different. In some buildings, it appears written on a board, in others it is just another unwritten rule. Unfortunately, some neighbors never care about that! I mean, just yesterday, at 6 or so PM one of my neighbors was listening to metal. On a super high volume. It made my headache worse. -.-

    I’m sorry to hear that people are still treating interracial partners like that. (I think this happens here too, or would happen, but then again, I wouldn’t know because I’m just a student, ROFL. I should ask my friend about it. 😄 Her partner is African. So I imagine she gets the stares and the whispers too, since he’s got chocolate skin.)

    1. Many people can be pretty biased about new things they had only heard about before from friends, tv or weird rumors.
      Anyhow my wife and I are doing better and better getting through such things as we simply ignore it all 🙂

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