In January 2015 I described our life in Germany with all the difference challenges and difficulties we had experienced in the first few months of living here. First of all I was rather shocked when I saw that the article Living as an Interracial Couple in Germany is already three years old! Up till this point I did not even realize that we have lived for so long time already in this country. For me it feels like we just left Finland one or maximum two years ago. This just shows that time passes by faster the older you get/ when you have kids keeping you busy.
My first point of annoyance three years ago was about applying for the residence permit and Germany still being in the stone age when it comes to digitalization. Thing is we had to renew her residence permit half-year ago and it was once again a very special experience when the nice lady at the office for foreigners was once again going through countless of folders and law books. No Germany did not manage to reach the digital age within those three years. Besides the nice lady was even surprised that we had a second child by now and we were required to hand them the birth certificate. Not that I received that very certificate from the same building just 20m away in another office last summer…nothing really nothing can be viewed from their PC’s as everything is kept in folders and each office still requires their very own copy of every certificate.
What about the weird stares on the streets and people taking our mail out of the trash to spread it all over the street? The thing with the mail stopped and I suspected a couple of neighbours but nothing can be proven any longer. Those certain neighbours have moved away or died in the past years so we will never know. Surprisingly also the weird stares on the streets are very rare these days and I can’t even remember when it happened the last time. In the past years many Asians (majority of them are Chinese) moved to this little town and its surrounding villages. The people here see pretty much every day several Asians and also WMAF/ AMWF couples can be seen daily. No one has yet said anything towards us or “behind our backs” so I am pretty happy with the current situation when it comes to this aspect.
By now Nathan has also overcome more or less his language difficulties as he is pretty fluent in Mandarin and in German. In fact his Mandarin is better than his German languages skills but we do not worry about it as he is improving a lot in it ever since he started kindergarten last summer. Besides those two languages he knows a bit of English and at least few words in Finnish. In the kindergarten they also do not discourage parents and the kids anymore when it comes to growing up bilingual unlike back in the day when my mother was forced to quit speaking Finnish to me. At least in Nathan’s kindergarten they teach also a bit of English for the older kids.
I am very surprised how much the situation improved for us here in the past years
especially with some neighbours passing away. We are not even that annoyed anymore when it comes to giving each office here some extra copies of this and that certificate or document, you just get used to it. It is a fact that Germany is far behind when it comes to digitalisation than other “leading nations” in the world. At least we can have now again normal internet speed as our connection went up from the terrible 16 Mbps to 500Mpbs. It was really strange when we moved here and they could only give us that kind of slow connection as nothing else was possible here in this city.
Both my wife and I do not regret moving from Finland to Germany at all. We had a good life in Finland without too many difficulties but everything improved ever since moving here. Life is cheaper in Germany and we can earn more than before in addition to be working from home which is so much better also for the children. The only thing worrying us right now is to make plans for buying or building a house in the next few years as this apartment won’t be big enough anymore once the children want to have separate rooms, but that is something for another time.
How has your life changed in the past three years?
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34 thoughts on “Living as an Interracial Couple in Germany – Three Years Later”
Sometimes you can’t change your racist and nasty neighbors — but you can outlast them! That’s what happened with the would-be dog poisoners in our neighborhood.
Can’t happen soon enough with racist white old people in the rest of the USA.
Yeah just need to outlast those people 😀
Here the people voting for the right wing parties are in general around 50 and older with good income (no future financial troubles) such as my brother. For the younger generations those politcal parties have nearly no voters at all!
Same thing here. Most young people are much, much more liberal.
Hopefully the situation gets even better there, especially when it comes to digitalising the applications! These can be a pain to settle, their record keeping must take up a lot of space if they keep going with this! 🙂
I don’t think Germany will be able to catch up even in the next 10 years as the whole system is so complicated and most people even like it…
Hahaha…I guess you’ll probably get used to it by then…😁😁
It does sound like a bit of change, especially with the neighbours moving along and people don’t bother you so much anymore. It amazes me how some people who don’t know you personally are so quick to judge but I guess they have nothing better to do.
Life has changed a lot for me over the last three years. I’m still living the same town but I have more stable work which I don’t mind, and my writing style has changed. Also my circle of friends have gotten smaller – as you know people go on their own way as you get older, but it is great to know the ones who really matter:
The good thing is that our neighbours change over the years and thus far no real “bad neighbours” moved in again. Hope this will continue as long as we live there!!
Your writing style certainly changed, at least what I know from your blog. And about the circle of friends: it might even get smaller later on. Right now I have in my hometown one friend I meet every few months and I have known him since kindergarten. I have no contact at all with any classmates…another friend I have is living in East Germany and we meet once a year and thats it :p
It feels like so long ago that we have been following each other’s blogs. From following your blog, your writing style hasn’t changed much, but certainly there is so much more humour in your posts now 😀
At least the few friends you have don’t mind meeting up with you in person. Sometimes you are just so busy you don’t even have the time to text each other and actually keep in touch.
When I lived in Finland I had especially during my university time many friends and met them regulary at weekends. Once I was done with my studies I didnt meet with anyone from my former classes anymore, only with the friends I had from my swimming years. I’d say that this show who my “real” friends were/ are 🙂
It’s interesting reading about the differences you noticed moving (back?) to Germany. We will leave Shanghai this summer and are already dreading the upcoming culture shock…
Yeah we moved back to Germany (well my wife had never lived here before) and it was a very strange experience after living nearly 8 years in Finland.
I bet you will have some cultural shock when leaving Shanghai. For one as Shanghai is just massive, then the lifestyle is so much slower when you go back and of course thr small things such as mobile payments etc…
I found out that Germany is more close-minded than I thought by reading your blog posts.. It’s such a shame that in today’s day and age there are people that bother with somebody else’s life and their choices.. ridiculous.
The bureaucracy in Germany sounds a bit like in Poland – absolute nightmare and so different from Finland. It’s great that Nathan already speaks multiple languages! How do you do it? Like does your wife only speak Mandarin to him and you only German? Maybe do a blog post about it? 🙂
Germany/ some German people can be really close-minded. Any kind of change is not accepted or takes ages to pass.
I really do hate the entire bureaucracy, especially when it comes only in paper form and any kind of online work is unheard of!
ABout the languages, you are right. Each person only speaks one language to him and he has to answer in that certain language. Perhaps I will have a blog post about it someday 🙂
There will always be closed-minded people, wherever you may live. I’m glad things are going better for you. And I’m sure your kids will be so grateful to be bilingual once they’re older. That’s great that you are able to commit to speaking different languages to them. Speaking English is so much easier for me than Mandarin. I’m using my parents as a crutch to teach my son Mandarin.
I am actually using my mom to teach Nathan at least a little bit of Finnish. Sure I do sing to him at night in Finnish and try to teach him some basics but I never really got fluent in that language even when I lived there for eight years.
Bilingual kids often have it later on much easier and our kids will have plenty of languages to chose from as they will be fluent in Mandarin and German, learn English early on and some Finnish + in school they will learn French and another foreign language (guess it is useful to live in Europe 😀 )
Glad to hear things are going better! (Except the bureaucracy thing, haha). That picture of your dad and Nathan watching TV in the same position is hilarious, haha
That picture was just taken few days ago. Nathan often tries to immitate other people, especially us so some fun things do happen-.
I never thought that I would be happy about other people passing away but in this case I am really glad as they were so annoying…
We are contemplating a move to Italy in the next year of so, and the racist element of things really worries me (not for myself so much, as for Naia), so I’m glad to hear this has become a kind of non-issue for you and your family. Happy new year! 🙂
Italy sounds very interesting. I guess it is always hard or nearly impossible to say how the people will behave till you experience it first hand. I could not predict at all how our surroundings would be in Germany and I think we had good luck (especially to some former neighbours being six feet under now…)
It sounds like life for you and your family is going well now. It’s always good to live somewhere long enough to adjust to the new way of life and to find it agreeable. By the way, I love the photo of Nathan and Grandpa.
On first thought, I’d say that my life hasn’t changed much in the past three years. The big changes–marriage, children, a new job, moving to a new country–often happen within a short period. They did for me. Now I’m settled back in my home country, writing, visiting and going out with friends and family, talking to neighbors. I’ve lived in this house longer than I’ve ever lived anywhere before: 14 years.
I can hardly say the three years have been uneventful, though. One thing that I think all Americans will remember from this time is that we went from having a president we could trust and admire to living under Donald Trump and being ashamed and fearful.
Believe it or not my father has been living in the same apartment since 1976! My mother moved in few years later. Before that they had lived in various other places, cities and countries.
The whole thing with Trump is a really scary part of the current time period. In Europe people still don’t understand how he could become President and how stable that person is mentally (e.g. welcoming people in the White House as in “Welcome to the studio”…). One of the biggest German Newspapers wrote yesterday as a headline “President Trump is able to name Lion and Rhino” after that medical exam…
Very interesting..so the Chinese in your town, are married to other nationals?
For myself, I no longer pay attention to Trump craziness south of our border. He’s clever to divert attention from serious matters…health care, decreasing corporate tax…making people forget.
Oh there are many Chinese who married Germans but tons more who married to Chinese. There has been just a huge increase with Chinese people living in this town.
Trump…well let’s leave trump our of everything. In all of Europe the USA has become a joke thanks to him and is decision making/ madness
Hmm in past 3 years…well more related to work. Most likely I will not have a job soon. long story. No, I would like to continue to work.
Though I can’t relate personally I know how my father behaved after early retirement (age 56 or 57 back then). He became a gardener for a law company and a driver for another company for another ten years just to have something to do!
A gardener for a law company…you mean he was doing landscaping.
Kind of…he worked all his life as a postman and then main lawyer invited him to do some extra work.
I had no idea Germany didn’t enter the digital era! What?? really? you sure it’s not just your city?
I’m not sure how Romania does things these days as i had no issues to solve [fingers crossed]. But i hear in France the situation is similar to Germany -if it’s of any consolation.
Germany is far far behind. It is just incredible that everything is still done manually and each office is stuffed with thick folders full of useless information. Come to think about I think I never saw a folder in any Finnish office!
They could cut down on spendings in the long run, with computers… and things could be faster if they had fast or decent machines… not to mention the many saved trees 😦
I really wish they would think that way ;D