How I changed after moving to Germany

How I changed after I moved to Germany. By Packing my Suitcase.

It has been over 3 years since I moved to Germany, the longest time I have lived in a country after my own. 3 years of constant learning, often out of my comfort zone, with struggles and merits, happy and sad days, but overall, the period I changed the most.

A few months ago I read an article about a guy who mentioned a few things he changed after he moved to Germany. After that, I caught myself thinking about the things and habits I have changed. Could I still notice these changes or am I just too used to my new me that I can’t even see them anymore? Well, some of them were pretty clear to me, others I had to think harder, as they are such a big part of my daily life that I didn’t even notice that they are there everyday.

One of the first things I changed was becoming a more gentle person. The vast majority of the people living here are very kind. They wait for you to get out of the metro before they get in, same with the elevator. They say good morning even if they don’t know you, if something falls on the floor they help you picking it up, if you are moving they offer to help you out and they often ask if you are ok. I really believe that gentleness leads to more gentleness, and I see this here. It is not that I wasn’t a generous person before, but I have improved a whole lot more, and it makes me feel a better person.

In Germany people greet each other with a handshake when they first meet, and only after you become more intimate, then a kiss on the cheek or a hug is fine. I used to greet people with kisses on their cheeks or with hugs, even if we were just introduced. Nowadays, I wait to see what the other person is going to do before I take the next step, even if I am in my home country!

In Brazil, the client almost never has the right, even though under law it is just the opposite. So, going back to a store to change a product or calling a company to complain about a defected product can turn into a headache, which often gives you the feeling that you are the one to blame instead of them.

Here in Germany the client really has the right, it took me a while to feel ok and claim my rights, at first I would just say “just leave it, it’s easier”. Today, I do claim my rights and it works, I get an apology and often even get compensated, this has probably everything to do with the German efficiency!

I lived almost my entire life in a place where winter does not exist, where 30C is the average temperature, so I always missed the cold, dressing for winter, playing with the snow. After I moved to Germany, I appreciate the sun, the warmth, the daylight when we have it, and especially: I miss the beach!

How I changed after I moved to Germany. By Packing my Suitcase.

I used to think that ordering online is something that takes ages, that I don’t get to see the real product when I want to and that if it doesn’t work I have to return it and it is all a big trouble. After living in Germany for a while, I caught the bug and slowly started to order things online, and today I find it the most practical thing.

You know you lived in Germany long enough, when you look at a product’s package and unconsciously thinks to which garbage bin it has to go. Is this plastic? Is this metal? Is this bottle’s glass green or brown? Separating the garbage in Germany is something that really is a part of your daily life, as well as checking the bottles to see if they are returnable (you get money back for returning them…yay!).

The other day I wasn’t even in Germany when I caught myself looking at a plastic bottle of water and thinking: is this bottle returnable? Then I realized I wasn’t in Germany, and that things in that country work differently. I wonder how much I will still change in the next 10 years living here…

How I changed after I moved to Germany. By Packing my Suitcase.

Meanwhile, I can already tell that most of these things have changed me for the better. For instance, I became a more healthy person, I don’t auto medicate myself as I tended to, and I try to avoid medicine as much as I can, or often prefer taking natural ones. I also adhered to the “BIO German” lifestyle, of buying organic, healthier and fair-traded products, as well as started eating more whole grain food, which all are very popular in the supermarkets.

Over the years, I noticed that I certainly became a more private person, even though I now have a travel blog and share many things with you. The old me used to tell too many details to everyone, and only recently I noticed how much I have changed in this matter. Have I become the private person like I always accuse the Germans of being?

The truth is, living in another country changes you in one way or another, even if you don’t notice it at first. We humans are adaptable to places, to circumstances, to the weather even, and in order to adapt, we do need to make some adjustments, we do change…

…and this is good.

About Allane

A Brazilian living in Germany. Married to W. mommy to a baby girl and a Golden Retriever. Traveler, writer, aspiring photographer, diver, wine appreciator, Formula 1 fan, avid reader of historical and young adult fictions books. City girl, nature lover, believer of a better world, one little change at a time.

  • Hanne

    That is so true how living in another country changes you! I have changed in the opposite direction from you while being in Bolivia 😉
    Before I was and did all the things you mention here. Now I do what you did before 😉 Funny 🙂 But that is how it is since we kind of changed cultures…

    • hahahaha how interesting!!!
      Yes, we changed countries! Now you do many things I used to do back in South America, and now I do what you used to do in Europe 😀 soo funny!
      I like observing these things… how we humans adapt to where we are! 😀

  • Haha, I think I would need to reflect a little bit more on my life in Korea before I could say how it has changed me. I can say with certainty that I go into an automatic half-bow when encountering a student’s parent, saying goodbye to the middle-aged shopkeeper, etc. It’s kind of fun 🙂

    • hahahaha I would love to know how you changed! You certainly do many things you didnt use to do in Canada 😀 I figured that you were doing the half-bow automatically by now…. so cool hahaha

      • Well, it’s a great idea! I’ll brainstorm some more and plan on turning this topic into an upcoming post. I don’t write as much about personal things, but maybe my readers would like that!

        • Yes!!! Do it, I am sure your readers will like it! You would be impressed by how many people like knowing about our personal experiences as an expat 🙂
          I would love to read that post!!

  • Linda

    Great post – I can agree with all of this! And I also feel like Germany is making me a better person – long may it continue! 🙂

    • Thank you Linda 🙂
      Really? That’s nice to know someone relates to the same changes as me.
      hahaha yesss, let’s hope it continues 😀

  • hahahaha no, but I always take gelormitol/soledum as according to my husband it’s the best hahaha

  • Thank you Lucy!!
    That’s great!! Such big changes, but as you said, for the better.
    You are right, the people around us have a great influence on us, and with time we end up changing our habits. Lucky for us, we changed positively 😀
    Thank you for the comment!! Hugs to you too!

  • hahaha I think our changes will be very similar, since Mexico and Brazil have a veeery similar culture.
    How cool that you are already changing, imagine in 3 years? You will be speaking perfect Slovenian most probably 😉

  • Thank you Jenny 🙂

  • Thank you Mani!!
    I have to read yours hahaha. The thing with greeting is one of the first things we change I guess, the beginning is weird hahaha. I used to think this was cold, now it became normal haha.
    Thank you!! Happy that you like the new look, I changed 2 weeks ago, not long 😉

  • hahaha same here!! I also dont use vacuum cleaner on a Sunday hahaha I forgot about these details… so many!! Germany life hahaha 😀

  • Hi Leah!! 1 month is already enough to change us a lot isn’t it? We get so much involved with the culture that it is impossible not to compare it with the one back home and other places we lived.
    How interesting that you have lived in such different countries! You probably picked up a few things from each 😀 Happy that you liked the post!!

  • hahaha oh my really? Ohh nooo!!
    It didn’t take long for me to stop doing this and wait to see the other person’s reaction… it is safer to just shake hands haha. Funny thing is that shaking hands in Brazil is too formal, it is used for business meetings and that’s it hahaha. Interesting how certain habits differ from the other around the world!! 😀

  • Hi Keith!

    Welcome to Germany!! I am happy to know that you like this post and that you find it helpful 😀
    Do come back more often, once in a while I post some things about my life in Germany!
    Feel free to send me an email via my contact form, it goes straight to my mailbox. I’d be happy to talk to you 😀

  • Hi Olive,

    Thank you for stopping by! Yes you are right… moving changes us in many ways, sometimes we don’t even notice it 😀 good luck with your move!!

  • Pingback: Interview with an Expat: Allane Milliane – a Brazilian in Germany | live . laugh . leipzig()