Monday, April 18, 2011

A New Series: The Expat Inquiries

I'm doing a little series here on the blog where I'll ask some of my fellow expat friends questions about life in another country.  Of course, I find this interesting, but I hope you do too.  Surely you'd like other perspectives about life abroad other than mine.  :)

First up is:
{Julie with her cute fam}

Julie is a fellow Houstonian whom I met via blogland.  We both crave our Tex-Mex and I love how she often blogs about and posts pictures of the small details of German living. A Houstonian and detail-noticer is a friend of mine indeed.  Würzburg seems to be a bit like Graz... Bavaria (southern Germany) is similar to Austria in tradition, landscape and culture..ja?

Where do you live?
How long have you lived there?  And is this your first home away from the States?
-Since 1996; it's my first home away from the US.

Where are you originally from?
-Houston, Texas 

What brought you to Germany?
-A guy that I assumed would take me to California (I mistook the blond hair, blue eyes, and hot pink shirt for a surfer boy)...

What do you do for a living?
-I raise our two wild and crazy (but amazing) boys, teach English at local firms, do a bit of correction work, and help organize the film festival here in town.

Do you speak German fluently?  If so, how long did it take you to learn?  Do you find it to be an easy language?
-Hmmm...fluent is relative...I am still learning (have been since 1996), but oddly enough, can't imagine my life any more without German. It is not an easy language to learn, but very rewarding once you realize you're making your world work with it!
What are the people like?
-In the beginning, I always thought people in Germany were different than folks in the States. Now, I'm not really sure anymore. I never really agreed with the stereotypes and have often seen them challenged. The people I run with are open, funny, warm, and thoughtful.

How long did it take until you felt mostly adjusted?
-"Mostly adjusted" is good. I'd have to say the day I caught myself saying, "In Germany, they..." while visiting the States.
What were some of the hardest things/aspects to adjust to?
-I'm still trying to get used to wanting spontaneous family visits, craving Tex-Mex, the lack of sassy hardware at local stores (seriously, the lamps at Target are amazing!), and being a foreigner.

What are some things/aspects you don't miss back home?
-The shop 'til you drop and 'super-size me' mentality

What are your top three faves about your current city or country?
-The views, the fests, that I can bike/walk most everywhere I need to go

In what areas do you think moving abroad has helped you to grow?
-I have learned to be where I'm at and that I alone control how happy or unhappy I am.

Fave places you've traveled in Europe?
-The pizza joints in Naples, the little beaches surrounding Sorrento, the pubs in Dublin, the shops in Madrid, the wineries in Franconia.

Thanks so much for participating, Julie! Wanna open up our own Mexican food restaurant on the border of Austria and Germany?  We'll be Mama Ninfas in Europa!


Alison said...

Fun to read about yet another Texan over here! I only know of one other Houstonian in Vorarlberg (where I live), but there are apparently quite a few Americans in the area. I think Tex Mex is something so many of us miss. It's always my first stop after flying in to Houston!

Elizabeth Ann @ Elizabeth Ann's Recipe Box said...

I love this! :-)

Amy said...

lupe tortilla in austria... great idea! i like your new series.... and what a cute fam!

Tamara said...

love this new series!

Louisa said...

I'm so excited about your new series! And Tex-Mex—YES!! We found an amazing store in Vienna called Casa Mexico, full of chips, salsa, taco seasonings, and everything else you can think of (oh, and a WALL of tequila, seriously). If I meet the person who opened the store, I might kiss him or her on the mouth.

Unknown said...

OH YAY! I am already looking forward to the next 'expat inquiries'!

Rachel in Heidelberg, 8 pages down, 57 to go . . . said...

When am I up on the expat files then ;p ?! Love the sound of a Mexican restaurant, have never seen one in the UK either but know a really good one in Barcelona, near the quays :p

Cathy McConn said...

What a handsome family! Those boys are just too precious. Love this series. When Art is next in Vienna, have him stop at Casa Mexico (see Louisa) and then fix your friends a real Tex-Mex treat! And photograph it and blog it, of course.

molly b. said...

I love this series! And I still want to come visit you. I have been missing you, friend! Busy, much? I still think I need your professional help, just sayn. xoxo

Anonymous said...

Greetings! Carolyn, I really enjoyed reading your new series... I miss Europe just like you miss Tex-Mex. Hugs from a very cold Michigan :)))

Julie said...

Hey Lady! I just checked in to my dusty 'ol blog and flipped through my blog roll. So very unexpected and such a sweet treat to see your post! I guess now might be a good time to get the blog rollin' again??! I am so looking forward to this series! Happy spring to you, J

Julie said...

BTW...I'm all over that Fräulein Ninfas idea of yours!!

tiffany said...

love this post! enjoy q&a's and so glad you're back to bloggin'

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- Carolyn