Although there are times when living in a foreign country is difficult and you’ll find yourself missing home, once you PCS out of Germany, there will be a pretty long list of things you’ll miss.
I found this out the hard way over the past few months, when our tour in Germany ended and we were PCS’ed back to the U.S. After just two years in Germany, I had fallen in love with the pace of life and the perks I’d come to take for granted in our short time there.
Here are a few of the things I think you’ll also miss when you leave Germany, and a little reminder of what you should take full advantage of while you are still stationed overseas. Happy travels!!
1) Shopping and grocery stores in walking distance
If you lived off base in Germany, I can almost guarantee that you were within walking distance to a bakery, grocery store, or shops. Being able to walk to grab a little something for dinner or do a little window shopping is one of the great luxuries of being based in Europe.
Leave the car at home and explore! Spend less time at the gym and more of it exploring this beautiful country. Unless you live in a larger city or right downtown in your town back in the U.S., its not often that you are close enough to walk to stores.
Oh you beautiful, beautiful German bakeries. Upon arriving at our new home station back in the U.S., I was excited to learn that there was a European bakery in town. Although the place is fantastic and has a wide range of options, nothing quite matches the first time you walk into a German bakery, large or small. The range and quality of the baked breads, cakes, and pastries in Germany (and the rest of Europe) are unrivaled on the other continents. Throw out the scale and enjoy them while you’re there!
3) Speaking of bread…
Germans make the most incredible bread. The range of choices in even the smallest bakeries are mind-boggling and you could probably live in Germany for 10 years without trying all the different kinds of breads and rolls. But you should try… you should definitely try!!
4) Free festivals
There are not usually any admission charges for carnivals, fairs, and festivals in Germany. Most wine festivals and city fairs are free to wander through, only charging you for what you eat and drink. This gives you the opportunity to take in tons of events on a budget and is the perfect way to get out and mingle with the locals.
5) Sunday stores closed
Okay, so when you first get to Germany and run out of groceries on Saturday night, you tell yourself you’ll grab some on Sunday at the local store. Been there? Yep… no dice. Closed, baby, closed. Sure, you can hit the commissary or PX, but you have probably cursed the Sunday store closures at least once.
Here’s the thing (and bear with me just a second), you are going to miss that.
Okay, so maybe at first, you’ll love the convenience of hitting Target on a Sunday afternoon, but what you’ll come to miss is the way that Sunday is so peaceful in Germany. Festivals are happening all over the place, people are preparing family meals or sitting for hours at little cafes and people-watching. There is a sense that the day is meant for family and rest. Real relaxation… not “I’ll run out and just do a little shopping and cleaning and yardwork” kind of relaxation, but real, quiet, thorough relaxation.
Slow down, grab your kids or some friends and head to a festival, or stay in and read a book, but give into it. I promise, you’ll miss the quiet one Sunday in the future when you’re standing in a long line at Wal-Mart behind some screaming two-year-old.
Especially if that two-year-old is yours!
No matter how hard living in a foreign country can be some days, don’t forget that it won’t last forever. So take advantage of the many things you might miss out on once you’re back at home.