I’m American, I was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and lived in the San Francisco Bay area before moving to Munich, Germany. I moved here, basically for adventure. It wasn’t so much that I wanted to live in Germany per se, but I wanted to live abroad and experience life in Europe as more than a tourist. I had a few friends here, and they assured me that even though I couldn’t speak German, it wouldn’t be a problem only speaking English. I was working as a designer during the first Internet boom (I moved in 1999) and figured I could get a job anywhere. I was sitting in a Biergarten when a friend convinced me to try it, and I figured, if it didn’t work out, I could just go back to the U.S.
My life style has completely changed in Germany. Where to start: I can’t imagine going back to 10 days vacation, or living somewhere where the stores are open on Sunday, I hated that when I first moved here and now I wouldn’t have it any other way. I walk and bike everywhere – it’s hard to find another US city where this is possible. I have a deeper appreciation for nature. Life is generally more sociable here, lots more dinner parties and spending leisurely evenings with friends in the biergartens. America trends more to a kind of work treadmill/rat race, and though Germany and Germans have a strong work ethic, there is a big focus on enjoying life as well. Also I’ve grown to love leberknödel and own three dirndls.
Germans are solid, practical and mature people. I love the German bureaucracy. I know that sounds strange, but a country needs solid administrative systems, and Germany’s are excellent compared to the States, and I’m sure many other countries. Germans should stop complaining about this, they have no idea how good they have it! I’ve come to really appreciate the long complicated history Germany has and the contributions it’s made to global culture, which have been overshadowed by the tragedy of the Holocaust. Germany is also a very beautiful country. I feel it gets overlooked when people think about great European destinations like Paris, Rome, etc. And Germans are thorough! If something comes from Germany, you know it will be of high quality.
Bad thing about Germany is the culture of complaint and negativity. As an American it can be hard to deal with. Americans can over do it the other way, but sometimes you have to use some imagination, think of the possibilities and not just the problems.