Hey there! My name is Jenna Davis and I’m a Canadian born travel blogger and social media manager currently living in Düsseldorf, Germany. While I’m use to jet setting around the globe writing about responsible travel on www.giveforgranted.com, I was finding it quite difficult to get adjusted to a new city, a new language and making new friends. In the winter of 2015, I sat down and created a solution, something wonderful. I wanted to make a space where all the thousands of questions that expats in Düsseldorf have asked were answered simply and with quality in one blog post. While more than one sixth of the city’s population are foreign to the area, there is still a serious lack of English content helping those people out. Today, I run the English language publication #LifeInDüsseldorf
Do you want the real mushy answer? Or a summary of my 4 years in transition? I’ll go with the second one.
I moved for love as many people do. I met a wonderful man while I was backpacking across South Africa, fell head of heels for him, travelled through South East Asia together, started making plans to build a long distance relationship, gave up a couple years later and that’s when I realized, it’s time to leave my home and native land, Canada and start my new life with the man I love in his home country, Germany.
What have been the initial difficulties when you moved to Germany?
This post could go on for ages if I start now. Everything. Every little thing in my day-to-day life was difficult. I thought I had a stressful life as it was in Canada until I realized that I had entirely new problems here in Germany. I couldn’t order a loaf of bread, I couldn’t read the signs on the parking meters, I couldn’t make friends and I could never go anywhere alone. All of these reasons (and a million more) are why I’ve created #LifeInDüsseldorf, to ensure that everyone moving to this city gets a fair chance at starting strong.
Are you enjoying your new life in Germany? 😉
I absolutely love it. I’m not going to lie, I still dream about being up at my cottage on the lake in the middle of the wilderness, and cuddling my dog while watching Netflix on the sofa. However, there are so many reasons I love my new life in Germany. I love that everyone rides bikes to work, I love that people sit and drink a coffee together (none of this XXL “To Go” nonsense), I love that there’s a supermarket on the corner of every street in the city so that I don’t need a two door refrigerator that takes up half of my kitchen. Need I go on?
Does Germany seem multicultural to you?
While I can’t speak for the country as a whole, Düsseldorf is extremely multicultural and most locals are very welcoming and accepting (though there’s a few elderly ladies I’ll remove from the equation).
Have you ever experienced any cases of discrimination/racism?
Well now I have to mention the elderly ladies, you roped me right into that one. Germany is a wonderful place to live and due to the history of the country, most people want to ensure that you feel welcome and accepted. Some of the older generations are a little tougher to convince, I was once yelled at for hanging my laundry on the balcony because I looked like I was homeless. I was then forgiven because “I come from a foreign land and don’t know any better”. I don’t know how she thinks Canadians behave, but I think we’re pretty polite and tidy people.
What stereotypes about Germany and the Germans have been confirmed?
Any stereotypes that I heard in the past like “Germans don’t have a sense of humor” were completely false. However, I’ve certainly come up with my own while living here.
Almost every German I’ve met has a ‘thing’ for frische luft (fresh air). If we are in the car, in the living room, at a restaurant, they’ll always want to get a bit of “frische luft”.
I too now love this idea of always getting some fresh air!
What would you like to “export” from Germany to your home country? And the other way around.
Kraft Peanut Butter. Regardless of how many people tell me how unhealthy it really is for me, I miss it every morning. I still eat my usual, peanut butter and banana on an English Muffin (toasty as the German’s call it), but it’s not the same without good old Kraft Peanut Butter.
Vice versa. I’d bring all the cheese, beer and fresh asparagus that I possibly could (if any of that were legal and light enough to bring in a suitcase).
How important is the concept of nationality for you?
I’m a travel blogger, so that should go without answering. I’m a proud Canadian, but I’m also proud to call Germany my home. I should have been deemed a citizen of the world by the government somewhere along the way, so nationality for me? It’s just a legality.
Tell us a few words about your blog?
Besides what I told you earlier on, #LifeInDüsseldorf is much more than just a blog. It is an online community. It is not me writing “the top 10 _________ in Düsseldorf”, it is me talking to locals, asking forums, chatting with expats, calling businesses and then sharing collaborative content pieces that are put together by everyone in the community. I also run a Facebook page, an Instagram account, a Twitter account and organize unique meetups around the city that will help newer citizens get better aquainted to their new home.