On My Exile (Part 1)

(Originally posted December 2015)  

It has been 665 days since my exile.  Below is a very short record of my experience.  Disclaimer: I live in one state in Germany. If you think that what I say encompasses all of Germany, it would be like saying that the entire U.S. is like Florida. Your experience and mileage may vary. 

First things first: Yes. The weather here is dreary sometimes. It rains - A lot. I think that is why Germans are so prepared all the time. I also think that is why Jack Wolfskin can sell you a 300 Euro four piece jacket that would be fitting for a spring wedding or the apocalypse.  In the U.S. if you plan on going anywhere, you look out the door and maybe look at the weather report, you go somewhere, and it inevitably rains.  You get stuck under an overhang until it stops or you make the mad dash to your car and end up soaking wet. Germans could be on vacation in the middle of a desert and on the one-in-a-billion chance it rains, happen to have an umbrella that they have hidden in another dimension until they needed it. 

When I first got here I was astounded by the toilet paper. The best toilet paper in the States is 3-ply. 3-ply paper is the good shit that you buy when you are rich, but not rich enough to pay someone to wipe your ass. When my wife and I started living together, she balked at the 2-ply that I was buying. I thought she was being a little bit of an elitist, but after I moved here I found out why. . . They have 6-ply toilet paper here. 6-PLY. It is like wiping your ass with a cloud that is made from cashmere, puppy fur, and love. I had no idea why anyone would ever think that 6-ply toilet paper was necessary, until I realized that the diet here is based on you eating your weight in pork products every week.

The Autobahn. I simultaneously love and hate the Autobahn. I learned a couple things driving the Autobahn: 

1. 80 MPH is slow 

2. A 2012 Kia Forte will do at least 120 MPH. 

3. A 2012 Kia Forte SHOULDN’T go 120 MPH. 

Now for the bad. Construction and traffic jams. Construction is constant, and I have to always be prepared to go from 110 MPH to 45 then back to 110. There are also so many traffic jams here, German radios have the ability to pick up the traffic broadcast – even if the radio is off. It is a little trippy when you are just lost in your thoughts and suddenly some woman is yelling traffic information in German at you.

Germans also take really good care of their cars. For my 1/3rd life crisis (yes, I plan on living until I am 120) I bought myself a 16 year old station wagon. An Audi A4 turbo-diesel station wagon. If this is what German “soccer moms” are driving, I never knew what I was missing. This car is fun. Amazingly fun.  It has less than 100K miles on it, and for the most part, is like new.

Travel here is so easy. Back when I lived in Utah, it was a 7 hour drive to Vegas. I made that trip quite a bit. I though Vegas was close. Now, I drive to France to visit their grocery stores, just for variety. Within 7 hours of where I live, I can visit 9 different countries. No border checks, no bullshit.Don’t get me wrong, I miss the U.S. and I miss my family, but I am going to enjoy the shit out of my time here.


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