Thanks to my husbands time serving in the military we had the opportunity to live in Germany for three years. At the time, we felt that it seemed hard being so far away from many dear family and friends, but we also knew what a wonderful opportunity it would be as well, so we took full advantage of it.
There are so many perks to living overseas, and in our case, Europe. Here are some of the top reasons that I think you too should consider it if the opportunity were to present its self, or if you have the means to try and make it happen.
1. Travel – There is no accident why this is my number one reason. When else in life can you say on a Saturday morning, “Hey, let’s ride to France for the day!” We took advantage of it and loved it. We used our cars, we rented a car when we took a roadtrip to Poland, we used air travel often as well because the prices were so reasonable. And this is why in the three years we lived there we were able to go and see 14 countries and see some wonderful mountains, beaches, and countryside too! We also utilized the public train system to take to Frankfurt on occasion too. My mind is a blur, but I will do a quick trip down memory lane and list a few of the placed we visited:
London, England – by plane; Amsterdam and The Netherlands ( 2 different trips we took, to the same country – both by car);Barcelona, Spain as well as Lloret de Mar, Spain(we took a charter bus with a group); Sardinia, Italy – by plane; Munich, Germany – by charter bus with a group, Paris, France – by Charter bus with USO), Dingle, Ireland and Kerry, Ireland (by plane), Strausburg, France – by car, Metz, France – by car, Willigen, Germany – by car, Boleslawiec, Poland – by rental car for a polish pottery trip, Rothenburg, Germany – by car, 3 country tour of Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein – by charter bus, Garmisch, Germany – by car, Cologne, Germany ( spelled Koln in German) – by car, Luxembourg – by car, and Czech Republic by charter bus. There were many more cities within Germany that we ventured to as well, but I think you get the idea! Traveling to so many wonderful places is right at your finger tips, so take full advantage!
2. Healthcare and Babies – If you will be near a military installation, you will most likely have the luxury of seeing American doctors for routine check-ups, or random appointments when the children are sick. But you also will have the opportunity to utilize the hospitals that are of the country. My experience was in the Wiesbaden, Germany area. And I experienced having our first child in Germany. Not only did I have an OB that was only 2 miles away from our home with a local German doctor, but I also got to have an ultrasound of our baby at every single monthly appointment! That is one cool bonus. And as you can imagine with wintery weather, and kids, we did end up needing to see a doctor on the weekends, so I did need to use the Emergency rooms at the local German hospitals as well, and had positive experiences there as well.
3. The Food – Now I will tell you I’m still not a fan of most bratwursts, nor am I a wine/beer drinker really, and all of these things are certainly a part of the life in Germany, but getting out and trying the food of the local areas was always interesting and I did come to find some wonderful places we loved eating, and some of the best breads I’ve ever eaten for sure!! There is a bakery on literally every corner it seems in the large and small towns.
4. Festivals Often – There seemed to be festivals all the time! And being in Wiesbaden, a city that offers many wonderful cultural attractions, we could easily get to the local festivals because they were so close! More food, more music, more people, more music. What fun times and we loved them!
5. Christmas Markets – The Christmas Markets typically are open in cities the timeframe around the end of November, and end just a few days before Christmas. It is yet another time for food, music, exhibits selling crafts from the local vendors with products, amusement rides also often were available for small children. This is one of my most missed traditions from living in Germany. We went to the Christmas Markets in Frankfurt, Wiesbaden, and several other cities too!
The History – The history with the architecture alone is amazing and such an appeal to me. Walking on cobblestone streets that were older than The United States has been in existence was the norm. Seeing buildings that had more detail than anything I had seen before in America was commonplace. If you are a history buff at all, you will love it. If you are not,and you can just appreciate something for what it is, I think you too would get some great value out of being in and around such churches, cathedrals and embracing that there is more to this world than the walls of what you personally know having lived only in America.