1. Jen
    December 9, 2010 @ 9:07 pm

    Now I understand…thanks for explaining. I kind of like the good cop/bad cop ying/yang balance they’ve got goin’ on with Nicholas.

    • Andrew
      December 10, 2010 @ 9:13 pm

      Yeah, the US has merged the two into one big jolly blob with a “bad list”.

  2. Eric zimmerman
    December 8, 2010 @ 7:42 pm

    Hello, I want to tell you I really enjoy your blogs. I will soone be moving to Germany (23rd) to join my wife and children who have been over since April. She is a German citizen who I have been married to for almost 11 years. She is living in a small village of Beesdau about 40 minutes outside of Berlin, along with my son 7 and daughter 14. She cam over before me to see if she would be able to find work (she is a dental hygentist) and to see if the chidren could adapt to the culture. She found work right away and the kids love it there. So now it is my turn to make the journey. I have vacationed in Germany several times with her and have always loved the beauty, and laid back lifestyle. Living there is another thing. Blogs like yours and a few others I have followed have really helped to prepare me and let me know what to expect once I am there. My two biggest fears is language barriers and finding work. I have two degress a bussiness management, and e-commerence degree, but do not know how much this will help in finding a job when I cannont speak German, any ideas? I would also love to find any expat groups in my area or in Berlin to socialize with would love to know if you have any ideas on locating them. It is refreshing to know there are many others like yourself that have come over in simular situations as mine and have not only made it but love living here. I know that no matter where you live there are going to be pros and cons and that alot of happiness is, what you make of your situation. Anyways thanks again for having a great blog, never stop writing.

    • Andrew
      December 10, 2010 @ 9:19 pm

      I’m so glad that my little set of stories is helpful. Berlin should have plenty of opportunities for work, even without an enormous amount of German, but 40 miles is a haul. Just check the normal stuff online for work. Monster.de, stepstone.de are both good. thelocal.de/jobs will have a listing of the Monster Jobs that explicitly mention english.

      Especially if you live in a small village, learning the language will be important. You are lucky to have a wife and kids to help you. Kids especially will pick it up quickly. In the smaller villages, there may be fewer expats unless there is an Army base nearby. Just search online for your area. There are plenty of expat websites.

      I wish you the best in coming over.

  3. Ali
    December 7, 2010 @ 3:23 am

    Ok there’s a big difference between getting coal and drowning in the river. Also I’m beginning to worry about your chocolate addiction 🙂

    • Andrew
      December 7, 2010 @ 7:31 am

      If I read the Wiki stuff right, the drowning and more severe punishments are associated with the more Catholic regions. There is nothing wrong with chocolate and I have plenty to share. 🙂

  4. Sabrina
    December 6, 2010 @ 8:37 pm

    Nikolaus! I used to love that holiday as a kid. The bad dude is called Knecht Ruprecht and around Koeln he brings you twigs and not coal if you’ve been bad 🙂 But everybody I know always got chocolate. And my parents always told me that my boots had to be super clean when I put them out. Otherwise, Nikolaus wouldn’t bring anything…

    • Andrew
      December 7, 2010 @ 7:29 am

      Oh cool, you actually did this as a kid. I hope I did the holiday justice with my explanation.
      I always remember thinking that coal would be actually more useful if you were cold in the winter rather than sweets.