5 ways my lifestyle changed after moving to Germany!

"Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans"- John Lennon.

This quote makes me think about every life choice I have made thinking it is going to improve my health or overall life quality, and how I quickly went back to my old ways!

Don't get me wrong! As a working woman, I am disciplined enough to balance my personal and professional life- not that it's a matter to be extremely proud of- most women are adept at multi-tasking! Before my relocation to Germany, I always prided myself on being meticulous and leaving nothing to chance! I planned everything to the T! Once I moved here, I realized the effect surrounding can have on a person- there are many things on which we have little control! This new life hacks in Germany blog is dedicated to those moments and how they have changed my life- probably for the better!

Never have I ever, left home without checking the weather forecast!

I landed in Germany on the 25th of November, 2019. What I thought was cold, was just the beginning. German winters can be very harsh and windy- it was nothing I had ever experienced (I have lived almost my entire life until now in/ near Mumbai). The sun rose at 8.30 AM and set by 4.15 PM (on some days even sooner). Some days it rained, some days it snowed, most days it was extremely windy. I soon realized that if I had to accomplish the most of any day, I should start listening or reading about the weather forecast. This helped me in ensuring I was wearing the right outfit, planning my errands at the right time to avoid showers or snow while also ensuring I get enough sunlight. The weather forecast is extremely accurate and even now, when it's summer, I am habituated to beginning my days with news and the weather forecast!

Never have I ever, been more active than I am now!

Hiking or "Wandern" is the most popular outdoor activity in Germany. Even without a planned hike, I have observed my daily quota of walking time increase. This can be mainly attributed to the fact that we don't yet own a car in Germany. Public transport is extremely efficient in Germany- and yet sometimes I just find it easier to walk to most places. Once wintertime is over, the weather becomes extremely pleasant. Complementing the weather are the pedestrian-friendly traffic rules, that make it possible to walk almost any distance anywhere! This aspect, I feel, is the most healthy change that has occurred in my lifestyle!

Never have I ever, learned & practised sustainable waste disposal until now!

The key term here is "sustainable". Sure, I did separate the dry waste from the wet, but it's only after I relocated to Germany that I began to appreciate the importance of waste disposal right from its source- our homes.

"Müll trennen" is the German phrase for garbage separation. Every waste in our household is meticulously sorted at home in at least 3 different bins before being discarded. Glass, cardboard, plastic, organic- every waste belongs to a different category. Glass is generally disposed of in public containers and one is expected to avoid creating any noise (which disposing of glass creates) during "Ruhezeiten" or quiet times. Many bottles have a refund if disposed at the automatic bottle return machine at supermarkets. These are called Pfandflaschen. There are special points where one can drop off bulky waste such as used sofas or an old TV. There are special public bins for clothes and shoes. It is quite complicated and hence the German Handbook of Waste Disposal is always open in my laptop browser!

Never have I ever, successfully taken care of healthy diet until now!

When I was in India, we dined out once every week, generally during the weekends. This has remained almost constant even now. What's changed? The fact that we don't order in as we did back home! Lieferando is the German counterpart of Swiggy or Zomato in India. However, the selection of restaurants that deliver is substantially less. As a result, my shopping habits have changed considerably. We buy more vegetables and fruits, fresh fish and meat to last us longer since we know that ordering in will not provide us with any form of instant gratification.

Never have I ever....alright this I have done....learned a new language!

I began learning German in August 2019. I wanted to be able to have a basic conversation once I reached Germany since I had heard about it being difficult for non-German speakers to get along with daily activities. Once I reached Karlsruhe, which is in the Southern region of Germany, I realized I could barely scrape by. I continued learning German at the VHS/ Volkshochschule with other immigrants. I realized that the only way one can become more proficient is to speak German whenever possible. Today I can happily converse with our landlord in German and also initiate conversations in German in trains and buses, there is still a long way to go- but I am getting better day by day! I love the fact that I can begin conversations in German and develop a level of trust with the person I am speaking to. More often than not, I don't understand everything- I ask people to repeat what they said slowly- and it's not a problem as most folks I have met have been very helpful! If you are moving to a country where the language is a barrier, I highly recommend learning the language. Learning the local language improves one's chances of getting along with your neighbours and colleagues. It also provides a perspective into lifestyle and culture as well as enhances your brain's functioning.

I am sure as time progresses, I will observe more changes in my lifestyle. Until then, I keep my fingers crossed that I am able to maintain these positive life changes!