German Life vs. American Life
My family and I have completed our US citizenship interview and are about to take the oath. It has now been 8 years since I came to the United States. In other words, more time has passed than I have lived in Germany. For this reason, people around me often ask me which life I am more satisfied with: living in Germany or living in the US.
In fact, the answer is that neither side can be compared. Back when I was in Germany, I watched a TV show in which a mother of two living in Germany and a mother of two living in the United States switched positions. An American mother who went to Germany felt tired of the life of a German housewife, who had to do everything by hand and by herself.
On the other hand, the German mother, who went to the US, went to a Spa for getting manicure and pedicure services and had a good time shopping and party with children. However, She was worried because there were few things she had to do in her family. I remember that it was a program where people complained and admired each other through video chat. This TV show is just a show, and there is no such thing as a script for life, so you have to be diligent to live in Germany and shop every day in America.
I, too, have pros and cons to each life, and confess that life is not something that can be evaluated as perfectly good. As always, there is nothing to solve our life dramatically and fantastically. However, there is definitely something special to explain it.
For example, I still miss the cultural life I enjoyed for free in Germany. High quality Music performances that I listened everywhere for free, various types of cafes, picturesque castles that can be seen even after just a short drive on the autobahn, galleries that I could see every other street on a bustling street, intelligent and honest people, various and abundant playgrounds and children's facilities. I miss everything, I could enjoy and share with them. Except for the gloomy and dark climate and the limited food culture, in a way, it seemed like an ideal country that was calm and well-organized. There, I didn't have to worry about tuition and medical expenses sometimes, and I was able to travel to various countries and cities every weekend by using an public transportation anywhere.
However, living in the United States certainly has some advantages. Freedom is especially good in America. In contrast to Germany, where formalities must be kept separately according to age or status, in the United States, everyone calls by name and regardless of age and social positions. Even if you go out in a sweatshirt and slippers, no one will say anything to you. I was intrigued to see people dressed as if they were on a picnic on graduation day and formal music performances. Unlike Germans who care a lot about other people's lives and ask a lot of questions, they are strangely uninterested and unconcerned about others. And because many races live together, there are various food cultures, and interesting conversations are held for each race and country. But living here I got a lot of bills and had to worry about tuition and medical bills. Compared to Germany, welfare benefits are absurdly small.
However, we settled here and are living our lives as immigrants and are in the process of becoming a citizen. Looking back, my experiences and time living in Korea, Germany, and Japan seem to have been very precious to me.
If you want to leave your hometown and go to another country to become a member of that country and become a citizen, you must focus on the strengths of that country. You have to find the good, find the meaning of life there, and try to improve the shortcomings. The life of immigrants is literally a life that comes in from the outside, a series of difficult and heterogeneous lives. In a state of zero with no relatives or friends, you have to build everything yourself from scratch. Just like a child is born and learns to speak, it is necessary to re-learn words and objects, observe and get to know people with different emotions, and harmonize with them. As an immigrant, this part was the most difficult for me to adapt. This is because there were many cases where it was impossible to know at what point to smile or what aspect to be careful about because of the difference in emotions. In a way, learning a language seems to be the process of discovering and recognizing these emotional differences.
For example, in Korea, it is not good to show yourself too much. There are many times when you need to be aware of your relationship with others first and speak carefully. If you open up and talk prematurely, you may offend the other party. The personality formed in this way was not helpful when living abroad. In other words, when you get to know each other , you can give the impression of hiding something. And in Korea, you have to observe good manners, especially give and take in human relationships. It is a virtue to exchange and collect gifts for each occasion and season. However, when dealing with locals with this virtue, they complained of pressure. I am also changing this habit a lot. I have a friend who helped me with this. She said that spending time with you is a gift, what more do you need? This is still the best prescription for me.
In this way, we are adapting as a member of the country and society. In the process of adapting as an immigrant, I met a lot of people, received a lot of help, and received a lot of love. Germans and Americans warmly helped a lot for strangers who could not read or speak. Without this help, it would be difficult for other people to live in that country. Because there are people with such a warm heart, it seems impossible to conclude that either side of life is more perfect.
Myungja Anna Koh