What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.
One of the first things I recommend bringing would be medicines. Most of the German medicines I tried where weaker doses than I was used to or where homeopathic remedies. I felt very little effect when I was sick with say the flu. If you attempt to go to a Pharmacy (apotheka) First you have to know what the medicine is called in German. Second you have to hope the Apotheka is open. If you are sick during lunch, after hours or on the weekends you may have to travel far to find the 1 open pharmacy in your area. All of this is hard to find out when you are new to Germany. So I always make sure I have a basic stock pile. cold medicine, cough suppressent, pain relievers etc.
Second thing I would definitly bring would be a few non-pershable items of "comfort food". I found it odd that as much as I love trying new foods I still missed the old mac and cheese. Bring a few items to snack on when you are feeling particularly homesick. Also I found it impossible to find the brown sugar that we are used to in the states. Bring a few baking items and spices as well.
Third would have to be very good walking shoes. Invest in them, they are worth the money. Living in Europe often requires a lot of walking on cobblestone streets. Your feet take a real beating. Shoes are expensive to buy there so you are better off doing that back in the US.
Things I would leave behind would be some of my books and CD's. I never used any those phrase books and only listened to about half of the cd's I brought.
Moving to Germany
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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
Frankfurt is a wonderful city. There are a lot of wonderful areas you just have to get out there and explore. Expect things to be different than (USA)home but be open minded about it. I always said that it's not better or worse it's just different. Soak up the experience one day you may no be able to have it. Do what you need to do to make your at home. It's hard being a foriegner especially if it's your first time living overseas. Find a way to make yourself a safe spot where you feel be relaxed at the end of a day of learning a new language and exploring a new town.If you don't speak the language get out there start taking German lessons as soon as possible. Immerse yourself in it and it will get easier.
What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?
How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?
We had our company choose an apartment for us first. We where there 1 year and where able to explore all the areas around us. After that we choose a realtor to find an apartment for us. It was expensive but we really liked the apartment and where able to choose an area closer to the friends we had made and the places we liked to frequent.
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Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?
Cost of living is higher. Most things are more expensive than back in the US. We waited to buy a lot of basics (clothing, toiletries, books, shoes) when we where home visiting.