Freelancing, Marketing Communications

Life in Germany as a Canadian

Today is Canada’s birthday!

As it’s been awhile, I felt the need to hear the Canadian anthem and found this rendition on YouTube sung by The Tenors.  It gave me goosebumps, making me realize being a Canadian is still a powerful emotion even after 12 years of living in Germany.

Shortly after moving here, I started this blog to capture my experiences of living abroad and to keep in touch with family and friends back home.

Living and working as an expat has been extremely rewarding, but not without challenges along the way. Coincidentally, I came across this article from an interview I gave to C2 Magazine about living in Germany and working for a German company (Rotocontrol) back in 2011.

It was interesting to discover that some things haven’t changed over the last nine years. I still struggle with German and wish I could buy Cheerios here – my favourite childhood breakfast cereal.

Over the years, I’ve grown quite fond of living in Germany.

I appreciate how food is celebrated seasonally. For example, locally-grown asparagus is available mid-April to June and on every menu in a variety of ways – after that, what you’ll find maybe a bundle or two from Peru or elsewhere in the supermarket. In Canada, asparagus is readily available all year round.

Sundays are the best.

You’re not allowed to make noise (i.e. no worries about a neighbour firing up their lawnmower – or worse, a leaf blower – the minute you sit down outside to eat breakfast) and most stores remain closed. You’ll see people enjoying nature alone or with family by going for walks and bike rides, and lounging in cafés.

And the bread and buns here are soooooo goooood. Maybe one day I’ll be able to pronounce Brötchen (buns).

As a Canadian, the directness of Germans took some time getting accustomed to 😁, but I’ve learned to accept the honesty, even from a complete stranger telling me my car needs a wash.

I didn’t plan to work in Germany for the first few years, as my son at the time just turned four and I wanted to be fully available while we adjusted to life in a new country. But after my husband suddenly lost his job due to a company bankruptcy, I needed to re-enter the workforce sooner.

Heather-Roth-ROTOCONTROLMy husband was offered a position with a German company Rotocontrol, who was just starting up at the time. I joined soon after to assist with their marketing communications, and really appreciated their flexibility in allowing me to work from home. Without family here to assist with childcare, this flexibility helped me work part-time while my son attended Kindergarten.

A few years later and still enjoying my work for Rotocontrol, I had an idea of offering marcom services to other companies as a freelance business. Soon after I had Rotocon and MPS as clients and am grateful to still work with them today – in addition to Rotocontrol and other great companies in the print industry.

Often I’m asked if I feel ‘wohl’ (comfortable) living in Germany. For the most part I am and appreciate my journey here that has enriched my life.

Another question I’m asked is what I miss most about Canada. Top 3 are:

  1. My family and friends.
  2. Knowing if I have car trouble and find myself on the side of a road, at least 5 cars will pull over in the first minute asking what they can do to help.
  3. Ending my sentences with ‘eh’ and not getting strange looks.

I believe home is where you are. For me, right now it’s Germany. And hopefully I’ll hear ‘welcome home’ again from the customs agent in Toronto if I can return back in October for a 3-week visit.

Today, I am wearing red and white, and wish Canada a very Happy Birthday!

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