Expat Voices: Abador von Katzbach on living in Germany

Expat Voices: Abador von Katzbach on living in Germany

Comments2 comments

American expat Abador von Katzbach loves Berlin’s international outlook and emphasis on culture but hates being told what to do.

Abador Barnaby Centennial von Katzbach
Nationality: American
City of residence: Berlin
Date of birth: 1983
Civil status: It’s complicated
Occupation: Companion, guard, assistant
Reason for moving to Germany: Accompanying partner

What was your first impression of Germany?

Great! Interesting and historic cities (especially Berlin), very international and lots of culture.

What do you think of the food?

Nice variety and cheap (in Berlin). Going high-end, one can dine well, there’s real value for money.

What do you think of the shopping in Germany?

It sucks – poor customer service, utter lack of helpfulness and friendliness in shops and there’s not a lot of variety, especially in textiles.

What do you appreciate about living in Germany?

Access to the rest of the world, especially France, Denmark and Poland. I also appreciate that people here actually read magazines, newspapers and yes, books.

What do you find most frustrating about living in Germany?

I don’t like being told what to do, which is something Germans excel at – this special brand of righteous indignation. I hate the customer service, the narrow aisles in supermarkets and the inability to find what you want. The weather is particularly awful, too.

What puzzles you about German culture and what do you miss since you’ve moved here?

I’m puzzled by why people have to be so grumpy in Berlin. I miss the chattiness of folks at home, the interest they take in others. I also dislike how people often compete to be ‘smarter’ than everyone else, how they have to lecture others about what they know, sometimes just talking to hear themselves talk and to seem intellectual.

How does the quality of life in Germany compare to the quality of life in other countries that you’ve lived in?

It rates very high because of the inexpensive cost of living, the access to other countries, the international flavour of Berlin and the emphasis put on socializing and taking in culture.

If you could change anything about Germany, what would it be?

The narrowness and how closed off people here are to new ideas. The mentality of resigned acceptance of things as they are and the culture of envy.

What advice would you give to a newcomer?

Learn the language.

Is there anything that you like to add, which we haven’t addressed in the questionnaire?

The questions somehow led to negative answers. But there is a lot to like about living here in Berlin: the freshness of food, especially fruit and vegetables; the attention toward being environmentally friendly; the priorities placed on family, friends and social events; the strengths of friendships; the emphasis placed on learning, free time, culture and travel. There is a lot on offer and a lot to love.


If you would like to share your perspective about life in Germany and contribute to Expat Voices, send an email to editorial@expatica.com with 'Please send me an Expat Voices questionnaire' in the subject line.

Comment here on the article, or if you have a suggestion to improve this article, please click here.

If you believe any of the information on this page is incorrect or out-of-date, please let us know. Expatica makes every effort to ensure its articles are as comprehensive, accurate and up-to-date as possible, but we're also grateful for any help! (If you want to contact Expatica for any other reason, please follow the instructions on this website's contact page.)

Captcha Note: Characters are case sensitive
The details you provide on this page will not be used to send any unsolicited e-mail, and will not be sold to a third party. Privacy policy .

2 Comments To This Article

  • cashy posted:

    on 12th August 2009, 04:22:42 - Reply

    Regarding Berlin - additional facts and figures:
    In June 2008, 473,117 residents (14.0% of the population) were of foreign nationality, hailing from 195 different countries.[49] Another 394,000 citizens (11.7%) are descendants of international migrants and have either become naturalized German citizens or obtained citizenship by virtue of birth in Germany.[50] The largest groups of foreign national are those from Turkey (113,779), Poland (44,400), Serbia (23,370), Russia (14,615), Italy (14,446), the United States (13,761), France (12,611), Vietnam (12,165), Croatia (11,029), Bosnia and Herzegovina (10,576), the United Kingdom (9,797), Greece (9,749), Austria (8,813), Ukraine (8,709), Lebanon (7,691), Spain (6,637), the People's Republic of China (6,013), Bulgaria (6,621), and Thailand (5,878).

  • Cashy posted:

    on 12th August 2009, 03:55:43 - Reply

    Abador von Katzbach is living in Berlin
    - so his experience is not of all of Germany - I for one love shopping in Germany particularily in Bavaria because I still find quality clothes which are stylish at an affordable price. My city in the US is New York and quality things are all imported from Europe (Italy, France, Germany) and frightfully expensive.
    And isn't it strange - he is complaining about Textiles?
    I imported high end Textiles from Germany into the US and sold to all the top Stores, Saks, Bloomis, Hammacher Schlemmer and Private Clubs.
    They thought my textiles were georgeous.

    His further complaints about narrow isles in the Supermarkets. I guess he has not seen New York City and the endless lines to get to the cash registers in a store like Trader Joe's for example. (Good products but endless lines and narow isles).

    Abador further states that he doesn't like to be told what to do.
    It seems to me that Abador propbably asked something about Berlin, or Germany or about the culture there. So answers were offered to him, because he is a foreigner and people wish to be helpful and assist. I think he is misinterpreting their offer to guidance as being told what to do.

    Oh and about the grumpiness of Germans in Berlin. Many aren't even German they are foreigners and have a language problem just like millions here in New York.
    Here in the Big Apple people don't show an interest when they travel the subways, are on escalators or are fed up with loud noises from busses and traffic.......... Big Cities take their toll. - so the masses here put plugs into their ears - this way the show their disinterest.!!!

    Maybe Abador should return to the folks at home, he seems to be more comfortable with them.

    about all on this subject.