Finding English-Speaking Doctors, Dentists and Opticians

One of the most daunting aspects when coming to live in Germany is what to do when medical problems occur.

I am often asked how to go about finding an English-speaking doctor, dentist or optician. I plan on doing a full article on this subject in the future, but for now I want to share my experiences since being here. One of the biggest myths about Germany is that everyone speaks English. A bigger myth is that all professionals speak it fluently. Whilst these myths may be true in large cosmopolitan cities, it isn’t the case in other ‘lesser’ areas. Continue reading “Finding English-Speaking Doctors, Dentists and Opticians”

Filing German Taxes

Moving to a new country is always daunting. Dealing with taxation must sit at the top of the “Oh My God” list for most expats, especially given that German taxation is complex even for the natives. Rightly or wrongly, I relied on my employer to get it right although my payslips always used to mystify me given that they were a full A4 sheet of seemingly endless deductions.

However, for me, things became complicated after I bought an investment property in Berlin and a small business. All this meant doing income tax and VAT returns electronically in German. To attempt to do it myself would have been a recipe for disaster, so I got professional help.
Continue reading “Filing German Taxes”

Useful Addresses

You may or may not have noticed it, but I have a page titled “Useful Addresses” on this blog. I am developing this page to create a kind of businesses directory of companies and organisations in the area able to help those who speak little or no German.

It would really help me if people could let me know of any businesses that they are aware of in the area with a good knowledge of English. They can be anything – car mechanics, butcher shops, florists, plumbers, hairdressers, etc. I am not so interested in bars as most people manage to order drinks okay. Also, larger supermarkets are usually self-explanatory and don’t present a problem for non-German speakers.

If you have any suggestions, please do let me know using the form below. Please note that I have deliberately not asked for any of your personal information (name, email, etc.) due to the new data protection laws.

By the way, the format of the Useful Addresses page is only temporary. In time, I plan on making it much more user-friendly, and maybe searchable if WordPress allows me.

Mosel Flood Levels

If you ever wondered how deep the Mosel gets during winter, the pic above says it all.

I am 6’2″ (189 cm) tall so had I been standing at that same point in Cochem in 1993 I’d have been in serious trouble! And for any of you that have been to Cochem, you will know that the normal level of the river is significantly below the street level..

Ketchup and Mayonnaise

One thing which always seems to shock people when they come to Germany is having to pay for ketchup and mayonnaise to go with their fries. I know it sounds like a simple thing, but it rankles so many.

How many of you have had a meal at a well-known burger chain and sat down only to find that no condiments on the tray? I bet you then had a gut-wrenching feeling as you are asked to pay for every sachet when you return to the counter to get some ketchup to go with your fries? Worse still, you purchased the meal from a drive-through and ended up eating dry fries?

I have lived in several countries over the years, but Germany has been the only one that does this. To me, it is a huge culture shock. For heaven’s sake, even in Lebanon you can help yourself to ketchup or barbecue sauce from pump action dispensers! And it is not only the fast food chains that are charging for a dollop of ketchup or a splodge of mayo – I have even had to pay extra in some of the more upmarket places.

So, if you like a lot of sauce with your fries, be prepared to pay a bit extra to actually get it.

English-speaking Medical Specialists

As discussed in my previous post titled “Finding English-Speaking Doctors, Dentists and Opticians”, one of the most daunting things about living abroad is finding help for medical problems.

I know from personal experience that locating English-speaking medical practitioners is not easy in Germany. Of course, they do exist, but they rarely advertise their language abilities making finding them rather difficult. In this article, I try to give you some guidance on how to find what you are looking for. Continue reading “English-speaking Medical Specialists”

German Property Searches

In response to a growing number of messages I am receiving asking about how to go about finding properties in the area, I can recommend the following web search engines:

Unfortunately, they are in German but it is easy enough to find your way around them using a dictionary, or for those who really cannot be bothered, by running them through an online translator such as the one available on Google Chrome.

I am working on doing a full article which will include common terminology and other bits of advice on finding property. I will publish that as soon as I can.

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