Kalima was born and raised in Kazakhstan and earned her law degree in China, but she left all of that behind her when she married her German husband and moved to Hamburg. She has been living in Germany since March 2015, works in the Gastronomy and plans to pursue a Masters. She shares her findings about typical German life in comparison to life in Kazakhstan with us (but she doesn’t like to have her family name written online).
Employland: Let’s begin with a typical morning: What is your usual breakfast when you are in Germany? What is your usual breakfast when in Kazakhstan?
Kalima: My usual breakfast in Germany is “Müsli”, oats with milk and coffee. In my opinion, a typical breakfast in Germany is very similar to the breakfast in Kazakhstan. It is “Brötchen” (bread roll) with butter, cheese, jam or eggs and most of the time a cup of tea, instead of coffee. Most of the people in Kazakhstan prefer to drink black tea, while German people love to drink coffee. I started to drink a lot of coffee here, more than ever.
Employland: What about Sundays, Germany’s day of rest, what are those typically like in comparison to Sundays in Kazakhstan?
Kalima: Well, my typical Sunday in Germany is spent at work, or on the rare occasion at home, studying German. In Kazakhstan I spent time with my family or went shopping with my friends on Sundays. Actually, I was very surprised that shops in Germany are closed on Sundays and most of the shopping malls are only open until eight. In Kazakhstan, the shopping malls are open everyday and most of them stay open until midnight.
Employland: How do German supermarkets differ from supermarkets in Kazakhstan?
Kalima: Supermarkets in both countries are similar to each other. There is just one big difference, in the entrance of a Kazakh supermarket costumers have to put big bags in a “save box”, they are only allowed to take inside small bags and purses. Another difference is that German supermarkets sell products labeled as biologic at a discount price. I do enjoy that.
Employland: What are some things that only happen in Germany, or only in Kazakhstan?
Kalima: Everything is planned in Germany. In the public transportation system, for example, buses have a strict timetable showing the exact arrival times for each station. I find this very helpful when planning a trip. At some stations there are even installed displays showing the approximated waiting time for the next bus, including delays. It is really helpful in everyday life. What is a unique experience in Kazakhstan? Well, let me say it like this: if you ever find the love of your life to be a Kazakh, you will be having a massive wedding with at least 300 guests. You can pay for it with your savings, get a credit card, rob a bank, or have your family pay for it…but the wedding will be huge.
Employland: Have you adopted any German habits? Or do you have habits from Kazakhstan that you will never give up?
Kalima: My new habit, which I developed here in Germany, is planning everything one or two months beforehand. I plan my work schedules, my doctor appointments, dinners with friends, etc. I plan my days for the whole month. This is not really a habit, but in Kazakhstan often multiple generations of a family live together in one household. Since I live in Hamburg without my family, it is my “replacement habit” to call my mother very often and talk with her for hours.
Also in our blog: Living the Indian way in Eastern Germany – Dinesh Kumar Kodavali from India shares his experiences of living and studying Engineering in Magdeburg. Also interesting: Naked greetings in the sauna, a bakery on every corner, and – ha – German buses do run late: Read the interview with Megan Lester from Portland, Oregon (USA).