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everyone has stories of where they've lived, share yours and help others decide on their next destination.

berlin, germany - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/28/13.

5

How much time have you spent in Germany? How old were you when you came to Germany? Where were you before? What brought you to Germany?

I moved to Berlin in April, 2006, and have spent 99% of my time there since then. I was 26, living in Union County, New Jersey. A friend of mine went to university for a year in Berlin, knew I wasn't very happy or doing much of anything in NJ, and suggested I check out Berlin as she thought I'd love it. I bought an open-ended ticket and never used the return trip - she was right.

Describe Berlin and your impressions of it.

I've haven't seen much of other German cities, but Berlin is unlike any of them, utterly unique.

Again, I think I should draw a distinction between Berliners and other Germans. Berliners are for the most part quite laid back, whereas for the rest of Germany, the anal-retentive stereotype does seem to exist for a reason.

Was making friends and meeting people in Germany in general easy or difficult?

Making friends here is ridiculously easy (for me at least). I had the advantage of having a couple of friends here already who introduced me to many others, as well as finding me a shared apartment to start off with. I...

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melbourne, australia - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/26/13.

4

How much time have you spent in Australia?

A bit over 3 years now.

How old were you when you came to Australia? Where were you before?

28. I had been living in California, but immediately before arriving in Australia I had been traveling around South East Asia for about 4 months.

What brought you to Australia? What made you choose Australia over any other place you could've gone?

I originally came here as a continuation of my SE Asian adventure. I have met so many Aussies in my travels and they seemed like a good sort. So I figured while I was in this neck of the woods, I would take the money I had set aside to get re-established in California to set myself up here.

Describe Melbourne and your impressions of it.

There is a reason Melbourne won most livable city on the planet is quite plain to see once you've lived here. It is clean, safe and easy to get around. Melbourne residents like to complain about their mass transit system, but it is effective and reliable, especially when compared to the rest of the world. I can walk around any neighborhood at any time of day or night and feel safe which is great because there would be the occasional stabbing or driveby...

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shanghai, china - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/26/13.

5

How much time have you spent in China?

I came over to Shanghai for a month back in 2009 to visit a friend. I liked it (and her) so much that about 12 months later I moved here. I've been here a little over 3 years now.

How old were you when you came to China? Where were you before?

I was 27 when I moved here, and I just turned 30. I had lived my entire life in my home country (the UK) up until then.

What brought you to China? What made you choose China over any other place you could've gone?

It was a combination of 2 things really - firstly I had become pretty disillusioned with my life in the UK - I had a good job and decent salary but was still living from paycheque to paycheque, and over the last 10 years or so I didn't really like the direction that the country had been going in. I'd still say I'm proud to be an English person, but I wouldn't particularly want to live in England. Basically, I wanted as much of a change as possible in terms of pace of life, culture, language, everything - and China certainly delivered that. Also, I had become romantically interested in a friend who had moved here and wanted to pursue that - so I would say that she is probably the...

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israel - anonymous' reflections after years there in their teens

posted by anonymous on 10/25/13.

4

Well my experience isn't valid for all of Israel but I did make a few observations.

Israelis can be SUPER FUCKING RACIST. I mean it happens within the country(ashkenazi/sepharadi Jews) but mostly it's toward anyone who's not Jewish. Anyone who isn't Jewish is inferior and should not be associated with unless it's absolutely necessary, IE you can talk to them if say you need to interact with them for a work situation but don't be their friends and NEVER EVER date or marry them(with the exception being that they convert and agree to live here and raise their children Jewish). I've heard guys say that they'd never date a girl who ever dated a non-Jew because it makes her filthy and tainted. Also met a few girls who claimed that they would give any guy who ever showed interest in them a chance, they would literally date anyone because "they might have a good personality"(at least that's what they claimed) but non-Jewish guys? No because that's gross and pretty much the same as sleeping with animals. Obviously this isn't something that applies to all Israelis but I've heard this attitude pop up way too many times. On the other hand I've heard some other Israelis on reddit say...

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japan - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/24/13.

3

How much time have you spent in Japan?

I lived there for 5 years. I did a couple of exchanges in high school as well.

How old were you when you came to Japan? Where were you before?

I graduated from uni in Australia, 8 months before heading over. I had just finished my BA of primary education with an ESL major, and a BA of International and global studies with a major in Japanese. I was 21 when I arrived in Japan.

What brought you to Japan? What made you choose Japan over any other place you could've gone?

I had been studying Japanese since grade 8 in High School. I'd had to choose between studying either Japanese or German, and I though Japanese would be a bit more interesting. I actually really hated it but at the end of grade ten, when I'd made up my mind to drop it, my mum had a conference in Chiba and took me along with her to practice Japanese. Totally blew my mind, so I signed up for another 2 years. Around this time I got introduced to serious kanji and keigo and decided fuck that, I'm wasn't going to study Japanese in uni. At the start of grade 12 I had chicken pox, and missed the exchange trip that my school did to Japan. My mum and my teacher talked about...

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south korea - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/24/13.

3

How much time have you spent in South Korea?

I was in South Korea for 2 years, from December of 2010 until February of 2013. I also went back for a week recently for vacation.

How old were you when you came to South Korea? Where were you before?

I’m from Ohio, USA. When I left I was 24. I was still living with my parents up until the time I left.

What brought you to South Korea? What made you choose South Korea over any other place you could've gone?

I went to SK to teach English. I originally chose it because of the possible locations (China, Japan, etc.) it was listed as one of the best places to start and had really good pay by comparison. The goal was to pay off the student loans.

Describe the city you lived in in South Korea and your impressions of it.

I lived in Cheongju, which is pretty much in the middle. There is a common saying in Cheongju: “People that move here never leave.” Cheongju has a very home-like feel to it. It’s small by comparison to other cities but still has a few outs for entertainment and western goods. The foreign community is very tight there because we aren’t very large. Everyone knows everyone by face and you can make some amazing...

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the united states - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/24/13.

2

How much time have you spent in the US?

3 years.

How old were you when you came to the US? Where were you before?

26, was in UK and NZ before.

What brought you to the US? What made you choose the US over any other place you could've gone?

Wife's family lived there (wife is American, I'm English. We were married and lived in England for 2 years before traveling)

Describe the city you lived in in the US and your impressions of it.

Billings, MT - remote, desolate, hard-edged, hard-drinking but contains some of the warmest and kindest people I've ever met. It's a town surrounded by nothing, the next biggest city is 10 hours drive away so it's rather insular. With only 100,000 residents it's the biggest city in the state but not on the same scale as places I'm used to.

What are the people of the US like? In what ways are they different than people in other places you've lived?

It is a city (and by extension a nation) of contrasts: liberals and racists, gays and homophobes, neo-nazis and human rights activists. My time there was enjoyable, people there are generally just getting by and doing their own thing. As an Englishman I was treated very kindly.

I live in...

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the united kingdom - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/24/13.

3

Before I start I should probably mention that at the moment I'm living in Japan.

I lived in the UK over three periods.

I first arrived in the UK when I was 22 in 2002 after having done the first year of my studies at a university in Australia. I lived in London for the remainder of my studies - 2 years, plus another 6 months while deciding what to do. London probably remains my favourite city in the world (that I have lived in). The city is big enough and diverse enough that you can get almost anything, be it in terms of food, books or whatever. It has some great museums, good cinemas and good clubs. People in London are a strange bunch. I made some very good friends while at university, but the average person on the street is not always that friendly and in some areas can be downright scary (especially in south London). But I never was personally attacked. Being white male and Danish, I never experienced any forms of discrimination, beyond the friendly jab at my accent, luckily there was German in my circle of friend who absorbed a lot of the (good humoured) jokes.

Socialising in London happens at the pub, and on a more intimate scale at home (being students, often with a...

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copenhagen, denmark - anonymous' thoughts after months there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/24/13.

1

How much time have you spent in Copenhagen?

I was there for 6 months.

How old were you when you came to Copenhagen? Where were you before?

I was living in the United States at the time. I was 23 at the time.

What brought you to Copenhagen?

Ostensibly I was there to take some classes to further my MBA. In reality it was because I wanted to travel to a different continent and the opportunity presented itself.

Describe Copenhagen and your impressions of it.

Copenhagen was the city. I was in the Vesterbro neighborhood. It was pretty rough at the time. I remember it being advertised in the school pamphlet as "The Real Copenhagen". It was a predominantly Muslim neighborhood - many an Iraqi flag were flown after a major soccer win. The neighborhood was somewhat lovingly referred to as "Kebab-ville" and lived up to the billing - the foreign food in the area was some of the best I've had even now in my life. The transportation was great. Even in one of the poorer neighborhoods, the dive bars and restaurants were much more expensive than I was used to.

How does the city you lived in compare to other cities in Denmark?

Within Denmark, it was much easier to be an English...

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the united states - anonymous' reflections after spending decades there

posted by anonymous on 10/24/13.

1

I came over in 1995. I believe it was April. I was 5 years old when I moved to America. I lived in Chisinau Moldova. It's one of, it not the poorest country in Europe. But we got by. I was too young to really know or care. I played soccer with my relatives and friends all day every day. I didn't need much else to entertain myself.

My grandfather was the head of the household. What he said goes. He worked at the railroad doing what I don't know. But something that let him talk to the customers a lot. He got to know all the important people that way and made friends. We knew he wanted to move the family somewhere, anywhere... Eventually, he was friendly enough with immigration that he could get my mom/dad/me and my uncle/aunt and their 2 sons to America through whatever means, legal or not (I was never told but probably illegal). We had family there (my other, older aunt/uncle moved there in the 80's) so they could help us out when we got there. We could have gone to Germany, Israel, Australia, or America. Obviously if you have a chance to go to the land of the free, AND you have family there, you take it.

When we came to America, we moved into an apartment complex in northeast...

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copenhagen, denmark - anonymous' reflections after years there in their teens

posted by anonymous on 10/22/13.

6

How much time have you spent in Denmark?

I'm now living my 8th year in Denmark, periods 2000 - 2005 & 2011 - present. When living in the states my family visited usually twice a year.

How old were you when you came to Denmark? Where were you before?

I was born in DK, moved to the states straight after, then again from the age of 7 to 12, and again from 18 to present. I lived in Northern California otherwise.

What brought you to Denmark? What made you choose Denmark over any other place you could've gone?

Well when I lived with my family then it wasn't really a choice I my part but we moved to DK for family. After graduating high school I moved for education, but I had wanted to move back to DK since freshmen/sophomore year but wasn't aloud to due to my parents wanting me to graduate high school first (which evidently was worth jack-shit over here and ended up taking the IB (another secondary education)). I chose DK because I spoke the language pretty well, was a Danish citizen, but also I prefer the social aspects especially in the teenage - young adult ages, I feel that it is a lot more open and responsibility is given to people at a much younger age, already...

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brussels, belgium - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/22/13.

9

My experience with Brussels is a very personal one, from mere choice and not, for example, because of a job. And because Belgium doesn't have much of a reputation to compare to, like other big cities. And Belgium is a very unique country, economically, culturally, politically. While I've been here Belgium was without a government for over 500 days, mostly stemming from the bizarre cultural divide. The country is divided between the Flemish and Walloons. Their cultures, languages, and economics are so vastly different that nobody can reconcile differences. Imagine if the USA and Mexico were suddenly transformed into a single country with a single leader. Americans wouldn't want their tax money to go to people they have almost nothing in common with, and who aren't contributing nearly as much. I guess we can start to see a similar sentiment between Republican and Democrats, though I think that's less fundamental.

How much time have you spent in Belgium?

A little over 6 years.

How old were you when you came to Belgium? Where were you before?

I was living in Seattle, WA, USA. I was 27 when I moved here (34 as I write this).

What brought you to Belgium? What made you choose...

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vilnius, lithuania - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/22/13.

7

How much time have you spent in Lithuania?

One and a half years now.

How old were you when you came to Lithuania? Where were you before?

I was in my mid twenties and still in my mid twenties.

What brought you to Lithuania? What made you choose Lithuania over any other place you could've gone?

I wanted to work in Europe and in my field Europe tends to be reserved for more experienced individuals. When I got an offer from Eastern Europe I was a little skeptical but quickly warmed up to the idea when I heard of the English language fluency, people and food in Lithuania.

Describe the city you live in in Lithuania and your impressions of it.

I live in the capital of Vilnius in Lithuania. For foreigners it's a very nice place to live. It has one of the largest old towns in Europe which makes it a very charming location to live year round. Vilnius is one of those places where you can find something new and different to do every time you adventure out in it. There are loads of small businesses and restaurants around the city center. I try to go to new restaurants as frequently as I can and there are no shortage of them. The public transit can be frustrating for people who...

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germany - anonymous' thoughts after months there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/20/13.

4

I spent almost 11 months there. I left a little bit more than two years ago, so I was 22, 23 when I left.

I went on a scholarship, which I applied to and because nobody else in my school did, I got the scholarship just for turning in all the paper work. I live in South Alabama, so the sole idea of leaving the state is a bit too much for most of the people at my school.

I lived in Mainz. It was great! It wasn't a huge tourist trap like Munich or Heidelberg. It wasn't a small little town, either. I was near Frankfurt, Heidelberg and about 3 hours from Paris. Because there were no tourists around, people didn't speak English as much, which really helped me in with my German. But what always got me was that if I crossed the Rhein river into Wiesbaden, I'd hear English all the time because of an American military base there.

Well, before I got there, I kept on hearing that Germans were a bit reserved. Then when all the international students at the my Uni went through orientation, we were told the same thing, and most of them barely made German friends. But as for myself, my first day there, I heard two of the guys speaking out in the hall way. I just went out and introduced...

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frankfurt, germany - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/20/13.

3

How much time have you spent in Germany?

I spent 1.5 years in Frankfurt, Germany.

How old were you when you came to Germany? Where were you before?

I was 22 when I moved to Germany. I was living in the Netherlands before that.

What brought you to Germany? What made you choose Germany over any other place you could've gone?

I had been learning German and, at the time, had a German girlfriend. I'd spent a lot of time in Germany and with Germans, so I felt a closeness with the culture.

Describe the city you live in in Germany and your impressions of it.

Frankfurt is a business oriented city with a lot of internationals. It's a hard place to love, but it has everything you could need and there's a soul if you look hard enough.

How does the city you live in compare to other cities in Germany? What drew you to the city you live in over other cities in Germany?

Frankfurt was pretty much trashed in WW2 and was rebuilt with the intention of being a moderm city. So there's not a whole lot in terms of old architecture like in other cities. It's also kind of a cold, business oriented place. I was drawn there because I worked at the airport, which is a huge european...

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the netherlands - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/20/13.

3

How much time have you spent in the Netherlands?

A little over 4 years.

How old were you when you came to the Netherlands? Where were you before?

I was 19 when I first moved to the Netherlands. Before that, I lived in Chicago.

What brought you to the Netherlands? What made you choose the Netherlands over any other place you could've gone?

Long story short, I had a German girlfriend who was going to school here and I didn't have much going for me in the US. They have a lot of English University programs here, so I kind of dropped everything and just started university here.

Describe the city you live in in the Netherlands and your impressions of it.

I lived for years in The Hague, though I now live in Amsterdam. The Hague is a quiet, beautiful place with a pretty big international community. It's definitely not a party oriented place, but you can always find things to do. Amsterdam, on the other hand, is constantly alive and there's always something going on (for better or worse). It's a beautiful place with a never ending supply of interesting things to do. The only drawback is the tourists.

How does the city you live in compare to other cities in the...

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brazil - anonymous' thoughts after months there in their teens

posted by anonymous on 10/19/13.

0

Describe the city you lived in in Brazil and your impressions of it.

Rio Grande: one part Europe, one part Africa haha

Had more crime than most places I've lived, but I'm originally from Detroit so crime-wise it was probably safer in Rio Grande. But Flint is an anomaly in the first world. Rio Grande is not a very large city.

What are Brazilians like?

In general they're very friendly, although this is less true in the south and in bigger cities. Life for them tends to be simpler than we're used to. But Brazil is an extremely large country with an incredibly diverse population so it's difficult to generalize too much. They're just very open. Very easy to make friends with a Brazilian. Of course some would say they're superficial people, and this perspective has its validity. It's like anywhere else: making true friends takes time. But making initial friendly contact is very easy. They're friendlier, they're poorer, they love to fazer festa!!!

Was making friends and meeting people in Brazil in general easy or difficult?

It took a while for me to make friends. A lot of people just wanted to meet the gringo but not necessarily form deeper bonds. The language barrier...

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shanghai, china - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 40s

posted by anonymous on 10/19/13.

5

What brought you to China? Where were you before?

I had visited my buddy here once before. We did the full tourism tour with his family - Great Wall, Forbidden City, Terra Cotta Warriors, then, Shanghai.

Describe your impressions of China in general.

It's different. It’s not as developed (generally) as the West but has a vast history that puts mine (US) to shame. The culture is amazing and ingrained in a lot of daily activities.

Shanghai is the most dynamic city I’ve ever seen. Friends who have moved away for a year or two don’t recognize their neighborhoods when they come back. The growth of new buildings is amazing.

Shanghai & Beijing (& HK) have an ongoing rivalry for the ‘best city’ in China. Beijing people think Shanghai people are greedy. Shanghai people think Beijing people think they are entitled and pompous. I can’t speak to Beijing but Shanghai is truly an international city. I don’t know of anything you can’t buy here. They have a pizza restaurant here that is better than any pizza I’ve had in the States (and I got a slice before in New York and have eaten at Chicago’s original deep dish restaurant). They are open-minded, and forward thinking. They strive to...

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hong kong, china - anonymous' reflections after years there in their teens

posted by anonymous on 10/18/13.

7

How much time did you spend in Hong Kong?

I'm German-American, and I lived in Hong Kong for 8 years, and my family still lives there. I currently study abroad in the Netherlands, but Hong Kong is home to me. I'm a Permanent Resident of Hong Kong, which essentially just means I'm officially a citizen og Hong Kong, and can travel in and out and work there without needing to worry about visas and such, which is really nice to have!

How old you are/were while in Hong Kong?

I moved to Hong Kong with my family when I was 13, and I'm now 22. I went through secondary education there at an International school.

What brought you to Hong Kong? Where were you before?

I came to Hong Kong after having lived in upstate New York for 3 years. Before that I had lived in Beijing for 3 years and Wisconsin for 7 years. My family moved to Hong Kong because my Mother is a professor of linguistics and Chinese literature and film, and she got a job teaching at a university in Hong Kong.

Describe your impressions and thoughts about Hong Kong.

Hong Kong is a really busy and fast-paced place. It's densely packed outside of the New Territories, and even those are more densely inhabited than...

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hong kong, china - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/18/13.

6

I've been living in Hong Kong for over five years now. I had first visited Hong Kong when I was 24, and moved out when I was 25.

Previously I was living in Minnesota in the Minneapolis area. I was working at a board game company managing their production and arranging orders with various factories. Because we were starting to do orders with larger clients, we wanted to make sure there would be no safety and work compliance issues with the factory, I was sent out to do an inspection. I spent about a week and a half in the upper Guangdong area, and then spent about half a week in Hong Kong. Through a friend of a friend, I was able to meet up and hang out with a lot of non-work related people, and became good friends with a few of them. After that, I came back to the US and went through a breakup with my now ex-gf. Keeping in contact with the people over in Hong Kong, me and another girl whom I had met on my trip became very close, and eventually started long-distance dating. She flew over a few times to the US to spend some time with me, including Christmas to meet my family. She flew over again in February, and proposed to her. We weren't exactly sure how the marriage would work...

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