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As a Scottish couple (Michael & Liane) we love our home country very much. But we love to travel too so we have taken lots of opportunities to see a few parts of the world with many more still to see. One place we have always returned to is Berlin and so every year we would ask ourselves could we live in Germany? Of course that answer is a simple yes, as European Citizens we are free to settle and work anywhere in Europe.
Answering the question is easy - removing yourself from the comfort of your home country, family, career, possessions to another country with another language and culture well that is a bit more difficult. In many ways it felt like a small step but in others it was a big one. So in April 2013 we left our jobs (Michael , social work with young people and Liane, community work with people with learning disabilities), rented out our house, sold the car, gave away many of our possessions and said our farewells to our friends and family to spend a year in Germany.
Telling people about this both in Scotland and in Germany usually leads to the question: Why do you want to leave Scotland and live in Germany? We have lots of reasons that are probably better to go into in person rather than here, but a friend of ours summed up the reason: because we would like to and we can.
So between April and November 2013 we volunteered with (website hidden), an agency that involves helping with German individuals, families or businesses in exchange for accommodation and food. We lived and worked with 7 hosts in North Germany then decided to settle in one place to learn language. So currently we live in a WG with a previous HelpX host in Palingen, Mecklenburg Vorpommern and are learning the language in the Volkshochschule in Lübeck until June 2014. For us, learning the language is crucial in deciding whether we will settle in Germany permanently or return to Scotland.
For years we thought about this and always talked about it. So now it feels good that we are actually doing it. Of course we miss the people we left behind in Scotland and we miss some of the places we love too. But we have met so many lovely people in Germany and enjoyed so many amazing experiences in the last year.