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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.
For the first 6 months we volunteered with (website hidden) an website that connects you with individuals, families or businesses where do some helping work in exchange for accommodation and food. We lived and worked with 7 hosts in North Germany then decided to settle in one place i.e. living in a WG with a previous HelpX host in Palingen, Mecklenburg Vorpommern. This allowed us to do a 'Living in Germany' Integration course in Lübeck which has helped us learn language.
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.