9.08.2005

Reflections of a German Ex-Pat in the US

This past Labor Day I attended a nice barbeque in the northern suburbs of Chicago. The food was great and the conversation was pleasant. One woman I met was a German ex-patriate living in the United States. She had few nice things to say about the United States.

Specifically, the politics of the US was very alarming to her. From her observation of political literature, television and reporting, she developed a disdain for President Bush and the War on Terrorism. I took the opportunity to ask her how the US compares to Germany in this way. She was very forthcoming about the modern wonder that is Germany.

Everything is better in Germany she tells me. I ask if she is looking forward to moving back to Germany. Then, the revelation...
I'm never moving back to Germany.

I thought that perhaps I was a bit sauced. However, I looked at the person next to me and they had the exact same face of puzzlement. She spoke of the fear of the "age 60" crisis. The German national healthcare program is very weighted against people over the age of 60. Once you hit the age of doom, the German state considers you a non-contributor and relegates you to the waiting lines for service that they appear to have resurrected from the old East Germany.

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