ExPat Life… Just let me pay!

Living overseas can be complicated. I saw this today, and laughed really hard:

What’s Germany like? Well, it’s like I’ve had a stroke. I cannot talk.

I’ve had a bit of a cross-cultural day…

Today, Alex the Intern and I went out and filmed most of the day in the rain so that we can put up a new vlog tomorrow. Then I rushed home to order the parts for the new editing machine, hoping that they’ll get here early next week, and just maybe today can be the last time I have to transcode all my footage to prores before I can start editing…

We had an interesting experience at lunch. Alex was surprised to notice lemon in his soda (it’s awesome, they should do this everywhere). I was surprised when our waitress wanted to talk about American Football.

But the trouble began when I went to finish my computer part order. To keep costs down, I wound up splitting my order between Amazon Germany and another vendor. By doing it that way, I literally saved nearly 500 Euros. I order from Amazon all the time, so that was just a click of a button. This other vendor though… They offered PayPal. I use that a lot too. Great. I click PayPal, choose the account I want to use and… it doesn’t work. Because my billing address — in the United States for PayPal — didn’t match my shipping address here in Germany.

This is a constant problem. We have bills that need to be paid in the States, and we make trips back every few years and so it’s important for us to have US methods of payment. But we also live in Germany and the German way of paying for things is often quite different.

No big deal. I figured I could just set my billing and shipping addresses on the site before the PayPal transaction. But that didn’t work either because the site only allowed EU addresses.

Brandy produced our one and only German credit card. So, I started looking at my other payment options.  This shop offered a manual bank transfer, three different types of automated bank transfer, PayPal, and taking out a loan for 200 Euros to finance the purchase.

Here’s the thing. I have the money for this purchase sitting in a business account. As soon as I make it, I can fill out an expense report, but I can’t directly pay for it. So I either needed to use more than 1000 Euros from my bank account or make PayPal work.

Years ago, I set up a separate German PayPal. I don’t use it very much because it only really draws funds from my German bank account, and I can’t put any US-based card onto my German account. But, I did finally manage to add the German credit card to the German PayPal account and complete the transaction. I just couldn’t help but think how very simple this all would have been in English and in the USA.

But it’s okay. Just drop another lemon wedge in my soda and we’re all good Germany. I still love you.

Have you ever lived outside your home culture? What sorts of things do you love and what do you miss?


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