From the Bürgeramt to the Bedroom: An Interview with the Authors


As everyone knows, moving to Germany can be ever-so-slightly challenging. The bureaucracy, the search for somewhere to live, figuring out what goes where in the recycling bins… the list goes on. And on. And on.

An Irishwoman and a German teacher, Linda O’Grady and Kristina Riess, decided to take matters into their own hands to try to make life in Germany a bit easier for newcomers. They’ve written a book called “From the Bürgeramt to the Bedroom: Your Essential Guide to Moving to Germany”. As moving to Berlin can be especially confusing, we decided to meet up with them to find out more.
BL: Thanks for taking the time to talk to us! I’ve read the book and, I have to say, it definitely would have helped me out a lot when I first arrived in Berlin. How did you come up with the idea to write it?

LO’G: Well, that was exactly it! I moved to Berlin four and a half years ago myself and spent most of those first few months in a permanent state of confusion – what is Anmeldung, what papers do I need for it, how do I get an appointment, where can I find an apartment, how do I open a bank account – and most of all, how can I do all of this with my four words of German? I was constantly asking questions, looking for advice, and googling how to say various things in (probably incorrect) German.

KR: I’d been looking for a book project that I could work on with Linda so after a bit of brainstorming, listening to her adventures as a foreigner in Germany, and wondering how my experience as a German teacher could fit, we came up with the idea to write a guidebook for expats here. There are twenty chapters covering everything from how to say hello and goodbye to where to find a decent pillow – something I didn’t even realise was an issue for foreigners here!

LO’G: Oh God, those German pillows… Just why? Anyway, we came up with a structure we thought would work – a fun introduction to each chapter answers to the most frequently asked questions, and useful vocabulary for all of the situations people find themselves in when they first arrive. We also asked other expats for their experiences and added those throughout the book to show people that they’re not alone in their confusion!

BL: What has the feedback been like so far?

KR: Really positive! Everyone seems to think it’s a much-needed resource. There is a lot of information out there online, of course, but people find it very useful to have all of this information in one place, along with the German words they need for each situation.

LO’G: Yeah, it’s been great. Aside from individuals who’ve bought it, we’ve also had interest from companies with international employees, embassies, relocation agencies and bookstores. The Irish Embassy has even offered to host a book launch for us at the end of June, which we’re pretty excited about!

BL: Sounds like it’s all going really well – congratulations! How long did it take you to write it and what was the process like?

LO’G: It took around 6 months to research and write it. We each played to our own strengths – Kristina is great at facts and research, and I used my skills as a writer and editor to pull it all together in a way that people hopefully find entertaining and useful. The Irish-German combination turned out to be a winner!

KR: I’d written a couple of e-books before so that bit was OK for me. The hard part was figuring out how to found a company, open a joint bank account, figure out the Kindle Direct Publishing registration process…

LO’G: And how to design a cover, print leaflets, build and promote various social media sites and our own website, get in touch with influencers – it’s been quite the learning experience!
BL: Wow, sounds like you guys are pretty busy so we’ll wrap this up. One last but very important question: where can people buy it?

LO’G: It’s available on Amazon in e-book and paperback format. If people prefer the bookstore experience, they can find it in Curious Fox in Neukölln and Love Story of Berlin in Prenzlauer Berg. Companies can also contact us directly for larger orders – just visit our website for more information.
BL: Great, thank you very much for your time, Linda and Kristina. From the Bürgeramt to the Bedroom: Your Essential Guide to Moving to Germany – now available!

Interview by Bran Travisano
Powered by Blogger.