Now, years after I have left, and they're well into their thirties, my friends in Germany are finally starting to procreate and/or get married. So we finally have a commonality again that's been missing for several years. Only becoming a mother in Germany is a little different than becoming a mother in the US. Here's a recent conversation with one of my friends.
Friend: "So are you taking one year or three years off work?"
Me: hysterical laughter... coughing... "Um. I can stay home for 12 weeks. Unpaid of course."
You see, in Germany your employer has to keep a position open for you for three years. And during that first year, you still get 70% of your income. I almost want to cry every time I think about that, but then I remember looking at my paystub at the end of each month to find that 60% of my pay miraculously disappeared. Still, how nice would that be? Sometimes I miss Germany :-)