By Rob Kelly
Per Mertesacker admits he found the lack of a winter break tough to handle - but insists he is loving his new life in England.
The German centre back spent his entire career in the Bundesliga before moving to Arsenal last summer, and had always enjoyed an extended break over the festive period.
While he did not have that luxury this season, Mertesacker has learnt adapt to his new situation.
"[Having no winter break] was very hard. We had a great time with the family here in London but you have to deal with the situation," he told a webchat with Chinese fans.
"It was my choice to go to the English league and have no winter break, no breather at the end of the year. Normally in Germany you have a chance to calm down at the end of the year, maybe go on holiday.
"It's a very different feeling around Christmas and New Year [in England]. It is harder, but I really like it here. This is my new life: you get used to everything."
It is not only the lack of a winter break that is different to Germany, as Mertesacker has found in his six months in London.
"It is a big step for a German player. It's not only the league, which is much more physical [than the Bundesliga]," he said.
"To move here is about more than playing football. I want to improve my personal life as well. When you move to London it is very special. There are so many people living here, but I feel good.
"London is very international. You can go to English restaurants, or have French food, Italian, German, everything is possible: that is a very good thing."Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 9 Feb 2012