Guten Truthahn Tag! An Expat Thanksgiving

“Is this your first Thanksgiving?” asked my creative director, when I introduced her to Tim at our office Thanksgiving celebration. “Oh, no,” he replied cheekily. “I’ve had 27. I just didn’t know it was a holiday then.” Smart-assery aside, Germans obviously don’t celebrate the quintessential American holiday. It’s a little strange to treat such a…

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From Hamburg to the Haupstadt

The other day I looked at the calendar and realized it’s been a month since I moved to Berlin. In that month, a ton of things have happened. To whit: Another move. Since I was 17, I’ve moved 17 times. Which is kind of staggering. But it also makes the moving process a bit ritualistic.…

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Culture Shock #6: History is a Live Bomb

“Ja, Hamburg is full of bombs.”

Three sets of eyes turned towards the voice. It was Ingo, one of our freelance copywriters. He sat, completely relaxed, behind his computer, as the three expats discussed the latest breaking headline: a bomb threat had closed the subway. Only this wasn’t a ISIS threat or a domestic terror attack. It was a (potential) blast from the past.

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Pass or Fail: Updates in the “Visa Wars”

Maybe it’s on your radar, maybe its not—but a few weeks ago the E.U. voted to implement a new policy for American tourists requiring a visa to travel to Europe. It’s the latest development in what’s known as the “visa war”—an ongoing dispute based on the fact that the United States still enforces a strict…

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7 Important Things Living Abroad Taught Me

Last Saturday marked the start of my second year living abroad in Germany. Which seems insane—it feels like I just landed from California! I learned a lot of important things living abroad in the past year—about myself, about my new country, about people. In truth, I think a lot of things I knew already. I’ve…

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Eating Like an American in Germany

“Tacos.” “Cheez-its.” “Corn on the cob.” “You know what I can’t find here? Pumpkin!” “You looking for pumpkin? I got. You want?” So went a recent conversation with my Ami* amie, Britt. Sharing a post-inauguration drink to drown our sorrows, we were resigned to staying in Germany, but bemoaning four years without our American food…

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Culture Shock #5: It’s (Unapologetically) Christmastime

Americans know better than to wish each other a Merry Christmas. Issue it with the best of intentions, and you’re likely to receive a lecture on political correctness. Holiday decorations have to be kept to generic winter themes, and even the traditional red, green, and white is often tweaked for inclusivity. Not everyone celebrates Christmas.…

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Dear America: Election Reflection

Forgive me if this post is a little meandering, I was glued to the screen all night watching the election unfold. It felt strange to be far away during such a huge (and hopefully historic) event. I told Tim on our goodnight call that I missed home and wished I could be there to celebrate…

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Being a Faraway Friend

If we’re friends, chances are I’ve imagined your death. If we’re close friends, chances are I imagine your death on a regular basis. Does that sound weird and off-putting? I promise I’ll justify it.  What prompted this confession was a fascinating piece recently put out by BBC Travel. Bhutan’s dark secret to happiness talks about how…

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I got a Blue Card! What is a Blue Card?

Americans abroad and at home know this election cycle is no joke. My timeline lately has been flooded with comments, jokes, and threats to flee the country. Well, I’ve already fled the country, but additional salvation came today, in the form of a little card from the utterly unpronounceable Ausländerangelegenheiten (er, Foreign Affairs office). “I…

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