Culture Shock #7: Fußball

For me, watching soccer in Germany is like making new friends. Whenever you’re trying to establish a friendship, there comes a point that requires you to show something real. Something deep. Whether that’s admitting an obsession with astrology or sharing a love of trashy sitcoms, it’s a make-or-break moment that will either settle you deep…

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An Expat’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

There are days where I wake up and I am so damn grateful to have this expat life. Living abroad means days are full of surprises and new experiences, delicious foods and castles (yes castles!) just sitting there on the side of the road. But there are other days when nothing seems to go right,…

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The Lazy German Breakfast

Everyone’s favorite stereotype about the Germans is how efficient they’re supposed to be. But if there’s one area of life that I’ve noticed Germany is happy to slow down and enjoy, it’s breakfast. The most common breakfast centers around brötchen, or “cute breads”. When I met Germans in the US, the first thing they always complained…

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Hamburger Sliders: Then and Now

My favorite thing to do when visiting an old city is to see how much of its architectural history is still intact. To wander through these old section of town is not unlike watching a 90-year old grandma busting a surprising move on the dance floor—they have surprising charm, elegance, and even a hipness to…

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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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Oktoberfest an der Alster: Celebrating Hamburg-Style

I had really hoped to get down to Bavaria to celebrate my first Oktoberfest in Germany—but with a packed work schedule, coordinating with visiting friends, and the rest of real life, somehow time got away from me. Should I also blame in on the common conviction that Oktoberfest is held in October? Sure! Machen wir…

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Culture Shock #4: Take Your Own Beverage

“Feierabend,” Tim tells me, “is the most important German word.” Literally translated into, “Party night,” it’s the phrase Germans use to denote the end of the workday—roughly the equivalent of “Happy hour”. And on my commute home, I usually see groups of coworkers standing outside or walking down the street. It’s not a party in…

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Culture Shock #3: A Post about the Post

Germans are stereotyped the world for many things, but their efficiency, meticulousness, and desire for order might be the best-known. Elaborate filing systems, with their own naming devices, color-coding, and dates, are things I’m no stranger to (and in fact, I might be known as well for being a little OCD about tracking my documents).…

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Culture Shock #1: Your Money’s No Good Here

People have asked me how I’m settling in here, and the truth is—it’s been quite easy. Unlike living in Thailand, which was for the first few months so unsettlingly foreign and where almost everything seemed like a struggle, getting my start in Germany has been virtually seamless…though unlike in Thailand, adjusting to the weather is infinitely…

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Black, Gold, and Red Tape: Getting Started in Germany

The past few weeks have been an bit of gnarly snarl. Like with any international move, there’s a lot of moving parts, bureaucratic processes, and exhaustive red tape. In my experience, however, the “moving parts” in this move to Germany have been less of a logical Domino effect (first you need > then you need), and more of an interlocking web of gears (consider it a cuckoo-clock of chaos). Case in point? My “Moving to Germany as a non-EU citizen” flowchart, exhibit A…

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