What to Know Before You Go to Oktoberfest

It’s fall in Germany, and that means one thing: Oktoberfest. Despite having lived here for three years already, this year marked my first trip to Oktoberfest—the real one, anyway! In just one weekend, I learned a lot about the do’s, don’ts, and history of this storied festival. Here’s everything you’d want to know before you…

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Should You Take Photos at a Concentration Camp?

Should you take photos at a concentration camp? People have a lot of opinions on whether you should document a visit to a concentration camp (and if so, how). For me, I came into the experience wanting to document and share the experience. The camps still exist to be seen and bear testimony to what…

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Preparing to Visit a Concentration Camp

It’s taken me a long time to write about how it felt to visit a concentration camp. For a long time, I didn’t know how to talk about them. And it is a hard thing to talk and write about (especially respectfully). But I think that’s the whole point. We shouldn’t only go places that…

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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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The Worst Parts of Being an Expat

There are days when 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 German Breakfast The most common German breakfast centers around brötchen, or “cute breads”. When I met Germans in the US, the first…

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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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