Learning to Drive Stick Shift

Marco recently got a new car. Not “new” as in 2013 new, but “new” as in new to us. So while we were visiting his family in Southern Germany, he decided it was high time for another driving lesson. We have had a few parking lot driving lessons in the past, each of which ended in frustration and yelling. But this time was different. I was determined to get past second gear. So we drove over to his old Kindergarten parking lot one afternoon for an intensive driving lesson. It started off pretty well. Sure, the car died a few Continue Reading

My First Schultüte

I had my first day of German class at the Volkshochschule (VHS) this Monday. Marco surprised me after my class by giving me a Schultüte! German children get a Schultüte before their first day of school each year. The parents fill them with treats and some pens and markers. Marco got me some Haribo gummis and a real ink pen! We don’t use those in the U.S., so Marco decided I should get the real German experience by getting me my first ink pen. Other than that, class at the VHS is going pretty well so far. I am in Continue Reading

Leberkäse: Bologna Loaf

This is Leberkäse. The best way to describe this in English is as bologna loaf. Yes, I know that sounds disgusting, but it’s not so bad. It is a typical food in Southern Germany, where Marco is from, but unfortunately it isn’t so common up here. So it is always a special treat for the German boyfriend when he manages to find it in the grocery store. Most people eat it as street food on a roll, but we usually just cut 1-inch slices. I love dipping it in sweet mustard (süßer Senf). Since we just got back from a trip Continue Reading

My German Visa Journey: Language Course Visa

I submitted the application for my German visa! I am applying for a language course visa since I need to pass a fluency test before I can apply for my Master’s. Here were my German visa requirements: Passport Since I studied abroad here in 2011, I am already in the German system, which made everything a little easier. Health Insurance I did a lot of research online about this, because I wasn’t sure if they would accept my American health insurance. I am on my parents’ Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan. Since I really didn’t want to have to pay an Continue Reading

My Broken Insulin Pump

Top – new replacement pumpBottom – old broken pump As my luck would have it, my insulin pump (an Animas Ping) broke after my first week in Germany. I was screwing on the battery cap when I suddenly heard a *crack* and my stomach dropped.  You see, this is my 3rd Animas Ping insulin pump. My first pump malfunctioned after about 4 months (it would randomly say “pump not primed” everyday), and my second pump’s buttons stopped working after about 1 year. Each pump was promptly replaced. So while I can’t say much about the Animas Ping’s durability, I can Continue Reading

Everyone Thinks I Am a Man

Whenever I send an email to a German person that I have not met yet, they always think I am a man. I guess this is what you get when you move to a country where your name doesn’t exist #expatproblems For example, I got an email this morning that started: Sehr geehrter Herr Courtney, This basically translates to “Dear Mr. Courtney,” which I find pretty hilarious. Basically, people assume that because my last name is a common male first name, then Courtney must be my last name. But what do I do when I email these people back? Should Continue Reading

Our Italian Vacation

After moving from the U.S. to Germany, I didn’t think I would experience a culture shock when visiting Italy for 9 days. Boy, was I wrong. I have never experienced as much of a culture shock in my life. The people, the streets, everything. We arrived on a Sunday evening, and as we were walking around at midnight, I just kept asking Marco, “Why are all these babies and kids still outside?!” The vacation was lovely, though, and we had an amazing time. Here are some picture from our Italian vacation. Enjoy! Our apartment was just a few blocks from Continue Reading