Oh, the Difference One Letter Makes

I dressed up for Halloween this past weekend for the first time in at least 4 years. I was Little Red Riding Hood, and Marco was my wolf. Since Germans stick to scary costumes (luckily the “sexy” costume trend has not made it over here yet), I used liquid latex and fake blood to make scratches along the side of my face. We had to travel by train and subway to get to the Halloween party, and Marco had not yet put in his fangs and contacts. So, our friends kept commenting on how “cute” he looked, which is not Continue Reading

An American’s Reaction to Holidays in Germany

In terms of public holidays, Germany and the U.S. are fairly similar with around 10 public holidays each (the actual number depends on the specific U.S. state or German Bundesland). However, Germany takes public holidays much more seriously than the U.S. So, on German public holidays like today (Christi Himmelfahrt – Ascension Day), the following situation is embarrassingly common: When the Germans have a holiday, that means everyone gets a holiday — even the cashier at the grocery store and the barista at the coffee shop. Considering that I have memories of shopping at Walgreen’s on Christmas Day and buying Continue Reading

Book Spines | German Problems

Today, I would like to talk with you about a very serious issue. I first noticed this problem my senior year of high school when my friend gave me three old German books that she found on sale at the library. As a new German-learner, I was excited to receive the books. After stepping back from placing them on my bookshelf at home, however, I noticed something horrible: the titles on the spines of the German books were facing the wrong way. I put together a small selection of the German boyfriend’s and my books to show you just how Continue Reading

Grocery Store Check-Out | German Problems

When asked recently what my least favorite thing about living in Germany is, I had to think long and hard about my answer. While there are things that I think are better in the U.S. (restaurant prices and customer service, for example), there is nothing that stuck out to me that I really disliked about Germany. That is, until I went shopping at the grocery store that evening. Get your food on that conveyor belt faster! FASTER!!!(Photo by Wonderlane) In Germany, there is no such thing as a bagger. This job simply does not exist. So, when you get to Continue Reading

German Problems: Bottle Deposit

When you purchase a bottled or canned drink in Germany, you typically have to pay a deposit (Pfand). You can tell this by whether or not the label has this symbol on it. Then, you can bring all of your empty drinks back to the grocery store, put them into a nice machine at the front, and it will spit out a coupon. Give this coupon to the cashier, and they will either give you your money back, or simply take it off of your grocery bill. For the soft plastic bottles that can only be used once (Einweg), this Continue Reading

German Problems: Garbage Bins

If you spend a lot of time on the internet, then you have probably heard of “First World Problems,” “White Girl Problems,” or something equally ridiculous. Basically, these are problems that only exist for a certain group of people. So, when Marco made a comment about a problem he had when he took the garbage out the other day, I could not help but laugh, because his complaint was so distinctly German. So, I figured I would start a new series on my blog called “German Problems.” These will be problems that only Germans (or people living in Germany) experience. Continue Reading