Category Archives: Culture

Are you sure that’s what that sign means?

A sign in a foreign country may look like a word you know. But looks....

The trillions of cicadas last seen by Thomas Jefferson

It’s been over 200 years since these two broods of cicadas hatched at the same....

Aren’t you glad you got the orange car after all?

One thing Germans hate is a dirty car. But there's no escaping the fine dust....

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The strange cult status of white asparagus 

If you are in Munich and see people jostling for a spot in line at....

Cozy? Let’s sabotage that by opening a window

Once you're comfy and cozy, a German is bound to open the window to air....

The Superbowl is super in Germany, too

Football may be America's favorite sport, but it's gaining ground fast in Germany, too. I....

Better than bread: The best excuse to fatten up

Germans are now confronting the fact that Christmas is over but winter is just getting....

Talk better—talk like a dog

We train dogs, but they have much to teach us. Babies are fluent in body....

Ring in the New Year and fire the firecrackers

The New Year means more than resolutions. All of Germany sets off firecrackers at midnight....

‘Twas the Night Before Weihnachten

On a trip to a Christmas market in Munich, I was inspired by The Night....

Christmas cookies: Good, better, German

I loved Christmas cookies growing up and thought they were pretty good, but have since....

What happened to Santa Claus?

Santa Claus, St. Nick, or the Christ child? The figure we associate with Christmas takes....

Hot wine and cold toes

Christmas markets are popping up on every corner in Germany, including the medieval town of....

The 37 Days of Christmas

Germans don’t celebrate Thanksgiving but they celebrate Christmas half the winter. Starting at the end....

If this is punctuality, my watch is broken

Germans have a reputation for being punctual, but trains are a different story. During a....

What happened to my pumpkin pie?

It's not a holiday without pumpkin pie, but what I bake is a far cry....

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Celebrating St. Martin from the comfort of the couch

Americans celebrate fall with Halloween, but Germans have St. Martin. Children carry lit lanterns in....

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No Halloween? No way. My sneaky and successful plot

Some Germans celebrate Halloween, but not all of them. I was determined to find a....

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The nightmare of motherhood in Germany

School has started, a good moment to consider the burden on mothers with children in....

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The library, the monk, and the sandals

This stunning Baroque library tucked away in a monastery in a Bavarian village is the....

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Germans put the fun in fungi

My experience with mushrooms was confined to cans as a kid. In Germany, collecting them....

‘Tis the season of the Wiesn: The Oktoberfest for locals and tourists

What some probably don’t realize is that while the Oktoberfest is the biggest folk festival....

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The tiniest stars of the Oktoberfest live in a drawer

The Oktoberfest is synonymous with beer for most people. Yet half of the fairgrounds consists....

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Get those escargots out of my lawnmower

You know Fall has arrived when the leafblowers start blasting through the open window. But....

Protesting technology by battling bikes and coning cars

Munich had a run-in with e-bikes once a few years ago. They successfully battled the....

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Not teaching foreign languages will make America more insular

Do you speak English? This question is often answered with “Yes” all around the world.....

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What’s in a name? More than you think

People’s identities are tied up closely with their names. But even when you are careful....

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Getting lost the old-fashioned way

Those of us who predate GPS know how to get around without using technology. Knowing....

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Germans delight in overengineering, taking helicopter mothering to new heights 

Any foreigner in Germany knows all about the country’s love of overengineering. All it takes....

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Hitchhike to work? You bet – and in the most powerful city in the world

Gridlock is a word often used in connection with legislators in the U.S. Congress, but....

Munich comes full circle: From putsch to Rabbi Conference

The hand of history has done its work on the city of Munich. Named after....

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Landshuter Hochzeit: The most theatrical wedding this side of the 15th century

Imagine if your wedding were so spectacular that people would want not just to reenact....

Knee-high by the 4th of July

I fully expected a lot of cultural differences when I moved to Germany. They speak....

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Quit the tomfoolery – I’m sure I don’t know you

The pandemic is over, but its effects continue - sometimes in strange ways. I got....

A fortune for footwear, or my kingdom for a sneaker

There was a lot of hullabaloo when Adidas dropped its sponsorship of the rapper Ye....

Watch out! Augsburg joined forces with the Swedes

Companies sometimes use shady tactics to gain the upper hand in a market. But this....

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