Category Archives: Culture

A kindness repaid, 40 years later

After an overnight trip from Spain, I was thrilled to finally arrive at the doorstep....

This cheap ticket is amazing, but I missed my connection

Germany already experimented with a cheap train ticket last summer. People loved it so much....

Land of the free, home of the waste

The U.S. is not just a large country, everything in it seems bigger, too. This....

How to get a stranger to voluntarily show you their socks

Eyeglasses and watches used to be mundane utilitarian accessories until designers were invited to the....

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Bring out the Easter eggs – the kids are coming home

Just as I was getting used to not being a mother, my COVID-harassed daughters came....

9 things you didn’t know about Chicago

Chicago was named by French fur traders who founded the city, which was destroyed by....

Home sweet home – only better

I fantasize about taking my kids back to where I grew up to show them....

A knack for snacks

When is a snack a meal? It depends on what country you’re in, as Germans....

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If an alien landed in New York, would he know where he is?

New York feels like another world compared to Munich. Many elements are obvious and in....

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Just ‘cause it’s American, Europeans ain’t buyin’ it

American companies have made serious inroads into the economies of Europe and elsewhere, but this....

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When a fight with your mom costs millions: acrimony at Aldi

There are grocery stores, and then there’s Aldi. In the decades since WWII, this discounter....

The nightmare of motherhood in Germany

Germany has the reputation of having generous social programs, with vivid descriptions such as "cradle-to-grave"....

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The Super Bowl and other American sports make a touchdown in Germany

Read by Brenda Football – the sport known everywhere but America as “American football” –....

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Look here, U.S. election deniers – Berlin bungled it big time 

The press and social media are still abuzz with deniers of the U.S. elections in....

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Even better than bread: the best excuse to fatten up, complete with cream filling

January is when Germans confront the fact that Christmas is over but winter is just....

The new, improved me – courtesy of the EU-conform driver’s license

For years, I suffered from the lousy picture I had taken for my German license,....

Catapulting the plague into Europe and other viral tales

The coronavirus isn’t the first disease that jumped from animals to humans. This has been....

Belt out “Walk the Line” all you want, but walking in the U.S. is not an option

Long gone are the days when you could walk down to the local five-and-dime store....

The best show the World Cup has to offer is outside the stadiums

The news is all abuzz about the World Cup games in Qatar, but the coolest....

No Halloween? No way. My sneaky and successful plot

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

Noise in the modern world—from cacophonous to carefully controlled

Read by Brenda It’s that time of year again: The leaf blowers are back. They....

Welcome back, fleas! The Oktoberfest is on

Following a three-year hiatus, Munich’s favorite party returned. Corona didn’t dampen people’s spirits, but I....

When life gives you lemons, it helps to recognize them

I thought my French was good enough to get me around southern France. But language....

Germans put the fun in fungi

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

The French girl who wouldn’t talk

Language class is where you learn to speak a language, but just memorizing vocabulary and....

On a train to everywhere – Germany’s €9 ticket and its surprising consequences

The next best thing to free is Germany’s €9 ticket. Apart from motivating even motorheads....

If this is punctuality, my watch is broken

Germany has the reputation of being punctual and reliable. But recent snafus in city planning....

Emotional baggage: why I pack too much on trips home

I used to feel sheepish whenever I took an overpacked suitcase home on a trip....

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Kraut and about – what are all those Germans doing abroad?

German immigrants used to flock to the U.S. They still go there in droves, but....

The travails of travel, from Mozart to the moon

I was tempted to feel sorry for myself when my plane was delayed by a....

Follow the Narrow Brick Road – and hope for the best

A man was recently caught on camera driving a Maserati down the famous Spanish steps....

Think digital technology is a cure-all? Don’t bet your life on it

A WWII air raid siren startled me once while I waited for a train. Such....

Ukraine on the train – from a military to a cultural conflict

Taking the train home from Berlin, some Ukrainians boarded the train. Watching their interactions with....

Juggling work and family, German minister drops the ball

German minister for the family Anne Spiegel recently resigned after major errors of judgment. Did....

Bring out the Easter eggs – the kids are coming home

Just as I was getting used to not being a mother, my COVID-harassed daughters came....

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

The sky was suddenly a muddy orange, but what was causing it. I had an....

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