Pictures: Expat Couple Visits St. Pauli’s Red Light District in Hamburg, Germany

Oh God, My Wife Is German.

On March 23rd, 2013, The Wife and I took a day trip to Hamburg. We rode the Metronome (or “slow train,” as we affectionately refer to it) north for about one hour, changed lines in Uelzen, then rode another hour to Hamburg.

When we first arrived, I was struck by the extent to which Hamburg reminded me of Seattle. It was beautiful, with a lively and colorful bay rife with wide-eyed tourists staggered about in circles. However, where Seattle has hills and skyscrapers, Hamburg has cargo cranes and a world-famous red light district. The red light district surrounds the street called Reeperbahn, which runs right through the St. Pauli quarter of the city. St. Pauli used to make me think of St. Pauli Girl beer (which is actually brewed in Bremen). Now, Saint Pauli makes me think of a slightly intimidating neighborhood where a couple of…

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Culture Shock 4: American Man Enters Bakery in His Pajamas Seeking Change

😀

Oh God, My Wife Is German.

During the morning of November 29, 2012, the doorbell rang while I was working at my computer. It was pretty early, so I was still wearing my red plaid pajama pants and white undershirt. I was also wearing a pair of fuzzy slippers and my black Electric Six hoodie (with the hood drawn over my head, hovering just above my eyes, like a badass necromancer). I buzzed the person into the building and waited outside the door of our apartment. A mailman came charging up the stairs carrying a cardboard box addressed to me.

I spoke with him using a mix of English and violently broken German. What follows is our interaction, if everything were translated directly, word-for-word, into English.

ME: “A very pretty morning to you, Sir.”

MAILMAN: “Hello. This is a UPS delivery for you. You need to pay the shipping fee. It is €35.69 euros.”

ME:…

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Culture Shock 8: How to Out Yourself as an American in Germany (In 2 Seconds or Less)

What should I say then 😀

Oh God, My Wife Is German.

Sometime in November of 2012, The Wife and I ventured into the university district of Hannover known as Nordstadt. Nordstadt is home to Leibniz University, where watery-eyed nerds go to study science and engineering. (And I bet they eat a ton of Döner Kebabs too. German nerds love Döner Kebabs.)

We found several pubs around the university and settled into one called Gaststätte Kaiser. The word ‘Kaiser’ immediately brought to mind Keyser Söze from The Usual Suspects… and also a round, soft bread roll with a crisp crust. (Delicious!)

The waitress approached our table and I attempted to order beers for myself and my wife. What follows is our interaction if you were to translate everything — directly and literally — into English:

ME: “A pretty evening to you. We here… I mean, the us, would very gladly have two massive pilsner beers.”

WAITRESS: *Smiling* “Two, one-liter…

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Writing and Blogging: Expat Blog Awards 2012 – Germany

😀

Oh God, My Wife Is German.

Expats Blog

On December 14, 2012, the Expats Blog will determine their winning blog for the country of Germany. That’s this Friday! Would you mind leaving a quick vote for our blog to improve our chances of winning? Comments and votes directly influence this award!

To help us out:

  1. Go to http://www.expatsblog.com/blogs/1129/oh-god-my-wife-is-german.
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page.
  3. Fill out the fields under, “Leave some love for this blog.”
  4. I know it sucks to give out your email address. I did it already, and I know I can unsubscribe from Expats Blog whenever I want. If you are uncomfortable with the email address part, don’t even worry about it; just keep reading our blog and know how much we appreciate your time and attention!
  5. If you don’t care about the email address part and you actually leave us a good vote? THANK YOU! If our blog wins, we’ll likely write…

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24 Hours in Boston – A City in a Class of its Own

Marina Chetner

We celebrate the past to awaken the future. ~ John F. Kennedy, 1960

Boston is a walking city – it’s easy to lose yourself in its narrow cobblestone streets, so embedded in their past.

On a daytime stroll, you’ll pause to admire beautiful brownstones, original storefronts dating back to the 1800’s, and monuments of centuries ago. At night, the streetscapes take on the feel of an old-world Europe – the darkness embraced by the elm trees that line them; made all the more romantic by the gas lamps that illuminate them. There’s no doubt that this city is steeped in a rich history and as proud as Boston is of its roots, it doesn’t wallow in the nostalgia. After all, a creative revival is taking place in its south.

Located in proximity to Boston’s downtown and fringed by Fort Point Channel and Inner Harbour, the neighbourhoods of Seaport District…

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Cambridge, MA ~ A City Unto Itself

Marina Chetner

Knowledge is power ~ Francis Bacon, Philosopher, 1561-1626

I dedicate this post to my little sister, Katya, who started university in Sydney, Australia, this week.

Cambridge has been described as Boston’s Left Bank. Named after England’s University of Cambridge, the town is home to Harvard University and MIT.

If these prestigious institutions represent the town’s brain, then Harvard Square is the beating heart. A gathering place for authors, poets, publishers, printers, teachers, and students for centuries, it is pretty much that way today, albeit in a sea of storefronts.

The mix of bookstores, coffee-shops, ethnic restaurants, and bars evokes a bohemian vibe.

It’s not hard wishing yourself back to student life in these surroundings. Ahh, the good old days, when laborious assignments, looming deadlines, upcoming exams, and sleepless nights seemed like the biggest concerns in the world.

It’s only after graduating that you realise what real life is all about.

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Birds and the Bees: Fort Tryon Park and The Cloisters, Manhattan (Part One)

Marina Chetner

It’s tough being a tourist in New York.

In an ever-changing city, there’s always an exhibition, restaurant, or landmark to jot on the to-do list. It’s hard to do and see it all in a matter of days, let alone a couple of weeks.

Strolling from East Manhattan to West, riding the subway from uptown to downtown, taking a cab from hotel to restaurant to bar, you probably won’t make it beyond Central Park.

So, it’s no surprise that there are hardly any tourists at Fort Tryon Park and The Cloisters, located in the far reaches of Manhattan. I only visited today, and I’m a resident.

Fort Tryon Park

Originally inhabited by the Weckquaesgeek Tribe, who lived in the area until the early 17th century, this densely forested high ground at the northern end of Manhattan was “Lang Bergh” or Long Hill to the early Dutch colonists. The Continental Army…

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New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Vomiting in the Big Apple – Part III

Oh God, My Wife Is German.

New York Liaison: A Tale of Love and Projectile Voliting in New York City

After sleeping most of the day, we finally ventured back into Manhattan, where we visited Central Park, took dozens of pictures and ate dinner at an Irish Pub on the Upper West Side — and by “ate dinner,” I mean my wife had exactly 3 bites of broccoli cheese soup and one sip of beer. (The only thing she could stomach was a near-lethal dose of Imodium). This may seem like a lot of activity given my wife’s weakened state, but trust me when I say this woman is tough. Tough as balls. Big, swinging, cast-iron, German balls. She had a great time that day, and except for the sunken cheeks and dark bags under her eyes, you’d never guess she spent the previous night filling our toilet bowl full of wet cheese and trichinosis.

We returned to our hostel room and tried to watch Shrek Forever After…

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Medieval Marvels: The Cloisters, Manhattan (Part Two)

Marina Chetner

The Cloisters is “the crowning achievement of American museology.” ~ Germain Bazin, former director of the Musée du Louvre in Paris.

Considerable effort goes into piecing a puzzle together. Yet the challenge for architect Charles Collens was far greater, especially since some of his pieces were missing. Not only that, but his task called for combining five incomplete sets and assembling them into one. The result of this feat was realized in 1938 upon completion of the structure; one that wouldn’t look out of place in the Middle Ages.

Collens was the visionary behind The Cloisters – a museum and gardens designed around the architectural elements of five French monasteries dating back to the twelfth through fifteenth century. Loosely based on prototypes presented by medieval monasteries, this is the nation’s largest museum dedicated to medieval art.

Prior to being commissioned by John D. Rockefeller for its conception, Collens noted:

……

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Wind Against Current

By Johna Till Johnson and Vladimir Brezina

Freshly Pressed on the WordPress.com home page!

Experiencing the unexpected is the essence of adventure.

That was amply illustrated by our paddling experience on a recent weekend. In company with Harry and Runar, we set out toward Swinburne Island to see the seals that live there each winter. It was a perfect day for the trip: Sunny, temperature in the high 50s,  just enough wind to make things interesting. We figured it would be a great way to start off the seal-viewing season.

Instead, we ended up spending an afternoon exploring a part of the world we’d never seen before: Red Hook, Brooklyn. What we gave up in paddling and seal-watching we gained back in art, architecture, and entertaining social interactions.

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