Category Archives: Germany

My comments on all things Teutonic.

The Empire Riverside Hotel in Hamburg, Germany

Empire Riverside Hotel - Hamburg, Germany

It looks a little like the black monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey: “What are you doing, Dave? Don’t touch the black monolith, Dave. Oh no, you touched it, Dave, you stupid pink monkey.” — Image Credit: © Empire Riverside Hotel. All rights reserved.

For my wife’s birthday this year, I took her to the Empire Riverside Hotel in Hamburg, Germany. Normally, I would have cheapskated my way out of this and booked an Airbnb or something, but not this time; I wanted to pamper my wife. Pamper her like a drooling toddler.

The Empire Riverside Hotel is a huge building, jutting out from the Hamburg cityscape like an L-shaped Tetris block. (“For the love of god, why won’t you just give me a straight piece?”) If you book a room on the south side, you’ll have an awesome view of the Elbe River and the Hamburg Harbor. If you book a room on the north side, you’ll have an awesome view of the Reeperbahn, some feisty prostitutes and a bunch of dildo shops. The rooms on the east and west sides have views of both, so you can fill your gaze with maritime sentiment, or catch an eyeful of titty. Either way, you win.

For reasons I will never truly understand, my wife loves Hamburg. She even loves the shipping dock, with its endless horizon of container cranes. (Personally, I find shipping docks ugly and unnerving. I mean, they’re filled with giant robots designed specifically to pick up heavy things and maybe — if they feel like it — drop that shit right on your head.) Anyway, my wife and I would typically spend our time in Hamburg strolling along the river or drinking brew doggies on the Elbstrand, but not this time: We just couldn’t leave our badass accommodations.

Empire Riverside Hotel - Hamburg, Germany

“Wait, where is everyone? Is this the zombie apocalypse? It IS the zombie apocalypse! Oh my god, quick! We have to– oooh, look honey… salad rolls.” — Image Credit: © Empire Riverside Hotel and © Andrea Flak ( All rights reserved.

With the exception of a quick boat tour around the harbor, called a Hafenrundfahrt (Tee hee! I said “fart.”), we spent the entire time inside the Empire Riverside Hotel. The rooms are super sleek and modern, and the windows go all the way from the floor to the ceiling — so you really get that, “I could totally fall out of this window” feeling. Also, the Wi-Fi actually works, which is surprisingly rare in the hotel industry, even though fast, free, internet access is a God-given right and should be available in every corner of the globe. (It says so in the Bible.)

Empire Riverside Hotel - Hamburg, Germany

“Afraid of heights? Perfect time for a drink!” — Image Credit: © Empire Riverside Hotel. All rights reserved.

There’s a very cool lounge on the ground floor called David’s, which offers renowned sushi so expensive it’ll shrink your tuna roll. One floor above is the Waterkant restaurant, where you can easily drop a couple benjamins on dinner for two. And then there’s the bar way up on the 20th floor called, unsurprisingly, Skyline Bar 20up. Everything about the hotel is cool, but by far our favorite part was the spa. It’s not huge or anything, but it is complete; there’s a sauna, steam bath, relaxation room and a gym — you know, for people who like to work out and make the rest of us feel guilty for sitting around all day in fluffy white hotel robes. They also have two foot baths and a full-body submersion pool to help you cool off after you come out of the sauna. And here’s the thing: My wife and I were there mid-week, so we had the whole spa to ourselves! (Everyone else was at work, earning money and paying their taxes on time. Suckers.)

Now, I’ve never been a tremendous fan of saunas — 5 minutes inside of one makes me feel like a hamster in a microwave — but I have been slowly learning to enjoy the experience. (My record time is 11 minutes!) But I discovered I really like steam baths. The one in our hotel was super dark, with cool lights in the walls and steam so thick you could hardly see across the room. Of course my wife preferred the dry heat of the sauna — she’s a true German — but apparently hot, moist, dark places are ideal relaxation conditions for uppity American bloggers like myself.

steam bath

“Ha ha ha! I have no idea what I’m doing!” — Image Credit: Chris Feser ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

I spent way too long in that steam bath. So long, in fact, my wife had to keep checking up on me:

THE WIFE: “Honey? Are you still alive in there?”

ME: *Hissing at her and pretending to be a vampire* “Yessss, we are alive, but the light burns our skin. Close the door, fair maiden, or come inside and stay — stay forever.”

Once I got to the point where I was about to pass out, I would run from the steam room and jump into the cooling pool. The water was ice-cold, which made my heart pound dangerously hard. Then I would go back inside the steam room and do it all over again. I did this so many times the tiny construction workers inside my body were terrified: “We’re in the Congo! Cool this mother down! Oh shit, now we’re in the Arctic! Heat it back up! Oh no, now we’re back in the — hey, wait a minute…”

Thankfully I’m still relatively young, so my heart didn’t stop, but eventually I decided to join my wife in the relaxation room — where the sane people were. We spent the remainder of the day reading and napping in absolute tranquility. It was glorious.

Clearly my wife and I had an awesome time at this hotel. The prices blew my wallet up like a hobo with a hand grenade, but still, I am compelled to award the Empire Riverside Hotel with a triumphant 5 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds:

Merkel Diamond from Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany
If you’re ever in Hamburg, you should totally stay there. Tell them some American guy from the Internet sent you. That should score you a look of perfect apathy.

Oh, and here are some pictures I took during our trip. Click one to start the slideshow. Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day!


5 Reasons Why You Should Totally Have Sex with a German Dude


“I share this reluctantly.” — Image Credit: sunshinecity ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

Here’s the deal: I am a straight, married, American expat from Portland, Oregon, now living in Hannover, Germany. My wife is a scalding hot German woman with two master’s degrees and a smile so stunning it could stop your heart. I did my time as a bachelor before I was married. I’m over it. This is why, years later, single life and the one-night stands which go along with it are about as interesting to me as white hot birdshit.

I have absolutely no motivation to give out dating advice, especially when it might help young German men get a little extra honey on their stingers. The thing is, as a foreign blogger in a strange land, I am compelled to make observations about the things I see around me. I also try to be as honest as possible with my readers, so this is why all you straight women, gay men, bisexual and bi-curious individuals are about to discover the top five reasons why you should totally, absolutely, 100%, drop whatever you are doing right now and pork a German dude:

#1: German Dudes Are Sexy


“Anybody else want to punch this guy right in the heart?” — Image Credit: Hotlanta Voyeur ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License. Lightly photoshopped.

You know how the stereotypical American tourist is a fat lard with white sneakers and a mean case of type 2 diabetes? Young German guys are the exact opposite; they’re style-conscious, thin and freakishly tall. Listen, I’m 5’10” tall when I’m wearing thick soled shoes, standing up perfectly straight and totally lying to myself. But the dudes here in Germany? They are, as my wife would put it, “lighthouse tall.”

Obviously there are exceptions — I’ve seen a few short guys here too — but most of them are like the Ents from the Lord of the Rings; elongated tree people, all lanky as hell with arms and legs akimbo. And if this is the moment when you decide to be a smart ass and google the average height between Germans and Americans only to find the difference minuscule, you can take those statistics and cram ’em: Here in northern Germany, dudes between the ages of 16 and 35 are tall as fuck. I see them every single day, and their genetic good fortune pisses me off.

One day, in a social setting, I asked a medical student here in Germany why the guys seemed so tall. He didn’t think his countrymen were any taller than mine, but suggested if there were a difference, it probably had something to do with diet. My ingenious theory, however, was that German winters typically last longer than those in the States, resulting in less sunlight and an overall deficiency of vitamin D. I went on to explain, beer in hand, how this would logically require the human body to adapt in order to increase surface area, resulting in a lanky populace better equipped to absorb sunlight. (Of course, according to my theory, Inuit people living in the Arctic should be tall enough to touch the goddamn sun, but hey, I was drunk at the time.)

Now, I have absolutely no explanation why German men tend to be so thin. Consuming the traditional German diet is like getting down on your knees and praying for a heart attack. The abundance of meat, bread and beer certainly hasn’t made me any sexier, so what the hell man? Maybe it’s just portion control. Maybe it’s greater emphasis on walking and cycling as means of daily transportation. All I know is young German dudes tend to have awesome bodies. Six pack abs are everywhere, as are broad shoulders and sculpted jawlines. This is why, on a worldwide scale of beauty from 1 to 10 — with 10 being the most beautiful — I am considered a British “7,” an American “6,” and a German “warthog.”

You know what else German guys have going for them? Style. They wear cool clothing that isn’t garish or overtly macho, and their hair tends to be stick-straight, allowing them to shape it into dazzling works of art. They stay ahead of all the latest fads and trends, so overall, their appearance is hip and fresh to the eye. (Or fruity as hell, depending upon your attitude.) Good style seems to be an inherent cultural trait across most of western Europe, but right now it’s definitely working to the advantage of young German males. That, or sexy unicorns are pissing in the groundwater.

Anyway, as I’ve said before, there are exceptions to every rule; not every young guy you meet here is going to be devastatingly handsome… but most of them will. Christ, with all the moussed hair, trendy jeans, blessed height and Olympian physiques, living in Germany is like being trapped inside one huge boyband. So if you’re into pretty boys, come on over; you’ll have a mouthful of beautifully shorn scrotum before you even leave the airport.

#2: German Dudes Are Smart

 -- Image Credit: Johan Bichel Lindegaard ( -- Subject to CC 2.0 License. Adjusted for contrast.

“Oh, well you’re just the whole package, aren’t you… you NERD.” — Image Credit: Johan Bichel Lindegaard ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License. Adjusted for contrast.

Alright, look — there are stupid people in every country, even in Germany — but it is important to note my wife and I do not make a habit of associating with knuckle draggers. Instead, we gravitate toward Germans who tend to be educated, well-traveled and able to consume alcohol in social situations without winding up tasered senseless and thrown into the back of a cop car. We’re arrogant snobs, is what I’m saying, so please keep this in mind as I make another sweeping generalization about the young men of northern Germany.

First of all, most of them are bilingual. They start learning English in the 3rd grade, and I know this because I have the incredible misfortune of living right next to a primary school. Every morning I get to hear these little nerds singing English nursery rhymes while I’m trying to work:

TEACHER: “The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout…”

SCHOOL KIDS: “The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the waterspout…”


Anyway, their language studies continue right on up through high school, and even if they don’t pursue it any further, they’re exposed to English on a regular basis through TV, movies and music. Hell, most of my German friends even speak a limited amount of some additional and totally unnecessary language, like French. Does this automatically make them smarter? Hell no, but I triple-dog-dare you to try and find a stupid polylinguist. Something about forcing the brain to switch between languages makes it more flexible and dynamic. I believe this is because a language isn’t just a bunch of words; it’s a different way of thinking. Regularly alternating the way you think is going to make you a more interesting person, if not outright more intelligent. So when you’re enjoying pillow talk with your new German lover, not only will he be able to understand your every word, but he will probably have something insightful to say just as soon as you remove that ball gag from his mouth.

The German dude you choose to lay will probably have spent a great deal of time at university as well, attaining both his undergraduate and graduate degrees. See, higher education is of great importance in Germany, and college is virtually free — the key word here being virtually. My wife and I were once walking along Georgstraße in Hannover when we stumbled across a huge group of angry college students protesting against rising tuition fees in Lower Saxony. This was a few years ago, so I can’t remember the exact amount, but tuition had risen from around €500 euros per semester to like €525 euros. I laughed so hard I peed a little. And get this: Just a year or two later, Lower Saxony abolished tuition fees altogether. As an American, I just can’t wrap my head around free or even affordable tuition. Of course, I also can’t wrap my head around half my monthly paycheck going to the taxes it takes to cover said tuition, but still, it’s a pretty awesome system. It encourages high school graduates to go learn a thing or two about the world and stop being such narcissistic little shit twisters.

In general, Germans tend to be very well-traveled — especially the younger generations. They’re encouraged to embark on school exchange programs and spend a year or two at foreign universities. Then, after they’ve returned to Germany and entered the workforce, they are often sent back overseas for internships and additional job training — especially in the science, engineering and medical fields. I don’t know about you, but I have yet to meet a well-traveled individual who isn’t at least a little bit more sophisticated than an isolated one. As a result, German men of sexable age tend to be open-minded, sensitive and respectful of other cultures. So throw a condom on that gentle jet-setter, because he’s probably crushed ass from Sacramento to Singapore.

#3: German Dudes Are Humble


“You’re so money and you don’t even know it.” — Photo Credit:
Daniel Zedda ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

In my experience, German guys tend to be extremely modest. I have no doubt there are a few egotistical shitbags running around over here, but all the ones I’ve spoken with practically trip over themselves when you pay them a compliment. And even I have to admit — it’s pretty adorable. See, I come from America; our culture is fueled by unchecked egotism and blind self-confidence. Things like bragging, cockiness, and inexplicably high self-esteem are so normal they make me homesick. But over here? No way. Good luck telling a German guy he’s smart or good-looking; he’ll probably black out and walk straight into the nearest wall.

Maybe it’s inherited guilt from the two world wars. Maybe it’s the rather intense secondary school system, or maybe it’s lack of praise or basic affection during childhood, I don’t know, but it seems like German people are reluctant to show any kind of national pride whatsoever. (Unless you’re talking about soccer. Then, apparently, they’re allowed to go apeshit.)

What I’m saying is, there’s still a lot of guilt over here, and that makes for a dating pool of young men who tend to be more reserved, less aggressive and way more grateful for the sex you’re having with them.

#4: German Dudes Aren’t Prude


On an unrelated note: This picture makes me laugh every time I see it. — Photo Credit: Jens karlsson ( Subject to CC 2.0 License.

When it comes to sex, we Americans are very prude. Oh sure, we’ll watch some action star cut an entire village in half with a machine gun, but a pair of tits on a billboard? None of us would get to work safely. This stems from our Puritan ancestry and the fact that, as a country, we’re still in our adolescence. We’re like a bunch of teenagers giggling in Sex Ed class: “Tee hee hee! The teacher said, ‘labia.’ ”

The country of Germany, on the other hand, is old as balls. Sure, the German Empire was formed in 1871 by the Prussians, but Germania has existed since the time before that one goody two-shoes got his ass crucified. And because Germany is right in the middle of Europe — greatly influenced by all of the countries surrounding it — its modern-day culture is very difficult to define. What I can say, however, is that it is old, and with age comes maturity. Here are a few German cultural traits regarding sex I can confirm, having observed them with my own two eyeballs:

  • Public Displays of Affection (PDA) – From city parks to beaches, German people give exactly zero fucks about being seen making out. And I don’t just mean sexy young people; I’m also talking about old people slapping waddles together like a couple of hungry sea lions.
  • Nudity – Not only are nude saunas commonplace in Germany, but so is nudity in advertising and entertainment. I try and act cool whenever I see a breast on a poster for skin cream, but inside I’m dancing around like a schoolboy: “Titties, titties titties!”
  • Compartmentalization – That very same German dude who just got done playing tonsil hockey at the park and watching sweat drop off his nards with a bunch of other guys in the sauna will then walk back into work, adjust his tie and give a presentation to the executive team without missing a beat. This is compartmentalization is action; everything has its place, but what’s cool in one place is not necessarily cool in another. They keep that shit separate.
  • Interracial Coupling – I love seeing people of different races get together, and I see it a lot more often here in Germany than I ever did in America. Sure, racism and prejudice exist here too, but it’s not stopping these crazy kids from mixing up their crayons.
  • Prostitution – I’ve talked about prostitution in Germany before, but I’ll say it again; it’s legal here, and it’s no big deal. Personally, I think prostitution should be legal everywhere. Why does the government care if you want to choke yourself while some chick dips your nuts in coffee? I think it’s awesome.

Now imagine a young German man growing up in this environment, where sex is accepted more openly and with greater honesty; he may not necessarily be a porn star, but he won’t have as many hangups about sex as your average American. Can’t you just picture the relaxed, easy confidence of a lover so perfectly bred? The only problem is German guys fail to realize how cool they really are; they don’t understand their casual attitude toward sex is both surprising and refreshing to Americans. That’s why in Germany you’re so likely to run into a tall, smart, handsome bastard with the soul of a virgin nerd.

#5: German Dudes Are Uncut


“Get that awful wiener out of my face.” — Image Credit: barockschloss ( — Subject to CC 2.0 License

Oh, did you think this was going to be one long ass-kissing session? Like I wanted to endear myself to the young male population of Germany by listing all the ways in which they rule? No. This is the part where I cut them right back down to size. (Tee hee!)

So here’s the deal: I make a real point out of not looking at other dude’s junk while I’m showering at the gym, but it’s impossible to avoid entirely, especially if you tend to walk with your head down, like I do. If I exit the shower area right as another guy is entering, I will see, in exactly the following order: feet, knees, cock, nipples, face, and then it’s “Oh, excuse me,” as I step aside, thinking, what in the fuck is with all the uncut birds in this country?

I know circumcision is not a part of Christian religious tradition, and Germany is lousy with Catholics and Protestants, so maybe that explains why it isn’t so popular here. But then, America has a shit-ton of Christians too, and most of us had our birds cut while we were still fresh out of the womb. So I’m not sure about the reasons, but circumcision is a surprisingly divisive issue. To cut or not to cut: That is the question. For some it’s about the look. For others it’s about sensitivity, cleanliness or simply not wanting to cut off parts of their baby. And according to the half-assed google search I just did, circumcision seems to be on the decline — at least in America. There are tons of reasons for this — all of which are hotly debated — but none of them matter at all, because uncircumcised dicks are fucking disgusting.

I had my foreskin hacked off as a baby, and I’m glad as hell. (Thanks Mom and Dad!) Every time I go to the bathroom I think to myself, yeah, that there is some fine lookin’ denim pork. Now, does it make logical sense that an altered body part should look better than a natural one? Of course not. But still, we pierce our ears, right? We get tattoos, shave our pubes, wear makeup and lift weights to try and achieve a physique with which we were not genetically gifted. Hell, in some cultures they scar themselves from head to toe or wear rings around their necks until they can’t support the weight of their own heads. These are all examples of cultural body modification for the sake of beauty, and when a certain type of beauty is popular for long enough, it becomes the standard. (Hey, I don’t make the rules, I’m just playing by them.)

Sure, uncircumcised dongs will likely come back into fashion, as will big hair, quaaludes and 1970s porno pubes, but I for one will be crying the day that happens. (Except for the quaaludes part. Those sound awesome.) But if you want an uncut penis and you want it right now, come to Germany, because they don’t send their soldiers to war without a helmet.


Although I have strongly recommended throughout this post that you have sex with a German dude, just remember to use protection. Your future spouse is not going to want to hear about the STD you caught in Munich when you were nearly slapped to death in a nutsack hurricane. And you definitely don’t want to explain you have herpes because of that one summer in Berlin spent drowning in penis.


It’s real simple: German dudes are awesome. When compared to the rest of the knuckle-dragging primates of the world, the great apes of Germany score a record-setting 5 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds:

Merkel Diamond from Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany
Oh, I’m sure many of you will disagree with this assessment — most of all the guilt-ridden, self-loathing Germans themselves — so I cordially invite all of you to light up my comments section like a flaming dildo.



Why American Expats Like Me Should NEVER Become English Teachers in Germany

Bad Teacher

“Do you have a learning disability? Because you should just KNOW this shit.” — Image Credit: Patrick Bell ( – Subject to CC 2.0 License.

As I’ve said many times before, my wife is German and she is a Gymnasium teacher here in Hannover, Germany. As such, she teaches two primary academic subjects, but she is also required to conduct elective classes. These classes are usually fun things, like arts and crafts, sports or cooking. (But not beer drinking. I checked.)

Not long ago, my wife was tasked with teaching an elective baking class to a bunch of snot-nosed 8th graders. They were going to make a Black Forest Cake, also known as a Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte. Now, I don’t know why, but my wife wanted the recipe to be in English, so she downloaded one from the internet — which had clearly been translated from German into English — and asked me to proofread it for spelling and grammar mistakes.

What I found was an absolute clusterfuck of linguistic crimes, any one of which would — in an ideal world — warrant death by hanging. (Followed by the deceased author’s body being dragged through the streets and beaten with rubber mallets, then thrown into a pit of acid-spitting vipers which reduce the corpse to rendered lard, thereby enabling it to be molded into tiny, adorable birthday candles.)

Below is the Black Forest Cake recipe from the internet, complete with my edits indicated in red. ***WARNING*** Contains swearing and one rather graphic illustration. (Click image to enlarge.)

German and English Language Editing - Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake) Funny Recipe Corrections


Look, if the situation were reversed and I had to write this cake recipe in German, I would fail so hard I would have to throw myself off a cliff. Still, I cannot excuse such heinous linguistic crimes. This is why I must award this recipe with a despicable 1 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds:

Merkel Diamond from Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany

Would you be a good English teacher? Have you ever had a particularly good or bad language teacher? We’d love to hear all about your experience in the comments section below…

Graphic Designer in Portland, Oregon and Hannover, Germany - Grafikdesigner Illustrator Copywriter

Culture Shock in Germany: An American Expat Is Horrified by His Discovery of German ‘Schreber Gardens’


“And Cain went out from the presence of the Lord, and dwelt in the land of Nod…” — Photo Credit: Patrik Tschudin ( — Subject to CC 2.0 Generic Copyright.

Dear Germany,

I have a confession to make.

When I first arrived at the Hannover airport back in 2012, my wife met me at the security gate, we picked up my luggage and boarded the S5 train on our way toward our new home. About a mile or two outside the city, I saw a vast wasteland of the most depressing houses on earth; tiny little shacks — too small even to hold a car — complete with miniature windows, flagpoles, chain-link fences, yards and gardens.

“My God,” I whispered to my wife, barely containing the tear which threatened to spill from my eye, “those poor, poor people…”

I marveled at the thought of living in such a confined space. Would the toilet be right next to your head as you slept at night? What about running water? A kitchen? Heat during winter? Holy Christ, are people raising children in those things?

I was disgusted by the idea a city like Hannover could thrive within spitting distance of such wretched slums. What sort of mayor allows a cesspool of humanity like this to decay in his own back yard? A sick one, that’s who. And then I took a closer look at these little nightmare shanties, all huddled together for warmth like derelicts around a burning car tire…

“You know, for a bunch of filthy untouchables, these Germans bums sure decorate the shit out of their huts.”

And it was true: Each little house was manicured with tender, loving care. Like dollhouses for God’s sullied children. They were freshly painted, complete with trim and decorations on the front door. They even had tiny chimneys and gutters. The yards were immaculate and the gardens were actually growing real, live, fruits and vegetables. I even saw a miniature trellis supporting a beautiful red climbing rose… like a single wish of hope in an otherwise hellish quagmire of despair.

“These are the best hobos ever!” I declared loudly, not only for my wife, but for the rest of the train car to hear as well.

“Those are Schreber gardens,” said my wife. “We call them ‘Schrebergärten.’ People who live in the city rent them so they can garden on the weekends. When I was a kid, I used to have sleepovers with my friend in her family’s Schreber garden.”

She was right. Apparently, the “Schreber Movement” started in Leipzig, Germany, in 1864. European industrialization in the 19th century brought tons of people into German cities, and most of them were very poor. As a way to improve their lives and put more food on the table, they used these little plots of land outside the city to garden, work outside in the fresh air and have a place for their children to play. These days, Schreber gardens are more of a hobby than a necessity, and though I’m sure there are some young people who continue to enjoy them, all I’ve seen are super old people with their hands in the dirt and their asses to the sky.

And so, Dear Germany, I must apologize; I am sorry for assuming so many of your citizens were living in abject squalor. I just didn’t know! I mean, I own a house in the States and I hate yard work — I couldn’t imagine paying someone for the chance to weed my own vegetable garden. That’s just crazy talk. But you go ahead and do your thing, Germany.

Do it real good.



If you would like to read another post regarding my adjustment to life in a new country, check this one out: American Expat Receives Terrifying Haircut at Turkish Hairdresser in Germany

The Top 10 Weirdest German Foods I Have Learned to Love

When you think of German food, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Lots of meat? Sausage? Bread? Sauerkraut? (Endless fields of pig bodies to satisfy Germany’s disturbing and straight up demonic appetite for all things swine?) Before moving to Germany, I thought of these things too, because I had no idea just how weird and diverse German food really is — or that I would someday learn to love the nightmarish display of grotesqueries at the grocery store.

What follows is a list of the 10 weirdest foods I have learned to love as an American expat living in Germany:


1.) Zungenwurst
Also known as Blood Tongue, this little childhood trauma is made from pig’s blood, tongue, fat and sometimes oatmeal or breadcrumbs. (They probably throw a live piglet in there too, just to keep things cute.) The first time I tried Zungenwurst, I hacked it back up into my napkin and told my wife I could taste the screams. The blood was so potent it was like sucking on a mouthful of pennies. But I kept at it! I tried it again a few weeks later, and again at my in-laws place, until one day I kinda liked it. Then I really liked it, and now I’m the one who buys this awful shit at the grocery store.


2.) Weltmeister-Brötchen
These guys are made out of wheat and rye flour, and for some reason enjoy calling themselves the “World Champion Bread Roll.” Pretty cocky, if you ask me. But look at all those seeds! There’s enough to choke a pigeon. I bet if you buried one of these rolls in the dirt, an entire forest would spring to life. Anyway, as an American, I was really only familiar with white and whole wheat bread, so these dense bricks of heartiness were entirely new to me. I took to them pretty quickly, however, because my wife said all the seeds would be good for my pooper. (And if you know me, you know I’ll eat anything if it increases the armor class of my anus.)


3.) Speck
Speck, or ‘lardo,’ is just straight up pig fat. Sometimes it’s served with a thin layer of meat, but that’s just cosmetic; make no mistake, you’re putting pure fat into your mouth, and Germans lack the common decency to be ashamed of it. I took quite a while to shake hands with Speck — and I still look at it a little sideways — but it’s pretty good. You gotta heat it up, of course, and I learned the hard way not to eat it straight: put it on some bread or it’ll give you a phenomenal stomach ache. Kind of like you ate a big wax candle.


4.) Grünkohl
Grünkohl is green cabbage or kale, and Germans eat it mostly in wintertime. I actually think it’s kind of gross, but when you throw it on top of a steaming pile of sausage and potatoes, well, you’ve got yourself a party! I first experienced Grünkohl after a Grünkohlwanderung (Green Cabbage Walk), during which my wife and I — plus a huge group of Germans — walked through a snowy forest in celebration of a friend’s birthday. We drank the entire time and played humiliating team games, and when it was all over, we sat down to a huge meal of this green nightmare cabbage. It was awesome.


5.) Wiener-Würstchen
Check it out! Hot dogs in a jar, yo! Oh, I knew I would love these sumbitches right from the start. Just like American hot dogs, they’re made entirely of asses and eyeballs. They’ve got that salty twang we love so much, plus a satisfying pop when your teeth burst through the outer skin. Okay, so they sound completely disgusting, but trust me on this one: Wiener-Würstchen rule. Just don’t get any bright ideas about drinking the water in which they’re contained — it is pure, liquid sodium. And by sodium, I mean it tastes like Poseidon’s saltwater piss.


6.) Griebenschmalz
So this stuff is just spreadable pig fat. There are chunks of fried pork rind in it, plus herbs and salt to really give your body the old middle finger. They even sell versions with apple and onion pieces, because Germans are completely out of their minds. It took me quite a while to embrace this stuff, but now I love it. Hell, I eat more Griebenschmalz than my wife does, because, although she doesn’t know it yet, we are locked in a competitive race to the grave. “Good luck paying off the mortgage after I’m gone, honey!”


7.) Prosciutto
Alright, so this is Italian food, and pretty much every American has tried it, but I never really ate much prosciutto until I moved to Germany. Now I buy it every week, and my wife loves it even more than I do. I mean, who doesn’t like cured meat? It rules. The thing is, my wife and I have a rough history with prosciutto; we’re about 100% certain it’s to blame for the heroic case of food poisoning we experienced in New York, so it took both of us a while to trust it again. The other issue is, every once in a while, we’ll get a batch of prosciutto which tastes really gamey. Like a big, pink pig is sitting right on your face. *Shudder* You know what? I’m not even sure why I keep buying it anymore.


8.) Schinkenmettwurst
These things look like harmless peperoni sticks, right? That’s what I thought too, until I was so hungry I bought one in a panic at a train station and discovered they’re basically just tubes of raw meat. They’re cured, of course, but then they’re finely ground so they have the mouthfeel of earthworms. From that first bite, I kind of wanted to throw my Schinkenmettwurst across the train station and then stomp on it until arrested — but I also wanted to keep eating it. It was the oddest sensation. Like good and evil in the same mouthful. Now I know what to expect, so I can eat one of these things and be comfortable with the fact that it tastes great but also gives me the dry heaves.


9.) Sülze
Have you ever heard of head cheese? That’s what this is. Normally I buy it sliced, but they also sell it in these revolting jars. Basically, Sülze is meat from the head of a cow or pig — sometimes including the tongue, feet or heart — which has been set in gelatin. Like a murder victim on display in a shop window. Is it just me, or does German food seem unsatisfied with merely killing an animal, but must go a step further and mock it as well? Jesus Christ.


10.) Schinken-Teewurst
Schinken-Teewurst is spreadable, raw sausage. Again, it’s cured, but that does nothing to inhibit your gag reflex. I downright hated this shit the first time I tried it. But as a blindly tenacious American, I kept trying. I learned to like that it is roughly 40% fat and smacks of pickled hot dogs. I even ignored the stomach ache it gave me whenever I tried to eat it straight. Like most German foods in the grocery store, I have no idea why I like it. I just do. Maybe I love pork. Maybe I hate pigs. It doesn’t matter; now that I live in Germany, my entire diet consists of German food, so I will probably die with a cloven hoof in my mouth and a load of cabbage in my undies.

If you liked this post, there’s a solid chance you’ll dig this one too: 10 Easy Steps to Become the Worst God Damned German Language Teacher on the Planet


False Friends: 15 Examples How the German Language Is Trying to Kill You


“Oh yeah, those are the exact same thing.” — Photo Credit: Kirby Kerr ( — Subject to CC 2.0 license. (Hue and contrast edited.)

False friends are pairs of words in two languages which look or sound identical, but are wildly different in meaning. The false friends between German and English are hilarious, and in some cases, lethal.

What follows is a list of 15 German nouns and their incredibly different translations in English:

  1. Das Gift
    In America, we know exactly what gifts are: Nicely wrapped boxes full of goods made in poor countries. In German, however, das Gift means poison. Straight up, rat-killing, slug-shrinking poison. If you want to say gift in German, you have to say das Geschenk — and I agree; the German version sounds more like a tool used to stab someone in prison.
  2. Der Rat
    Rats — those filthy little rodents which helped spread bubonic plague throughout Europe in the Middle Ages — now kept primarily as pets by high school nerds with Cheeto fingers. Unfortunately, der Rat means advice or counsel in German. Actually, that’s kind of perfect; lots of government branches in Germany are named using this root word, like der Bundesrat (federal council), which is just full of rats…
  3. Der Stapler
    Remember Milton from Office Space, with his bright red Swingline stapler? Well, before you go burning your workplace to the ground over one of these things, remember, in German der Stapler means forklift or stacker truck, so if your boss screams, “Achtung! Stapler!” don’t just stand there laughing — fucking run.
  4. Der Quark
    If you’re a huge nerd like me, the word quark immediately makes you think of the Ferengi bar owner from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. (Who, by the way, was the best character on the show — I will fight you over this.) If you’re a smarter nerd than me, quark makes you think of the elementary particles which combine to form things like protons and neutrons. Anyway, in German, der Quark means cheese curd, and it tastes like really thin yogurt with all of the fun and joy removed.
  5. Der Hang
    Depending upon my mood, the word hang will either remind me of hanging out — like I did in the mid-’90s — or the verb to hang, like from a noose. (Generally it’s the latter, because gallows humor is the only thing which alleviates my crippling preoccupation with death.) In German, however, der Hang means a slope or inclination. Isn’t that boring? I would so much rather think about death by hanging and the hilarious boner it gives you.
  6. Der Mist
    Picture it: A beautiful meadow just as the sun is coming up. The air is crisp and cold. Red and yellow leaves are scattered across the grass. A gentle mist is drifting from the trees, moving across the ground and tickling your toes. It’s a beautiful day to be alive. No. Just, no. Der Mist means dung or manure.
  7. Der Pickel
    Pickles are awesome, right? They’re delicious — all bumpy and green — and you can wiggle them in front of your genitals like a Martian dick. But that’s not what the word means in German. Der Pickel is a zit or pimple, which, if you think about it, is way more revolting than my freakishly green weenie. “Kiss the tip!”
  8. Der Smoking
    Sounds like it has something to do with cigarettes, right? Maybe cigars or pipes? Something that really gives cancer the old middle finger. That’s what I thought, until I discovered der Smoking actually means tuxedo. Not even close! And now that I know what it means, I can’t stop picturing James Bond in a tuxedo smoking a cigarette. Just stinkin’ his tailored suit up real good, like a true asshole.
  9. Die Robe
    As an American, the word robe brings to my mind a soft garment worn immediately after a shower. There are fancy robes, like the ones Hugh Hefner wears, and shitty robes, like the ones your dad used to wear — you know, the thin, faded kind, which would, without fail, give you an eye full of his cock and balls every time he sat down on the couch. *Shudder.* Thankfully, in German, die Robe is an evening gown, and that is a mental image which does not make my right eyelid twitch.
  10. Die Lust
    Oh, this one’s gotta be good, right? Probably something naughty. Shunned or illegal, at the very least. Nope. Die Lust means interest or inclination. Isn’t that just lame as hell? On the plus side, in German, you can walk up to a woman and literally ask if she has any ‘lust’ to go out with you. That’s pretty hardcore. Might as well ask if she’s lubed up and ready to make a porno.
  11. Die Nutte
    Sounds like nuts or Nutella to me, so frankly I like where this word is headed already. Unfortunately, die Nutte means hooker or prostitute in German. Can you imagine asking your waiter or waitress for some extra Nutella, only you totally blow it with your American accent? Nothing like a totally unexpected insult to ruin someone’s double shift: “Excuse me. May I please have some more of this delicious hazelnut spread, you filthy whore?”
  12. Der Puff
    I get it, innocent stuff, like “Puff, the Magic Dragon,” cream puffs, and Puff Daddy — or whatever the hell he called himself before he turned into a beautiful butterfly. No, der Puff isn’t innocent at all; it’s a whorehouse or brothel. This one is so misleading, it’s like sitting down to watch an animated movie with your kids, only to discover you’ve brought home some hardcore hentai, complete with throbbing tentacle dicks and helpless girls who never fail to show you their undies.
  13. Der Tripper
    Sounds like Jack Tripper from Three’s Company to me! This word is sure to result in comic high jinks after a simple mix-up forces a hapless bachelor to inexplicably trip over every god damned thing in the apartment. No Sir! In German, der Tripper is gonorrhea or “the clap.” Man, what I wouldn’t pay to see John Ritter alive again, screaming as he falls down the stairs, “Mother of God, it burns when I peeeeeeeeeeee…!”
  14. Die Parole
    This is what happens after you get out of prison, right? Where you prove you’re ready to reenter the population by having absolutely no fun at all? In Germany, die Parole actually means password or slogan, so if you want to talk about being released from prison, you have to say, die Bewährung. (Great. Now I can’t stop thinking about how many of our devoted readers might be ex-convicts…)
  15. Der After
    Yeah, I get it. After. But after what? Well, after my puckering butthole, that’s what. Seriously. In German, der After means anus. Isn’t that awesome? I can’t wait to go back to the gym tomorrow, hit the showers and show everyone what comes after my butt cheeks. “Run, hobbits! The Eye of Sauron is upon you!”

If you would like to read another post about my experiences learning the German language, check out this one: The Absolute Best (and Weirdest) German Integration Class I Ever Had



How to Become A Permanent Resident of Germany: 6 Tips for American Citizens with German Spouses


“Those colors. So strong, yet so intimidating…” — Photo by Trine Juel (

Are you an American citizen married to — or about to marry — a German citizen? Do you wish to move to Germany and live there as a permanent resident? Then congratulations! You have no sense of fear whatsoever! Man, woman or transgender — you have great big balls. Seriously, like 25% of your body weight is pure testicle. (And for that, I salute you.)

Because I have already made the leap myself, people email me all the time and ask for advice on moving to Germany. In response, I have sent fragmented tips, pointers and oblong nuggets of information on the subject all across the internet. My advice has been scatterbrained at best, so with this blog post, I am hoping to mash all my thoughts together like a fat kid sitting on a ham sandwich.

Before I begin, however, I want you to bear in mind the following 3 facts:

  1. My wife is German. If you haven’t figured this out by now, you probably wore a helmet to grade school.
  2. My wife and I got married in the United States and then moved to Germany. My only experience with German weddings has been as an inebriated guest.
  3. We moved from the United States to Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony). Immigration protocols in Germany may vary from state to state.

That said, here we go! I hope you enjoy our tips for Americans on gaining permanent residency in Germany!

1.) Bring your American marriage certificate

Before you depart the United States on your way to Germany, make sure you bring a notarized copy — ideally 2 or 3 — of your official American marriage certificate. (Not the pretty one for framing on your wall. The real one.) It has to be notarized, meaning you take it to your state’s notary public office, where they stamp it with an apostille. I know that sounds like one of the 12 dudes who used to follow Jesus around and tell everyone how awesome he was, but it’s not; it’s an internationally recognized seal of certification, and Germans love it. They love it so much, they won’t accept your American marriage certificate without it.

Obviously you and your spouse will need to bring your passports too, but you’ll also need notarized copies of your birth certificates. It’s also a good idea to bring proof of employment, health insurance and rental or home ownership contracts for both of you. You probably won’t need or even have these last 3 items if you’re moving to Germany, but bring everything you do have just to be safe. And remember: Later on down the road, if you want to land a job in Germany, you’ll need notarized copies of your high school and college transcripts. (German bureaucracy demands certified proof of everything. You’ll even need a license to breathe. Just kidding.)


“That’s right. You sign that filthy little contract…” — Photo by Mike Goren (

2.) Get your American marriage certificate translated

Once you get to Germany, you have to have your American marriage certificate translated by a certified German translator. (And no, your spouse can’t translate it for you. That wouldn’t be painful enough.) You need to search for one in the state in which you plan on living, so you can get the translated version along with the state’s official stamp. So, for example, if you wanted to find a translator in Hannover, you would google: “zertifizierte Übersetzungsbüro Hannover.”

After you have an officially translated certificate, you’ll need to take it to your local marriage department or courthouse (German: “Standesamt“). Once there, you’ll sign some paperwork and receive your German marriage certificate. This document is the key to attaining your initial, 3-year residency permit from the immigration office and getting signed up for everything else you’ll need, like health insurance and German language classes. (The next section is all about this infuriating process.)


“Fatty pork products can help ease the suffering as you begin your descent into paperwork hell.” — Photo by Stacey Cavanagh (

SPECIAL NOTE: Figure out your legal name before you go to the marriage department, because the German government hates middle names. For example, my middle name became my “second first name,” and now appears on every legal document I receive. (Not a problem, really, but my middle name makes me sound like a dandy Englishman.) The marriage department is cool with hyphenated last names, but if you ever remove the hyphen, you can’t go back; it’s a one-way street. Also, they’re supposed to give you the option to keep your name exactly the way it appears in your home country, but they will make sure you understand doing so would really break their balls.

3.) Get your sweet ass to the immigration office

Do not wait to go to your local immigration office (Ausländerbehörde); go there as soon as you have your German marriage certificate in hand. I say this because the people who work at the immigration office are all functionally retarded. I had to make 3 different appointments and wait in unbelievably long lines because they lost my paperwork after my first appointment. If you know someone who works there, I want you to email me their home address so I can show up at their door and open-hand slap them as hard as humanly possible. I want the neighbors next door to hear it. I want their kids to start crying and their dog to start barking. God damn I hate the Ausländerbehörde.


“This place is exactly like ‘The Walking Dead,’ minus the sex scenes.” — Photo by Mark Hillary (

Anyway, bring every piece of identification you have, along with your marriage certificate, passport photos and about €150 euros in cash. The cash is to pay for your 3-year residence permit, which is actually just an ID card, like your driver’s license. And remember to bring your German spouse with you, because the immigration office employees probably won’t speak English. (They can barely manage to dress themselves in the morning.)

SPECIAL NOTE: Before they will give you the residency card, you will have to pass a little test. It’s a quick verbal exam to determine your ability to speak the German language at approximately A1 level. (A1 is for extreme beginners, but they want you to have some knowledge of the language so you can begin your German integration class. More on this later.)

My test was exactly 5 questions long:

  1. What is your name? (Nailed this one.)
  2. Can you spell your name? (Blew this one.)
  3. Where do you come from? (Scraped by this one.)
  4. How old are you? (Nailed this one.)
  5. How did you get here this morning, e.g. subway, on foot, etc.? (Stumbled through this one like a drunken sailor.)

In short, I barely passed. I honestly don’t know what happens if you fail, but don’t stress about it; you’re married to a German. They can’t kick you out of the country unless you break some laws and do something super bad. Like, James Bond movie villain bad. And although it’s unfair, you will receive preferential treatment because you come from America. That’s just the way it is. Be glad you don’t come from some evil country where warmongering, corruption and greed run rampant (oh wait…).

4.) Sign up for German health insurance as soon as possible.

When I came to Germany, I was so concerned with playing by the rules I accidentally broke them. I stayed on American travel insurance for almost a year after my arrival, and that pissed the German insurance people right the hell off. They wanted me on the books, in the system, and paying my dividends from the word go.

I was penalized a little for this mistake, but in the end, it wasn’t a huge deal. The real hassle was trying to get my basic healthcare needs met. If your spouse is German and has a decent job, chances are you’re entitled to coverage already — you just have to sign up. You may qualify for the public health option, or you might need a private one, but either way, don’t wait; have your spouse inquire at work and figure out your benefits.


“Here comes your communist root canal!” — Photo by Conor Lawless (

On a side note, Germany is not exactly the utopia of free health insurance and abundant healthcare we’ve been led to believe; there is a public option for people with lower incomes, but they wait longer for appointments and their prescription medications are limited to the basics. Yes, everyone is ‘theoretically’ covered, but you’ll find a world of difference between public and private insurance no matter the country in which you reside. If you have money, you’ll get doctor appointments sooner, enjoy preferential treatment overall, and have enough pharmaceutical options to kill a rock star. I’m sorry, but when it comes to healthcare, having money is the tits.

5.) Enroll in an integration course as soon as possible

Germany is a popular country for immigrants, and most of them are coming from countries closer than America, so language classes required by the German government fill up quickly. It was the beginning of September when I first arrived, and I was told the next integration class would begin after the first of the year. I returned in the second week of January only to find the class completely full. I had to wait until spring for the next one to begin, so please, do yourself a favor and sign up for your class immediately.

Now, assuming you’ve already attained that 3-year residency permit I mentioned, but you still suck at German, you’ll need to take exactly 3 language classes: A1, A2 and B1 — which, combined, form your ‘integration course.’ After you’re done, you’ll then take the B1 exam. It has several portions, including reading, writing, speaking and listening comprehension. It can seem really hard at first, but don’t worry; you’ll be prepared for it after all those hellish hours spent in the classroom. Also, you can find all sorts of sample B1 tests on the Goethe-Institut website ( — so you know exactly what sorts of things you need to practice.

You can take these language classes at your local VHS (Volkshochschule), or anywhere else recognized by the immigration department. I believe your local VHS will be the cheapest option, but remember: Even in Germany, you get what you pay for. (This is a polite way of saying the VHS can lick my unholy scrotum. Consider looking for a ‘Bildungsverein,’ ‘Goethe-Institut’ or virtually any other language school, if you value your sanity.)


“There are 16 articles in the German language. Who’s up for some ritual suicide?” — Photo by Shane global (

After you pass your B1 exam, you’ll probably have to take a month-long ‘orientation’ class afterward. This is where they teach you all about German politics, geography and history… as if you miraculously overlooked every single World War II movie and History Channel documentary ever made. Anyway, you’ll need to take another little test for this orientation course, but then you’re done! Once you’ve lived for a full 3 years in Germany with your initial residence permit, you’ll get a letter from the immigration department telling you to come in and update your visa status. (Or, if you’re me, the Ausländerbehörde will forget to tell you about your appointment entirely, and you’ll have to call these idiots to confirm it.)

You’ll bring your passport, test certificates, 3-year residence permit card (which will have expired by now), 2 passport photos, around €150 euros in cash, proof of employment, rent / ownership contract and a heroic amount of patience — and they’ll submit your application for you. After 4 weeks, you’ll either receive your new permit in the mail, or have the delightful experience of returning to the Ausländerbehörde to pick it up in person.

Some states will simply extend your permit by 5 to 10 years, but they also might give you your permanent residence permit right there at the appointment. It depends how long you’ve been married to your German. (I think you need to have survived at least 5 years without killing each other.)

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some extra help, check it out — Additional Information for Extra Nervous, Soon-to-Be Expats:

6.) Don’t Panic.

I really hope this article helps you feel more prepared for your life in Germany. It can be a scary prospect for an American — I know — but one which will very likely turn out to be the best decision you’ve ever made.

Life in Germany rules; it is a beautiful country, safe, stable and full of wonderful people. However, if you’re still losing sleep over the big move, remember the following:

  1. You are married to a German citizen and you come from a so-called ‘respectable’ country. You’ll be allowed to stay no matter what anyone tells you.
  2. Most Germans speak some English. In a pinch, you can usually default to your native language. This is a huge advantage, and it’s totally unfair (but totally awesome).
  3. You are going to die someday. I know this is depressing, but it’s also liberating, because none of these little details really matter. Picture yourself on your deathbed, sucking in your last feeble breath before greeting the great void beyond; did it really matter if you filled out that one little immigration form in exactly the right way? Did the Germans throw you on a plane and deport your ass because you turned in that one document a day or two after the deadline? Were you separated from your beloved spouse for the rest of your life because you didn’t ace that stupid language test the first time? No. Lots of idiots have done this before you. You will be fine. Everything is going to work out beautifully.

“Would it save you a lot of time if I just gave up and went mad now?”
― Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — Photo by Johan Larsson (