Tag Archives: Hannover

How One American Expat Celebrates the 4th of July Outside the United States

Team-Frankreich-Intermède-Hannover-Internationalen Feuerwerkswettbewerb

“Wait, what day is it again?

How One American Expat Celebrates the 4th of July Outside the United States


An interview with the author of ‘Oh God, My Wife Is German,’ conducted by ParcelHero.com

Parcel Hero – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

1. Why are you a resident in Germany? Where in the US are you from originally?

I am originally from Portland, Oregon, but I moved to Hannover, Germany, in order to be with my wife; a beautiful, smart and (unintentionally) hilarious German woman. With her adorable linguistic mixture of Deutsch and English — better known as Denglish — she often says things like:

“Why does our time on earth have to be limitated?”

“But maybe I can spend money. I am the bread maker now.”

…or…

“It is time to get out of the bathtub now… my fingers are getting schrinkled.”

2. How will you be celebrating the 4th of July this year?

To be perfectly honest with you, I generally forget about the 4th of July every year, much like I forget most holidays, birthdays and anniversaries. However, if I should remember it this year, I will spend the evening worrying about the house we own in the States — and the likelihood that it will be swiftly burned to the ground by some mouth-breathing neighbor kid with a popsicle in one hand and a Roman candle in the other.

3. Where will you be celebrating it? (eg: a specific restaurant, party, etc.)

After calling my rental agency and confirming our house has not, in fact, been reduced to smoldering ashes, my wife and I will probably watch A Game of Thrones while eating a pizza and then pass right the fuck out.

4. What do you miss most about ‘home’ on the 4th of July?

I’ll miss the heat. July is generally pretty warm in Portland, but here in northern Germany? You just never know. It could be warm, but it could also be cold or windy — even rainy — because the weather here is always threatening an early return to winter… as if it were designed by Mother Nature herself to gently crush all joy from the German soul, keeping it focused upon the robotic task of producing the world’s finest automobile components.

— Oh God, My Wife Is German.
www.ohgodmywifeisgerman.com

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Expats around the world should check out ParcelHero for international delivery, collected from your door, by the couriers you trust, at www.parcelhero.com

And if you’d like to find out more about life as an American expat in Germany, check out some of our other posts, like this one: Five Things That Suck About Living in Germany


Fashion Tips from My German Wife: Choosing the Perfect Tie for Any Occasion

bad suit and tie

“Honey, I love you, but you dress like a blind man.” — Image Credit: bark (https://www.flickr.com/photos/barkbud/) — Subject to CC 2.0 Generic Copyright.

My wife and I have attended a few weddings here in Hannover, Germany — like 3 or 4 — so you’d think by now I would have my wardrobe all figured out, but I absolutely do not. I wore my dad’s old, gray, 1970s suit (with suspenders) for every formal occasion from 2001 until, oh, 2014. I just hate shopping for clothes, man. I’ve got a weird build: broad shoulders, a short torso, long legs and Bill Clinton’s godawful bitch hips. I don’t need the reminder, especially while having my scrotum tickled by some dude measuring my inseam. God dammit, I’m getting mad just thinking about this again.

Anyway, my wife and I were getting dressed for a wedding not too long ago, and she insisted we wear matching outfits. At first she wanted me to wear a red tie to match her red dress, but I didn’t have any black dress pants; only blue jeans, black shoes and a white button-down shirt. A red tie would have meant wearing 4 different colors, so I talked her into letting me wear a blue tie. (Only 3 colors. That’s awesome, right?) So once we’d settled the issue of which tie I should wear, my wife took a good, hard look at all of my ties. I had one in each color, including black. This was apparently a good thing, because she nodded her head, shut the closet door and said:

“Perfect. You have every color you need, and black is always good for funerals.”

If you liked this post, there’s a solid chance you’ll dig this one too: My German Wife Offers the Perfect Alternative to Traditional Childbirth

Moving from an Apartment to a House in Hannover, Germany: My Wife Exemplifies the Classiest Exit Strategy Possible

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…upgrading our living conditions SO hard. — Photo Credit: Sharon & Nikki McCutcheon (https://www.flickr.com/photos/payitforwardphotos/) — Subject to CC 2.0 Generic Copyright

As you know, my wife and I live in Hannover, Germany. She is a native German citizen — bright, beautiful and freakishly enthusiastic about her work as a Gymnasium teacher — and I am an American expat; dark and introverted, spinning graphic design projects from my home office like a funnel-web spider tending to its silken trip-lines: “Oh yes, my pretties… come closer. Let me sink my venomous logo into your fledgling business enterprise…”

So normally I’m the hateful side of our little German-American relationship, and my wife is the loving side; she genuinely enjoys people and always looks for the good in them. But after living in a questionable apartment building with psychotic inhabitants and an apathetic management company for two years (See: Arkham Asylum for the Criminally Insane), even she was ready to burn the place to the ground and piss on the ashes.

She checked the house rental listings every night for months until finally she found the perfect opening: A little house in a quiet neighborhood on the outskirts of the city, still close enough to commute to work, but far enough away we wouldn’t be tempted to climb on top of our new roof and pick off our former neighbors like a couple of wildly underqualified Marine snipers.

We got the news our rental application had been approved, and then we started packing like mad. We boxed everything up, hired a moving company and got the hell out of that apartment. As we drove away, gazing at the building as it receded from view, my wife stuck her hands out the window — both middle fingers held high in the air — and shouted, “Adios Amigos!”

Of course, with her adorable German accent, what actually came out was:

“Ahh-Dee-Yahs, Ahh-Mee-Gahs!”

If you would like to read another classic Denglish quote, check this one out: My German Wife Is A Huge Fan of HBO’s A Game of Thrones

Unsolicited Marriage Advice from an American Expat: Be a Good Listener and Your German Spouse Will Thank You

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“What’s that you say, dear? I’m having trouble hearing you over all this dysfunction.” — Image Credit: Sue Clark (https://www.flickr.com/photos/perpetualplum/) — Subject to CC 2.0 Copyright.

My German wife and I have only been married since 2012, so I’m not an expert or anything, but being a good listener seems to be a pretty important part of marriage. That is, if you want to stay married, I mean. If you’d rather catapult yourself through a sudden divorce, go ahead and let your eyes glaze over whenever your spouse starts talking to you. Hold your thumb down on the TV remote, steadily increasing the volume until the sound of her voice is drowned out entirely. You’ll be on your own in no time.

But being a good listener doesn’t necessarily mean you have to actually do anything. In fact, the less you do while your spouse is talking, the better. When it comes to daily communication — like when you tell one another about your respective workdays — listening is really all about being present. Face your spouse. Keep your eyes open. Nod every once in a while. Maybe throw a grunt or two in there. It’s so easy! By merely being present (in body, if not in mind), what you’re actually doing is allowing your partner to vent. You’re refraining from doing or saying things which might hinder the verbal diarrhea your partner so desperately needs to spray you with. Just square up to that fire hose and take it in the eardrums.

Obviously there are times when you need to actively comprehend what you’re hearing and then offer up some kind of response, like, “Yes, honey, it sounds like that woman on the train was being a bitch. That bitch.” — but those times are pretty rare. On a daily basis, most people just need to unload their emotions onto something slightly more animated than a freshly painted wall. This is why, when my wife comes home and tells me in vivid detail all about her day at work, I just shut my dirty hole and watch her talk. And for this small amount of effort — 9 times out of 10 — my German wife will reward me by wrapping things up with a sigh and saying:

“Thank you for your open ear.”*

*Translated directly from the German saying, “Danke für dein offenes Ohr.”

If you would like to read another classic Denglish post, check this one out: My German Wife Struggles to Organize A Traditional Swiss Raclette Dinner in America

 


 

North vs. South: Where to Choose a Job in Germany Using Your Gastrointestinal Instincts

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“You can take that job and shove it in your food hole.” — Photo Credit: Niels Heidenreich (https://www.flickr.com/photos/schoschie/) — Subject to CC 2.0 Generic Copyright.

After my wife finished her time as a Referendariat teacher-in-training — AKA: 18 months of stress-induced psychosis — she was faced with the grueling task of applying for jobs in various German cities. We were already living here in Hannover, but weren’t sure if we wanted to try someplace new, like Hamburg or Bremen. One thing we knew for sure, however, was that we did not want to move any further south.

I find the social dynamics between northern and southern Germans completely hilarious; they make fun of each others’ accents, food, weather, soccer teams — even their attitudes toward life in general. Northerners think of southerners as overly conservative, self-entitled brats with too much money and one great big boner for Jesus Christ. Southerners look at northerners as depressing, humorless robots with lumps of coal where their hearts should be. I love it. (Especially because the rest of the world is pretty sure all Germans are humorless robots.)

So as my German wife was applying for jobs back in 2013, she explained her search criteria to me thus: She would only be applying to cities in the north because we are not “Southies.” She went further to clarify why she would be choosing between certain job offers, saying…

“Right now, I want to pick out the raisins where I have a good stomach feeling.”

If you would like to read another classic Denglish post, check this one out: My German Wife Warns Me About the Mythological Beast in Our Bathtub

 


 

How to Evade a Guilt Trip, as Demonstrated by My Lovely German Wife

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“Don’t mess with the best.” — Photo Credit: Trevor Butcher (https://www.flickr.com/photos/27888428@N00/) — Subject to CC 2.0 license. (Image adjusted for color and contrast.)

My wife works hard. Like, hard as balls. She gets up around 5:00 am, commutes to the Gymnasium high school where she teaches classes all day long, then comes home so she can plan lessons and grade tests for the next day. (Unlike me, who sits in front of the computer all day long making logos and shit.) I’d say my wife averages about 4.5 hours of sleep per night — which is nowhere near enough — but she handles it with grace and humor.

One drawback to all of this hard work, however, is my wife’s total inability to stay awake in front of the TV for longer than an hour. Halfway through a movie, I will hear a marked change in her breathing; it slows and deepens, until finally I look down to find an unconscious German on my shoulder.

I don’t fault her for this — she works her ass off — but I cannot resist the urge to tease her about it, especially because I’m the one who has to put away the food and dishes, turn off all the lights and turn the bed down. (You know, real backbreaking labor.) After all this is done, I gently wake my wife so she can brush her teeth before bed, and that’s when I like to make some shitty remark about having to watch the movie all over again tomorrow night. She would be justified in flipping me off or calling me names, but instead she just shrugs, saying:

“Please don’t smear this on my bread.”*

*From the German saying, “Schmier mir das nicht aufs Brot,” which figuratively means, “Quit bringing that up again.”

If you liked this post, you might also like this one too: My German Wife Struggles to Organize A Traditional Swiss Raclette Dinner in America


 

American Man and His German Wife Mock the Award-Winning Movie “Life of Pi”

life of pi movie poster

“Man, tigers are DICKS.” — Photo Credit: diginmag (https://www.flickr.com/photos/diginmag/) — © Cindy Maram/Dig In Magazine — Image subject to CC 2.0 license.

Have you seen the movie Life of Pi? It was based on the allegorical novel by Yann Martel, and tells the story of a 16-year-old Indian boy stranded on a lifeboat for 227 days with a Bengal tiger. You might be thinking that’s an awfully long time to survive in a confined space with a bloodthirsty animal, but then you would be forgetting Bengal tigers are totally incapable of climbing onto stretched canvas. Seriously. The kid cowers on top of a canvas tarp and the tiger is unable to climb up onto it and get him. His little tiger claws just can’t get any purchase! He’s the worst tiger ever! Can you use your hind legs and jump, you little bitch? God dammit!

So this movie won four Oscars, including Best Director, and grossed about $125 million dollars in the US alone. Now, I’m not saying it wasn’t fun to watch — hell, I could even hang with all the symbolism, religious messages and the notion of truth as a relative term — I guess I just wasn’t terribly moved by it. But my wife and I both agreed it was more fun than watching paint dry! That’s generous of us, right?

I believe my wife summarized our attitude best, after Pi’s miniature raft was lost, forcing him to return to the lifeboat with the tiger:

“I think his little boaty-floaty went away… with all the life wests.”*

*That would be life ‘vests,’ pronounced with my wife’s adorable German accent.

If you would like to read another Denglish post, check this one out: My German Wife Reveals Her Maternal Intentions with a Single, Horrifying Question