Tag Archives: Humor

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 (https://www.flickr.com/photos/druidicparadise/) – 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

Summary:

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

Rehydrating After the Gym: Why Popular Sports Drinks Fail to Impress My German Wife

Gatorade Sports Drinks v.s. Evian Water

“Wait, so sugar and salt work BETTER than water? That totally makes sense.” — Image Credit: Anna Hirsch (https://www.flickr.com/photos/antigone/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

As you probably know, I’m an American expat and freelance graphic designer working from my home office in the city of Hannover, Germany. Like a lot of self-employed creative types, I am a spiteful little shut-in with introverted tendencies and a general sense of loathing for the bright, colorful world outside my nest of shadows. (Imagine a black-cloaked Nosferatu-type cringing in pain from the merciless gaze of the sun: “Hissssssss…”)

When I do manage to gather the willpower necessary to leave the house, it is only so I can go exercise at our local German gym. And since I make my own hours, I can do this whenever the hell I want. My poor wife, however, is a Gymnasium teacher; she’s gone all day long, and then when she’s home, she has to plan lessons the rest of the evening. It’s a tough job, so when she finally has time to go to the gym, she considers it a luxury.

My wife considers clean, abundant drinking water a luxury as well, and cannot fathom the attraction people — especially Americans — have for popular sports drinks. Sports drinks are supposed to help athletes replace the water, energy and electrolytes they’ve lost during training or after competitions, but I think we all maintain a little skepticism regarding their effectiveness. Even German people are skeptical about them, which I find rather contradictory, since they also believe herbal tea with honey is a panacea capable of curing all diseases and prolonging life indefinitely.

Anyway, the other day, when my wife came home from the gym, she set her bag down and took a long pull from her water bottle. She looked at it closely, then turned to me and asked in her adorable accent:

THE WIFE: “What do all the sport people drink again? Jen-er-ate?
ME: “…Gatorade.”


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

The Top 5 Weirdly Specific, Totally Irrational Fears and Phobias of an American Expat Living in Germany

crazy-mad-scientist-nerd-funny-lab

“…and THIS, children, is the face of insanity!” — Image Credit: Okko Pyykkö (https://www.flickr.com/photos/data_op/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

We’re all afraid of something — spiders, heights, confined spaces — these are all common phobias. And while they scare the everloving shit out of me too, I have an additional set of fears which are far weirder and less rational than the rest. Fears I have always had, but which have been made far worse since I became an American expat living in Germany.

Phobia #5: Getting Lint in My Pee-Hole

fat-penis-funny-gummy-germany-peehole

“Things way flow out, but NEVER in.” — Image Credit: Marc Diego (https://www.flickr.com/photos/132739655@N07/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

Few things are more sacred than my urinary meatus. It is the very keyhole behind which my soul is locked, and therefore, never to be sullied. Still, I have an intense fear of getting lint — or any other foreign object — lodged inside it. I cringe at the very thought. In fact, I am cringing super hard right now.

I suspect this fear stems from a moment in my childhood when I was at the playground near my house. Like most playgrounds, this one sat atop a thick layer of bark dust. I recall finding an unusually long piece of bark dust, then proceeding to run around swinging it over my head like a pirate. Soon enough, I needed to climb the play structure in order to better command my swabbies, but I only had one free hand. Thinking I was the smartest pirate ever, I jammed the bark dust into the waistband of my shorts and started climbing. By the time I got to the top, what was once a sword had exploded into a thousand merry splinters, one of which worked its way into my tiny piss hole. “Yarr, Matey! Batten down the hatches and–HOLY FUCK IT STIIIIIIINGS!”

What does this have to do with Germany? Well, I refuse to sleep naked. You see, occasionally, the summer months in Germany are actually hot, and air conditioning is a very rare indulgence in this country. Even though it is obviously the greatest thing ever, Germans tend to see air conditioning as wasteful and, in some cases, even unhealthy. Since my wife and I don’t want to be the only assholes on the block with an A/C unit sticking out the window, we must escape the heat through a pair of oscillating fans and our own nakedness. But therein lies the problem: As I’ve already explained, I am irrationally afraid something will find its way into my glue chute. That I’ll roll over while I’m asleep and crush my boner headfirst into a pile of sock lint, resulting in a massive infection and a trip to the emergency room, where my inflamed bongus starts shooting out whole socks like a malfunctioning clothes dryer.

Phobia #4: Sitting with My Back to the Door

sitting-with-back-to-the-door-phobia

“Someone is sneaking up behind me right now. I KNOW it.” — Image Credit: Ralph Daily (https://www.flickr.com/photos/ralphandjenny/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

I’m just a nerd who sits at home all day making pretty on the computer. I am not a secret agent. I am not a criminal, nor am I an assassin, so realistically, no one is out to get me. I have absolutely no reason to fear having my back to the door in public places, and yet, it still bugs the holy Christ out of me. Restaurants, classrooms, offices — really anywhere I must remain for longer than a few seconds — are all spaces in which I am compelled to position myself so I can see exactly who is coming through the door at all times. Sure, I can white-knuckle my way through dinner at a sushi restaurant with a steady flow of foot traffic behind me, but I’ll look over my shoulder so many times my wife will eventually throw down her chopsticks and switch seats with me just so we can both relax.

This anxiety is all about control. I have no control over people when I can’t see them, and that makes me feel vulnerable. When I can see them, I feel as if I at least have a chance to protect myself and my wife from danger — even if I don’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell. Like, if some halfwit marches into a cafe and lights the place up with an assault rifle, at the very least I’m going to throw a salt shaker at him. Maybe even a dinner plate or something. Bang, bang, bang… “Fuck youuuuuuuu!” SMASH! …NEWS FLASH… American Expat in Germany Saves Dozens of Lives by Incapacitating Gunman with Fennel Caprese Salad.

What does this have to do with Germany? Well, public transportation in German cities is pretty sweet. My wife and I don’t need a car; we ride our bikes, take the bus or hop on the U-Bahn. You know what sucks about the U-Bahn though? There’s always a door behind you. Unless you want to stand up the entire time at the front of the train with your back pressed against the driver’s booth, staring the other passengers in the eye like some creepy homunculus, people are going to be entering and exiting right behind you. It sucks, and that’s why I always ride the U-Bahn with a tiny canister of pepper spray in my pocket — my thumb hovering nervously over the button — just waiting to ruin someone’s day.

Phobia #3: Drain Cleaner

drano-drain-cleaner-pipe-unclog

“Pictured: The burning tears of Gomorrah.” — Image Credit: Mike Mozart (https://www.flickr.com/photos/jeepersmedia/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

Chemical drain cleaners are scary as hell. Have you ever used one, like Drano, Liquid-Plumr or Rid-X? God damn, that shit will eat through anything, and it’s not exactly discerning; It’ll burn through the wad of soap scum clogging your shower drain just as easily as it will your wrinkled scrotum. With this in mind, I handle drain cleaner like unstable dynamite; delicately tiptoeing my way through the house, keeping the bottle at arm’s length and my face turned slightly away while wearing an expression of dainty horror. Basically, like the world’s biggest pussy.

I am deathly afraid of getting drain cleaner on my skin, and I am 100% convinced it will somehow, magically, wind up in my eyes and blind me for life. Like, the fear itself is so strong it could blow a fuse in my brain, short out my instinct for self-preservation and replace it with the impulse to pour heinous amounts of acid directly into my eyes and mouth. This, in turn, causes more fear, which makes the impulse seem even more real, resulting in a thought loop from which I cannot escape, and proving — once and for all — I have lost my goddamn mind.

How does this relate to Germany? Well, renting houses and apartments — rather than owning them — is much more common in this country. Lots of Germans rent their homes their entire lives, but the universal problem with renters from any country is they rarely care about the place they’re renting. They don’t own it, so fuck it, right? On top of that, cheapskate apartment managers never fix things when they break. You’ve got to handle problems yourself, and that’s where drain cleaner comes into play. See, if your wife has long, sexy German hair like mine does, your shower drain will clog with hairballs at regular intervals throughout the year. This will force you to either buy a plumber’s snake (yeah right, that’s gross) or resort to the use of chemicals. And since my wife has deemed all things pertaining to clogged pipes as “icky” and “a man’s job,” I must regularly face my fear of drain cleaner — or as I have come to call it, “Cowering in Fear of the Devil’s Hot Acid Ejaculate.”

Phobia #2: Dogs

cute-pit-bulls-in-funny-costumes

“Oh, how cute! A pretty princess and a handsome gentleman… with razor-sharp knives in their mouths.” — Image Credit: Pets Adviser (petsadviser.com) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

I used to love dogs, man. When I was younger, I had no fear of them whatsoever. But that all changed back in Portland, Oregon, in the mid-2000s, when I made the ingenious decision to try and break up a pit bull fight in my underwear.

You see, I was renting a room in a house owned by a woman with a pit bull. There was another renter living there too, and he also owned a pit bull, but neither of these two idiots had the slightest clue how to raise dogs like these. So, I woke up one Saturday morning to the unmistakable sound of dogs fighting over food in the kitchen, but it wasn’t just the usual snarling and barking; what I heard was two pit bulls trying to kill each other.

Not my problem, I thought to myself, rolling over and pulling the pillow down over my ears. But the bloody murder just got louder and louder, until it was clear one of the dogs was about to die. I jumped out of bed — out of anger and annoyance, not heroism — grabbed the canister of bear mace I kept (and still keep) next to my bed, and walked into the kitchen wearing nothing but a pair of thin, blue boxer shorts.

There was dog food, blood and hair all over the kitchen floor, and the woman who owned the house — whom we shall refer to as Muffinbrain McTouchedinthehead — was trying to bodily heft one of the pit pulls up and out the back door. She wasn’t strong enough to pull this off though, especially since the other pit bull had locked its jaws on the dog’s hind leg. I got Muffinbrain’s attention and offered to use the can of mace in my hand, but she insisted I try and pull the second dog away and separate them instead. I don’t know why, but I went ahead and grabbed the dog’s collar and yanked it back. It worked, but stupid goddamn Muffinbrain let her dog get away, and it charged across the kitchen and sank it’s teeth into the second dog’s neck. Of course my fingers were in the way, and to this very day I have the scars to prove it.

Anyway, it was at that moment when I absolutely lost my shit: I was basically naked — my exposed flesh vulnerable from all angles — bleeding and pissed off, so I pulled the safety guard off the canister and bear-maced the holy shit out of pit bull #1. Not yet satisfied, I firehosed pit bull #2 for good measure, then gave them both a few departing shots as I walked back to my room. I got dressed and left the house, but not before seeing Muffinbrain still in the kitchen, coughing and gagging on the atomized pepper spray in the air, and the two pit bulls standing there with vacant looks in their eyes — like nothing happened. In retrospect, I think the mace had temporarily blinded them, but they handled it calmly and professionally, like the purebred assassins they are.

How does this relate to Germany? Well, Germans like to bring their dogs with them everywhere. Restaurants, cafes, department stores… even the U-Bahn. You can’t get away from the filthy little beasts, especially here in Hannover. And every time one gets close to me — even if it’s just a little Pomeranian puffball — I am convinced it will bite me and I must resist the urge to punt that little fucker like a football.

Phobia #1: Young Men

drunk-teenagers-boys-party-funny

“We cannot be hurt. We cannot die. And together, we will bring an end to all that is good and decent in this world.” — Image Credit: fakeyoursmile (https://www.flickr.com/photos/fakeyoursmile/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

I ask you, is there anything more dangerous than a group of bored young men between the ages of 16 and 25? Having been one myself, I can confirm, yes, they are, in fact, the most dangerous species on the planet. (And they stink too, secreting a perpetual musk of assholes and armpits.)

Young men are selfish, loud, rude and oblivious to the people around them. Of course there are exceptions; I’ve met many kind and considerate young men. But the vast majority have brains which are not yet fully developed — like half baked lumps of monkey shit — so they literally cannot imagine how their actions today might result in negative reactions tomorrow. This is why they get obnoxiously drunk, drive too fast, get into fistfights and think of little else beyond finding girls willing to smooch their he-chicken.

What does this have to do with Germany? Well, I must admit, I do feel a bit safer around young German man than I do American ones. This is probably because Germans are far less likely to own guns, but also because they just don’t seem quite so… aggressive. But then you have young, German, frothing-at-the-mouth soccer fans, and being trapped in an U-Bahn car with these drunken idiots after the big game makes me feel about as safe as a fat-tailed gerbil in a sack full of cats. “So, uh, has everyone already eaten today? How about them flea collars, eh? Itch like a real bastard, I bet! Heh heh… oh my God please don’t kill me.”

Summary:

I have to say, given the morbidly obsessive and wildly irrational specificity of my phobias — especially as they have been exacerbated by life in Germany — I must award them with a solid 4 out of 5 Merkel Diamonds:

Merkel Diamond from Angela Merkel, Prime Minister of Germany
However, this is not a perfect score: If you think you can top any single one of my fears in terms of overall weirdness or potential to incapacitate you as a human being, the comment section is wiiiiiide open…


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

Ungrateful Little Sh*ts: What It’s Like to Plan a Field Trip for Teenage Students in Hannover, Germany

German teenagers (teens in germany)

“Wooohooo! I am the center of the universe!” — Image Credit: Philipp (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mapled/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

As you are probably aware, my wife is German. She is also a Gymnasium teacher here in Hannover, Germany. This means she teaches students between the ages of 10 and 18 — or 5th grade through 12th. That’s a lot of teenagers, man, and if you’re anything like me, you know teenagers are a bunch of filthy, disgusting little shitbags.

Yes, there are exceptions. If you have a teenager at home, I’m sure he or she is a perfect little angel who burps love and farts rainbows. But the rest of them are 100% self-focused, with underdeveloped personalities and little or no regard for those around them. And they stink. God dammit, how hard is it to slap a little Old Spice under them pits, Dieter von Reekenstein? Mother of God, I would rather dip my nuts in hot coffee than be trapped on the U-Bahn amidst a gaggle of these screeching retards.

Luckily, my wife does not regard her students with the same kind of vehement hatred I do. She loves her students, and she’s a damn good teacher. That said, even she stumbles across the occasional moment of annoyance. Like the other day, when she was trying to organize a field trip for her 8th grade class; she offered to take them to one of the museums here in Hannover, or even the incredibly awesome Hannover Adventure Zoo. The field trip wasn’t part of the class — she just offered her own free time in order to do something fun and educational with them. And like the ungrateful 13-year-old balls of snot they are, they insisted on going to Hamburg instead. Not even, “Thank you for the idea, but we would really love to see the Port of Hamburg,” or “Would it be possible to tour Hamburg’s Old Town instead?” They were just like, “We’d rather go to Hamburg.” Period.

So my wife came home that night and explained the situation to me. She took a sip of wine, shook her head in exasperation and said:

“I tell you, you give them your little finger, and they take your whole hand.”


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

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

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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

Learn to Love Your Thighs: American Expat Ruins a Perfectly Good Day at the Beach

Hot redhead in a swimsuit on the beach

“Honey, does this swimsuit make me look like a fat, disgusting whale?” — Image Credit: Frank Kovalchek (https://www.flickr.com/photos/72213316@N00/) — Subject to CC 2.0 Generic Copyright.

Very few of us are lucky enough to have beach bodies. You know, the kind of frame which genuinely looks good in a bathing suit and makes everyone else hate your fucking guts? I go to the gym five days a week and I still have Will Farrell’s midsection. It just isn’t fair. Especially when you’re married to someone like my wife; a gorgeous German woman who can eat all the seedy bread and cured pig fat she wants and never gain a pound. It’s genetic, and not everyone is similarly blessed. However, everyone is cursed with some degree of self-consciousness. No matter how sexy you are, I guarantee there is a part of your body you don’t like. Maybe some part you even hate. Maybe if the Devil himself offered to magically rid you of this part of your body, and all you had to do in return was murder some random person in cold blood, you would find the closest drifter asleep on the sidewalk and stab him right in the windpipe.

What I’m saying here is, even though my wife has a fantastic beach body, she still complains about it. One incident in particular springs to mind: Remember that trip my wife and I took to the Spanish island of Mallorca? When we visited the city of Palma, had some drinks in the El Arenal district, and took the historical train to beautiful Port de Sóller? Well, on the very last day of that trip, we finally donned our bathing suits and got some real sunbathing done. We were on the beach southeast of Palma, lounging around in the sand and just generally burning the sweet merry hell out of our skin. (Oh God… our freakishly, blindingly white skin…) We were napping on our towels, and at one point I rolled over onto my side — accidentally mashing my wife’s thigh in the process — which caused her to shout:

“Ow! Ow! You are pressing my big meat!”

If you would like to read the full post about that trip, check out: German-American Couple Visits the Spanish Island of Mallorca