Tag Archives: Oregon

Visiting Portland, Oregon: An American Expat and His German Wife Return to the States for Spring Break


Welcome to Portland: City of beer, beards and reefer buds.

My wife is a smokin’ hot, full-blooded German woman with a killer smile and a wildly unpredictable sense of humor. I am an American expat built from the lesser parts of cyborg nerds and dragon jockeys. Together, we live in Hannover, Germany, and this blog is an ongoing account of our shared misadventures.

Now, we hadn’t visited my hometown of Portland, Oregon, since late 2013, so it was a pretty big deal for us to see our friends and family members this year. What follows is a picture gallery depicting our trip from beginning to end, complete with an epic pub crawl, a visit to the very site where I asked my wife to marry me, and everything else which makes me proud to call myself a Portlander. Or a Portlandite. Portlandian? Portlandonian! I COME FROM THE LAND OF PORTS.

 Click one of the thumbnails below to start the slideshow and read the captions:



If you would like to read another post regarding my hometown, check this one out: My German Wife’s First Encounter with ‘Kitchen Kaboodle’ in Portland, Oregon

My German Wife’s First Encounter with ‘Kitchen Kaboodle’ in Portland, Oregon


“That spoon costs $25? BAW HAW HAW HAW HAW! Oh, you’re serious…” — Photo by Thomas (http://www.flickr.com/photos/_-o-_/)

Shortly after we were married, The Wife and I opened our wedding presents and were immediately shocked into generosity-comas. We were very grateful for the gifts we received from our friends and family members, especially because we were about to move to Germany and start a new life there. We needed all the help we could get. But before we left the States, we had to make use of the gifts we would not be able to use in Germany, like the $50 gift certificate we received to Kitchen Kaboodle.

Kitchen Kaboodle is a locally-owned kitchen, furniture and bath store with five locations in Portland, Oregon. It’s actually very well known for its wide selection of quality products, all of which are so far beyond our budget they’re practically in orbit. The word ‘kaboodle’ comes from the expression, “the whole kit and caboodle,” which can be interpreted to mean, “everything and more.” It’s a funny sounding name, so you can imagine my German wife asking me, as we parked our car and crossed NW 23rd…

THE WIFE: “So what do they sell there at Kitchen Kah-Doo-Del?”

Culture Shock 11: American Man Blindsided by Spring Allergies in Hannover, Germany

bee covered in pollen in a flower

Welcome to Germany, where noses run like rivers and the sneezes are free. — Photo by Lennart Tange (http://www.flickr.com/photos/lennartt/)

I have always suffered from hay fever. Every spring, between May and July, my allergies go nuts. And I’m from Portland, Oregon, mind you, which resides in the valley between the Cascade Mountain Range and the Pacific Coast Mountains like a breakfast bowl full of pollen spores.

Portlanders know all about seasonal allergies. My friend Looney Tunes moved to Portland just a few years ago and said, “I thought I was going to die.” That’s how hard our pollen count schooled him. It took him to school and fed him crackers.

My other friend, who I will call “Midnight in Wyoming,” moved to Portland and said of his resulting allergy attacks, “I wanted to shoot myself in the head.” (I’m not sure we can take this seriously, however, coming from a man who dances the Electric Slide.)

As a native Oregonian, I’m accustomed to allergy attacks. They are an annual norm for me, but I thought things might be different in Germany. Perhaps the trees will be different there, I thought. Maybe the flowers and grasses will make a kinder, gentler brand of pollen. Oh no, they have the same shit over here, and it’s working me over like it hates me. Like I slept with its mother… Ivanna Sneezeonyourwiener.

sneezing picture

“Achoo!” “Oh dear, Gesund–” “ACHOO!!!”– Photo by Inf-Lite Teacher (http://www.flickr.com/photos/87328375@N06/)

Holy mother of Joseph, I wake up feeling like hell every morning; my eyelids fused together with tears and eyeball honey. My throat is so itchy I feel like I swallowed a blond-haired, blue-eyed hairball. I sneeze like 15 times before my Earl Grey is done steeping (and yes, I put milk in it like a total fruitcake. Whatever man. I’m 1/4 English).

What in the hell, Germany. Clearly you do not respect my generic, Costco-purchased Claritin. I brought this shit all the way from the States, where we don’t have to talk to a pharmacist to buy a bottle of NyQuil. Where we enjoy so much freedom we can buy DayQuil and NyQuil and take them both at the same time.

Anybody else gettin’ nailed by allergies right now? What’s a red-blooded American supposed to do against pollen spores the size of soccer balls? Why am I mixing metaphors like an inebriated Irishman? Oh, hello beer stein full of sweet, golden Pilsner — why yes, you are just the medicine I was looking for.

And now, Dear Reader, I would like to invite you to watch this video I made. It’s a rapid-fire compilation of my sneezes over the past week. I only managed to record about half of them, since sneeze attacks come on super fast and my iPhone takes forever to switch into video mode, but here they are, in all their eye-watering, head-pounding, snot-rocketing glory. (Warning: video contains minor swearing.)

Click here to learn more about the term “Culture Shock.”

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