A taste of German Music – 2015 hits!

Have you ever wondered what radio sounds like in another country? Here in Germany, we’ve found that it’s actually pretty similar to the US. They have morning shows with ridiculous personalities, frequent news and traffic reports, and far too many commercials. When it comes to the music, the song selection is surprisingly (or not surprisingly) similar to the US, except with the addition of some curiously entertaining German-language songs. I’ve selected my favorite German tunes from the year to share with you below.

 

Wolker 4 (Cloud 4) by Philipp Ditberner and Marv

Let’s start with Craig’s favorite song, a catchy tune that he referred to as the “ganz allein” song because those were the only 2 words of the song that he could understand during his first few months spent in Germany.

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Christmas (market) time is here!

All over the world, people have started getting into the Christmas spirit. In Germany, especially, this is done through the festive Christmas Markets known as Weihnachtsmarkt, which coincide with the observation of Advent.

Essentially, you can think of a Christmas Market as a cross between a state fair (think fried foods and small carnival rides), an arts and crafts event (think hand-woven mittens and knick-knacks for your kitchen), a beer garden (that serves mostly warm wine and spiked cocoa), and a winter wonderland!

Not to be missed are the candied nuts and Glühwein (mulled wine). To be missed: my Christmas nemesis – Eierpunsch (egg punch) – which literally tastes like hot alcohol derived from egg, not the eggnog I was expecting.

nuts

Mmm candied nuts.

This past weekend Craig and I went to visit one of the top-rated Christmas Markets in the world in Cologne, Germany! Cologne has a ton to see  – with 7 markets in total – and definitely lives up to the hype. Continue reading

Celebrating the holidays away from home

Probably THE MOST challenging thing about moving abroad is realizing that you will inevitably miss out on some big events back home. I’ve been living in Leipzig for only 5 months, and I’ve already missed out on countless weddings, birthdays, holidays, and reunions. This week I was due to miss out on one of my favorite American holidays, Thanksgiving.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Thanksgiving is a secular holiday to gather together with family and express gratitude for what you have by stuffing your faces with a bountiful feast. While I did miss out on family time, and Craig had to work during the day, we were still able to celebrate in our own way by (me) preparing a mini-feast for a small gathering with friends.

Some of the classic Thanksgiving food items were hard to find in Germany, such as cranberry sauce (but who needs it anyway?), pecans (available, but ridiculously expensive), and canned pumpkin, but we made do with what was available and managed to pull off a hearty harvest-themed dinner.

What was on the menu? 

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Baking with Becky: Brownies!

Ever since I arrived in Germany, I have been very curious about products marketed as “American.” For instance, I’ve seen American dressing (I think it’s thousand island?), American peanut butter, American cookies, and American brownies. So I wondered, what is the German take on American foods?

To answer this question, I had to put on my apron.

I came across an innocuous box of brownies adorned with an American flag and decided to test for myself how American they tasted. DSC_0522

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The German movie experience

I have always loved going to the movies, and that hasn’t changed since moving to Germany. Luckily for me, many of the big-name Hollywood movies still make it to Leipzig, several even in the original English! This week they are playing “Die Tribute von Panem” otherwise known as Mockingjay Part 2! (Can you feel my excitement?) The bonus part is that the English-language movies never seem to be full, so there is always a seat, even on opening weekend!

Side note: if you live in Leipzig and want to know when and where these original showings are happening, pop on over to the Leipzig Glocal where every Wednesday they list English and other original language movie showings.

So what is the German movie experience like? 

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Getting a German driver’s license

(Blah, blah, Becky is boring. I want to try some driver’s test questions!)

The blog has been quiet these past couple months because our lives have been crazy-busy. Craig and I were both engrossed in our respective projects, each incredibly difficult. While I was working towards finishing my PhD work, he was struggling just as hard to make sense of the German driving rules in preparation for his written driver’s test (and the corresponding German bureaucracy surrounding it). It’s humorous to suggest that one would have to work as hard preparing for a driver’s test as writing a dissertation, but I assure you I am not being sarcastic.

First off, let’s discuss what it takes to get a driver’s license in Germany. As you may know, Craig has been driving throughout Germany for a few months already, and he was doing so legally. German law states that holders of US driver’s licenses may drive in Germany for up to 6 months, but must obtain a German license after that. As Craig’s 6 month grace period was set to expire, it was essential that he pass his driver’s test to acquire a valid license or build a teleportation device to get him to and from work.

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5 instances of reverse culture shock from my trip back to the US

After living in Germany for a little over 3 months, I recently traveled “home” to the US to defend my thesis (spoiler alert: I passed!). It was honestly a little bit strange going back after having largely adjusted to life in Leipzig. I took notice of things that were once completely ordinary to me. Call it reverse culture shock or maybe just a heightened cultural awareness, but here are the things that made me think twice:

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Home sweet Minneapolis. (That giant thing is the new Viking’s football stadium.)

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