German recycling

THE GERMAN RECYCLING SYSTEM EXPLAINED – SEPARATE YOUR TRASH LIKE A NATIVE

What do the deadly sins, my trash cans, and Snow White’s dwarfs have in common? Hint: it’s not their reeky odor. It’s their total. Yes, I do indeed have seven bins set up in my home. They’re for paper, yellow bag/recycling, bio, Restmüll, Pfand, batteries, and cans – the latter being redundant as I found out two hours into researching this article. But oh well… more on that later. I have received quite a few calls for help and I know sussing out the German recycling system is more labyrinthine than doing your taxes by yourself in a foreign language...

Featured Images Guide to German Du vs Sie

YOUR ULTIMATE GUIDE TO GERMAN DU VS. SIE

Just a few weeks ago, I (36) instantly felt both flattered and disrespected, when some youngster in his late teens addressed me with Du instead of Sie. I mulled over it for a while and ended up mostly puzzled by my inability to decide which one of those feelings was even valid. Had he used Sie, I’m sure I still would have been slightly insulted. The poor kid simply couldn’t win. Luckily, in many situations, it’s a lot easier to pick the correct pronoun. Read on, to learn how. Also make sure to check out my post on Six Greetings...

yellowjackets

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT YELLOWJACKETS AND HOW TO AVOID GETTING STUNG

Yellowjackets can BEE quite the BUZZkill during summer in Germany! Get it? From age seven until 19, I used to go on week-long camping trips each year in August. At mealtime, I meticulously maneuvered my fork and knife around an average of five wasps that were simultaneously clambering all over my food, on a daily basis. I also rescued countless ones from drowning in my cup. Guess how many times I got stung over the years? Once. Because I accidentally stepped on one. So, while these little critters are quite pesty in the summer, there sure are ways to prevent...

traditional Bavarian clothing

THIS TITCHY DETAIL ON A TRADITIONAL BAVARIAN DRESS MAY HELP YOU MEET YOUR SOULMATE – OR REPEL THE SLEAZEBALLS

Throw in the sponge Tinder, Christian Mingle, and OkCupid – here comes *drumroll* clothing! Granted, compared to apps or dating sites, this approach to attracting potential mates is no spring chicken, but deep down we all know that appearing as alluring as possible still works like a charm. The southern German traditional costume has kicked it up a notch, by adding a little detail that makes wearing a wedding ring obsolete and is more easily visible than a twinkling rock on someone’s finger. Along with a blouse, Bavarian dresses, called Dirndl, come with an apron that gets tied in different...

Featured image German castles

TEN MUST-SEE GERMAN CASTLES ALONG WITH THE BEST BEER GARDENS CLOSE BY

Nicolas Cage once owned a castle close to my German birthplace but got rid of it again after only three years. Maybe it was too much of a fixer-upper to tackle while simultaneously VIPing. The takeaway: Treat historic structures the same as you would adorable puppies. Look at them, maybe touch and play with them and then hightail it out of there before they get a chance to grow into adult Great Danes requiring 89 Dollars’ worth of food daily along with weekly renovations of your living room. To help with this, I have piled up a list of ten...

German streetfood featured image

YOU ONLY NEED FOUR INGREDIENTS TO RECREATE THIS POPULAR GERMAN STREET FOOD AT HOME

You can probably tell by the surprisingly trivial amount of scrolling you have to do to reach the recipe: I am not a food blogger. If you’re looking for intricate meals that take seven hours to concoct and force you to dish out some serious dough to buy 27 elusive ingredients from the Russian, Peruvian, and Samoan store, google “quick and easy family dinners”.   If instead, you’re aiming for simple, authentic, and delicious German cuisine, continue reading. You’ve come to the right place! LET’S WATCH OUR STEPS Will the internet burn to a crisp, if I blog this recipe...

Pfand bottles featured image

YOUR ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE GERMAN PFAND BOTTLE SYSTEM

Wanna know the secret behind how Germans can tell which bottles are returnable for Pfand and which ones aren’t? They haul the entire mound of empties they have accumulated in their house over the past six months to Kaufland at ten am on a Saturday, wait in line for 37 minutes, and then jostle them into the machine, one by one, hoping for the best. Whichever one gets burped back up is not a Pfand bottle – or at least can’t be returned at that specific store. Is there a better way to tell which ones are returnable? Sure. But...

featured image german checkout process

EIGHT ESSENTIAL TRICKS TO MASTER ANY GROCERY CHECKOUT PROCESS IN GERMANY LIKE A NATIVE

When I was checking out at a US grocery store for the first time, I snatched everything from underneath the bagger’s nose and hurled it back into my cart as if my life depended on it. I like to think the looks I was getting were due to people being in awe of my nimbleness. Grasping on to that belief helps me overcome the delayed feeling of utter humiliation, I suffered about a day later when I realized my mistake. I hope your first grocery haul in Germany was less cringey – however, don’t fret if it wasn’t: I’ve got...

featured image German greetings

SIX GREETINGS THAT ARE ESSENTIAL TO KNOW IF YOU’RE LIVING IN GERMANY

What’s worse than bearing false witness against your neighbor? Not greeting your neighbor. At least in Germany. It’s part of our unwritten additional seven deadly sins, along with mowing your lawn during quiet hours and jaywalking. So be pious and greet as if your life depended on it – several times a day, if need be.   Read on to learn the six greetings that are essential to know, so you can master any situation – formal or informal – like a true native. RISE AND SHINE – GUTEN MORGEN Just like its English equivalent, it can be used in...

Facts about the German Autobahn featured image

SIX FACTS YOU WISH YOU HAD KNOWN BEFORE BRAVING THE GERMAN AUTOBAHN FOR THE FIRST TIME

“Wow, you live in Germany? Have you ever driven on the Autobahn?” Sound familiar? Many foreigners seem to view that place as some magical, elusive, amusement-park-type venue that people go to, so they can put the pedal to the metal for an hour and idle away some time. If you thought so too, I’m sorry for the disenchantment but it’s just a regular motorway and, rather than to race, most people simply use it to irritatedly twiddle their thumbs while stewing in traffic for hours each day until they clock in late. About 70% of the German Autobahn doesn’t have...