I spoke with a very friendly woman from the Integration Office today. She informed me that not only am I eligible to take an integration course, I am obliged to take one! I have been in Germany for nearly five months, and this is the first time someone has told me this. (If only I had … Continue reading Integration Course: Time to Sign up!
So far, I have been pleasantly surprised at how many people are willing to speak English with me. They are far from obliged to speak a foreign language with a new resident; indeed, I feel like it is my responsibility to learn German. But my German is still limited, so I appreciate every interaction that … Continue reading Appointments & Interpreters
As a native Iowan, I am no stranger to friendly interactions with strangers. I grew up smiling at passersby on the sidewalk, chatting with cashiers at the store, and waving at everyone I saw while driving. (I picked up this last one from my dad, who grew up in rural Iowa. Apparently everyone else thinks … Continue reading Hello & Goodbye
We moved into our apartment on February 1, and for the past month we have been dealing with all the normal moving experiences: getting new furniture, organizing our stuff, meeting the neighbors, etc. We have also been dealing with some unexpected issues: having to empty the last tenants’ abandoned boxes and other junk out of … Continue reading Plumbing Nightmares
I should start by mentioning that the cash culture here in Germany still puzzles me. I find it terribly inconvenient to have to constantly run to the bank for more cash, and I am much better at tracking (and cutting back on) my expenses when I use plastic. I am the kind of person who … Continue reading Banking in Germany
It all began with the apartment owner’s fateful words: “I’m not sure if the building has cable; I think so.” I should have run for the hills. If there is one thing I absolutely need at home, it is an internet connection. Preferably a very, very fast one. At the time, however, that was the … Continue reading The Quest for the Internet
I tried baking cookies yesterday, but they fell flat. Literally. I had a recipe (from the US) for sugar cookies, and on my last trip to the grocery store I picked up some Natron (baking soda) and Backpulver (baking powder). I have already explained that baking powder here is different and thus tricky for baking US recipes. … Continue reading Adventures in Baking: Flat Cookies