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There Must Be Order

In There Must Be Order

The Call

berlin train - soroush-karimi-crjPrExvShc-unsplash
Photo by Soroush Karimi on Unsplash

The following is the first chapter from an upcoming memoir on moving to and living in Germany. Read more here.

I was on the U-Bahn when the call came, somewhere between work at a refurbished factory space on the Spree and a gym in Mitte near Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin. I knew this call would be coming any day now over the past couple of weeks––any hour, really––and the stress was building up. A colleague of mine was teaching a spinning class and it sounded like a healthier remedy for blasting some of the stress out of my body than slurping down a few drams of whiskey. I could hide in the dark corner with my bike, put a pause on the outside world, and sweat out a healthy supply of anxiety for a brief reprieve before those inevitable reserves replenished with a fresh batch.

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In Europe/ There Must Be Order

“I Will Practice My English With You”

silhouette of a man in blacka nd white
Photo by Fortyozsteak on Unsplash

The following is a chapter from an upcoming memoir on moving to and living in Germany. Read more here.

It started out like so many pivotal scenes from a psychological thriller. The dim festival lighting, the crowds of unwitting drinkers enjoying themselves, the spitting rain on a chilly September night. Then, out of the shadows, the creepily cheery voice of a man who knows something you don’t.

“Hello.”

I was at a craft beer festival in Düsseldorf with my friend Chris at the time. We had just debated heading out for some food, having had more than our fair share of brews over the past three or so hours.

“Let’s go back to that one brewery with the guy from Tennessee and talk to him before we go,” suggested Chris. “He seemed like a cool guy.”

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In Europe/ There Must Be Order

The (Not So) Awful German Language

Image courtesy of Pixabay

The following is a chapter from an upcoming memoir on moving to and living in Germany. Read more here.

Mark Twain once penned an essay titled, “The Awful German Language” that originally appeared in his book A Tramp Abroad. The book takes place in the late 1870s shortly after the unification of Germany’s hodgepodge of kingdoms in 1871 by Otto von Bismarck, a frumpy Prussian man with an overhanging mustache, with the assistance of Kaiser Wilhelm I, another Prussian man but this time with a curly mustache and mutton chops that looked like a loofah.

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In Europe/ There Must Be Order

Reserved

Inside Hamburg German Train Station

The following is a chapter from an upcoming memoir on moving to and living in Germany. Read more here.

Germans take their reservations seriously. You’re a fool if you go out at night, expecting to just waltz in and grab a table at anything above a decent restaurant. Anyone who does so on a Friday or Saturday night is escorted out and sent immediately to solitary confinement at an asylum to think about what they did.

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In Essays/ Europe/ There Must Be Order

The Fancy Marriage Certificate

close up of hands with wedding rings
Photo by Rachael Crowe on Unsplash

The following is a chapter from an upcoming memoir on moving to and living in Germany. Read more here.

Melanie and I arrived early for our appointment with the German consulate in downtown Chicago. If we couldn’t meet German language expectations, we would at least hit the punctuality stereotype. We even had time to circle the block and grab a bagel before heading in. I know the German officials couldn’t see that, but I suppose I hoped for some karmic points.

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In Essays/ Europe/ There Must Be Order

Heimat: There’s No Place Like Home

Hiking In Germany Neckarsteig

The following is a chapter from an upcoming memoir on moving to and living in Germany. Read more here.

German is known for its long, confusing string of nouns mashed together like some kind of fusion dish gone wrong. Things start to click as you get on with the language, like a novice palate learning to appreciate the flavors of the aforementioned dish. But upon initial observation, it looks like nonsensical garble. An orgy of vowels and consonants pronounced like Hitler in the middle of one of his spasmodic speeches, his arms flailing about like a Looney Tunes villain.

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2 In Europe/ There Must Be Order

“We Are Human, Right?”: A Kurt Vonnegut-Inspired Tour of the Dresden Christmas Market

Disclaimer: I traveled as a guest of the German National Tourist Office and Visit Dresden. As always, all opinions are my own.

The following is a chapter from an upcoming memoir on moving to and living in Germany. Read more here.

Annual Christmas markets—Weihnachtsmärkte—are as much a staple of German culture as beer and sausages. Small wooden huts that look like enlarged toy Christmas cabins start to pop up in the town center and surrounding neighborhoods at the end of November with promises of all kinds of German delicacies, namely Glühwein (hot wine with spices), various sausages, Reibekuchen (a potato pancake), sweets, and decorative crafts that make for excellent Christmas presents when returning to the States for the holiday. Street musicians come out despite the cold, ice skating rinks are set up, and Germans eat up every second of this cultural tradition.

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