Dec 262015
Happy Boxing Day!

Seasonal Stories For those not familiar with the tradition, Boxing Day is a British holiday celebrated on the day after Christmas. Origin stories vary, but the most commonly told one involves upper class families giving out gift boxes to their workmen on this day each year. Whatever the case, it is both a holiday and a big day for retail, apparently.  Just like in the US, After Christmas sales start today at most of the […]

Dec 162015
Culture Shock

What We Have Been Learning and Doing Alright, we have been here almost 2 months.  Long enough to get a feel for the place.  But far far from feeling like we know what we are doing!  If you are looking in terms of Big Strokes, living in SE London is very similar to life in the US.  You live in a house, go to work, go to school, have doctors and markets and all that […]

Oct 212015
Wandering Around Berlin

Yesterday we took a taxi to our appointment with the Visa Filing business.  They were remarkably unable to answer simple questions (we are not visa officers, we are not allowed to answer), but, we are fairly confident that we provided enough documentation for what we need, knock wood.  After that, we are pretty much just cooling our heels waiting to be approved.  So, why not enjoy the city a bit?  Honestly, I am still not […]

Oct 182015
Leveling up with some mini-bosses and a major quest

You know how when you are planning out a big project, you think about all the contingencies.  What if water buffalo stampede our camp site?  What if the Imperials intercept our droid and overrun our rebel base?  What if the baby grows a moustache and Santa can no longer recognize him?  You know all the silly stuff that almost never happens, but you should plan for anyways?  Yeah.  Our percentage is WAY up from the […]

May 152015
A Day Every Ex-Pat has Experienced

  One thing every second language learner figures out early on is that it is much easier to conduct a conversation when you understand the context and have a general idea what you are likely to be talking about.  When you go to the market, for instance, you are likely to be asked things like “Do you need a bag?”, “Did you find everything you needed?”, “Do you want your receipt?”, and, if you are […]

May 022015
Tonka Bean Bonanza

  Shortly after we arrived in Offenburg, I got some gourmet hot chocolate that boasted the flavor of “Tonkabohnen”, tonka beans. Never having heard of this spice, I immediately did some research. Tonka beans are a South American legume with similar chemical properties to vanilla. They also contain a naturally occurring substance called coumarin (not to be confused with Coumadin, which is a blood thinning medication derived from but not chemically equivalent to coumarin- see […]

Jan 262014
Karlesruhe Sojourn, a Perfekt Futur

For a work project, David has been making a trek up to the next big German city- Karlesruhe.  Each time he comes back and says “dang, I should have brought the camera”.  So, this time, he took the camera.  And here is what he saw: [Show as slideshow]

Aug 182013
Party Week- Emily and Niko Poland Bound

Sadly, two of my favorite Offenburg denizens are making a Big Move.  In the US, when someone takes a distant job it is likely to be in another state.  Here, with country-sizes shrunk a bit, a distant job is likely to take you to a different country.  Our friend Niko has taken a job in Warsaw! My Great-Grampa Englebert Kwasigroch (pronounced just like its spelled, quazi-grow, of course!) would surely approve.  And, yes, Warsaw is […]

Jul 202013
Its not just Clean, Its German Clean: Pavers

Germans are a very clean people.  No, they are a borderline insanely clean people.  We regularly see folks out scrubbing their front steps with a bucket and a scrub brush.  I once saw a woman sweeping hail off her front patio during a hail storm! Shop keepers get out wet brooms and scrub down the outside walls of their businesses.  And, yes, I will admit that I find all of this a wee bit intimidating! […]