Monthly Archives: November 2011

a BossHoss Thanksgiving

Whenever possible, I like to let Kelly document/blog about my expat life. Mostly because she has a better camera, and also she’s just about as witty/eloquent as I am so you would barely notice the difference anyway (possibly even wittier).

She was kind enough to invite me to her Frankfurt Thanksgiving celebration this year, for which I was thankful (hah) as I do not know any Americans in Cologne yet that I would enjoy spending a national holiday with. We felt particularly Pilgrim-ish (well, I did anyway) in that we cooked a lot more things (well, Kelly did, I was in more of a supervisory/taste-tester role) from scratch than most Thanksgivings generally require.

While we may not have had to hike up a mountain or eat mystery foods as a result of a German translation of Thanksgiving (as we did on our first Thanksgiving together many moons ago) we did discover Corn Snack, purchase a kilo of purple heirloom beans, and discover that Cream of Mushroom soup can easily be made without the aid of Campbells.

Here are the pictures I came away from the weekend with.

Corn Snack (not its actual name)

turns out you can roast a pumpkin to make pumpkin puree... another food that doesn't have to come from a can!

the beans


thanksgiving: teil eins

For the third time in six years, I found myself in Germany on Thanksgiving. Additionally, I spent all day sitting at a desk, not lounging around the house in my PJs until my mom made me ‘put real clothes on’ (overrated). While my Facebook feed was blowing up with updates about turkey and cranberry sauce, I was scanning through CVs (and watching the Macy’s parade via live stream…)

By the end of the day (6:30pm) I was ready to crawl into bed and sleep my Thanksgiving-less woes away. If not for my broken shower curtain, I would not have stopped at Kaufland and come out with:

  • Turkey breast
  • Green beans (with bacon!)
  • Corn
  • Mashed potatoes (instant)
  • Chocolate chip cookies
  • a 2€ bottle of bordeaux

Despite my greatest attempts to pretend that it was not an American holiday, and wait until my Thanksgiving dinner with Kelly and friends on Sunday, I  caved and had one by myself. With leftovers for today.

And then I Skyped my family after thoroughly enjoying that bottle of French wine. C’est la vie.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Turkey got a little burnt but it was still pretty good.

it’s the most wonderful time of the year

Yesterday marked the first day of Christmas Market season here in Cologne! After discovering this fact towards the end of the workday, I decided that it was imperative that I visit one immediately upon my arrival in the city center.

However, after having not eaten since lunch, the last thing I needed was a hot cup of Glühwein, which I would quickly grow tired of and need to chug in order to move on with my evening.

Try not to get nauseous looking at the painstakingly-planned photography… aka taking a photo with my cell phone, one-handedly, while holding the remains of my wine in the other hand and rapidly becoming more tipsy than is acceptable when alone on a Monday at 7pm.

As you can see there were lights, and red and green things, and of course there was a variety of handicrafts… all of which I had no interest in as the tipsiness set in and my sights set on such delights as fried mushrooms with garlic sauce, Spekulatius cookies shaped like the Dom, and even the fried fish sandwiches Germans seem to be so fond of.

Luckily, I was able to get myself out of there in time to not stuff my face with fried delights. Maybe next time.

I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address

If this is late November in Cologne… I’ll take it.

Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

In my effort to improve my daily German skills, I have started taking note of the various signs posted around my workplace. Now that I’m actually attempting to read them, I’ve found that most of them are little jingles about what to do and/or not do. (the English translation never rhymes). There’s a poem about not leaving water in the kettle after you’re done with it, and one about keeping the bathroom neat. But the latest one in the ladies’ room on the 2nd floor of building K9 has really got me confused.

click to embiggen... you may or may not be glad you did.

1) Yes, those letters that go across the entirety of the top of the page is one German word. Something to the effect of ‘instructions on how to use a toilet brush’.

2) From left to right, the captions say ‘really wrong’ ‘wrong’ ‘almost right’ ‘correct’

3) This sign raises more concerns than it answers. Are German women really not sure how to use a toilet brush? Or is the German cleaning team not confident that the foreigners who work on this floor know how to use one?

God bless Germany.


This past weekend I packed up my trusty Jansport and headed to visit my friend Maren for the weekend in my favorite German state. As a real German and not just an expat, she lives in a real apartment (with more than one room!) and owns a car, so obviously I was headed for a weekend of adventure.

any city looks cool from above

Saturday we met up with some friends from school, and between cafe’s we made it to the top of the Hauptbahnhof (via elevator) to get a view of Stuttgart from above.

After a night at Esslingen’s newest and hottest nightclub (or so some of its patrons thought when getting dressed for the evening) we spent Sunday afternoon at a pumpkin festival at a palace outside of Stuttgart, where luckily I was able to purchase some roasted pumpkin seeds to replace the ones I tried (and failed) to make myself sans oven.

what was left of the world's largest pumpkin by the time we got there

sometimes Germans can have a sense of humor

we’ll raise up our glasses against evil forces

In some parts of America, you will be hard-pressed to find a country music fan.

Outside of America, you would imagine that lovers of cowboy boots and bolo ties would be even more rare.

Not Monday night in Cologne. And I’m not talking about a scenario where every American for miles around came for this concert. I didn’t hear a single American aside from Toby Keith all night.

Despite the fact that clearly my phone takes the world’s worst pictures (especially while trying to take them with a beer in one hand and simultaneously singing along), you can clearly see the outlines of cowboy hats.

You can’t see (but I promise there were) hundreds of pairs of cowboy boots and more than one shirt like the following:

That’s stars on the right sleeve, stripes on the left sleeve.

Despite the fact that Toby didn’t sing Courtesy of the Red White and Blue (though I guess the excitement would have been lost on this crowd anyway) I had a rowdy time by myself in the back corner, singing along and trying to decide if the guy I was standing next to actually was Garth Brooks.