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Kultur und Reisen Culture and Travel

Why You Should Stop Asking “Wie geht’s?” All the Time

stop asking wie gehts all the timeEs war einmal…that I called my German Landlord to ask to get something fixed in the apartment. Although I was in a fantastic mood that day, it only took about 20 seconds for that phone call to change my German speaking habits forever…here’s why:

Nicole: Hallo, Herr Müller!

Herr Müller: Hallo, Frau Warner!

Nicole: Wie geht’s Ihnen denn?

Herr Müller: Ach ja, wissen Sie, nicht so gut. Am Wochenende habe ich im Garten gearbeitet und etwas hat mich am Fuß gestochen! Die Stelle ist angeschwollen—es...

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Found at ALDI: Death & Life

Found at ALDI death and lifeIf you've been hanging around this blog for a while, which some of you have, you'll know how excited I get when it's German week at ALDI. Apparently it just was, but I missed it, as there was no more regular Frischkäse when I arrived, only the Meerrettich kind, which I don't like.Schade.

This week I did a huge Einkaufstour and went to ALDI and filled up the cart. Käse, Champignons, Paprika, Toilettenpapier, Taschentücher, Bratwürste--ich habe echt alles eingekauft.

When I reached the...

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Staycation = Urlaub auf Balkonien

Staycation Urlaub auf BalkonienAmericans take a staycation und die Deutschen machen Urlaub auf Balkonien!

Although Germans are legally entitled to a minimum of four weeks of vacation per year (many have five, and some six), not everyone takes off to the mountains, to another city, or to another country. Many Germans have Urlaub zu Hause, or more aptly put: Sie machen Urlaub auf Balkonien!

When you take the word "Balkon" and add the "-ien" ending to it, it sounds like the ending of places that you'd like to take a vacation...

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What's it like to Have German Health Insurance?

Whats it like to Have German Health InsuranceA lot of folks in the US ask me what German health insurance is like. As a former resident of Germany (2003 to 2008) and a participant in their public health insurance program (there is also a separate, private system, which I know nothing about) here are 7 differences I noticed:

1. It has a different name.

It’s not “health insurance.” It’s Krankenversicherung, or illness insurance. Krankenversicherung is a protection against financial devastation, it’s no guarantee you’re going to be...

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How to Live Like a German

How to Live Like a German.png

and make German a part of your everyday life.

Sometimes it amazes me how quickly people can pick up German words and sentence structure, even though they've never been to Germany and haven't learned German before. Clients come to a lesson and they have no idea what German bread tastes like, but they can talk about German breakfast: das Brot, die Marmelade, der Kaffee.

It can be a source of frustration, however, to learn German, but only to have all these North American elements around...

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12 Reasons to Visit Germany--Whether You Speak German or Not!

1. Experience the opposite of urban sprawl:12 Reasons to Visit Germany

Germany is about the size of the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin together and they have a population of around 82 million people. To contrast, in the US we have about 300 million on a huuuge plot of land, so it’s much more densely populated. Germany is growing in diversity, so you will likely run into folks of many different backgrounds.

2. Speak "Denglisch."

Most Germans, in particular in big cities like Hamburg, Bremen, Stuttgart, Munich,...

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Doing Business with Germans Part 2: What NOT to do!

Continuing in this series of doing business with Germans, here are 3 things to avoid when working with Germans--and what to do instead!Doing Business with Germans Part 2 what NOT to do

1. Do not use "du."

Germans are used to keeping their professional distance, which is a helpful benefit of using the formal you form "Sie." In the US Americans toss around "du" and use first names for practically everyone except school teachers. Even when you greet someone you've never met, say waitstaff at a restaurant, their nametag references their first...

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Doing Business with Germans Part 1

Doing business is one thing, doing business with folks in another country is another, and here are 3 tips to help you do better business with Germans.Doing Business with Germans Part 1

1. Remember proper greetings & salutations

Manners for greetings, whether in email or in-person, are not only polite, but a wonderful way to make your German guests feel welcome. Take time to learn a good hand-shake and remember to make polite inquiries about their trip to your office or to meet you.

Germans who have received cultural...

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Aufräumen ist nicht putzen!

Aufraeumen ist nicht putzenMany German learners want to know what "to clean" is. The verb "to clean" in German isputzen. However putzen is something very specific in German--it may not be what you think!

For Germans, putzen is the actual process of cleaning, and nothing else. Americans think of cleaning as vacuuming, putting away books that might be laying about, doing the laundry, and any other amount of things. Howeverputzen does not indicate that things are being picked up. This is something different entirely.

Most...

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Die Johannes-Passion von J. S. Bach

One of the pinnacles of German classical music culture is the Johannes-Passion from Johann Sebastian Bach. And since it is Lent, that means it is time for the Passion of Christ.

For those of you who don't know, I'm a professionally trained, classical musician, and I mix music and German teaching as my career. It's a wonderful combination of the foreign language of German and the language of Music, and when I get to sing in German, well, I get a little bit verklemmt. During my 5 years in...

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