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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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In Essays/ Travel

On Americans Traveling As Canadians

Americans Traveling As Canadians

Photo by AnneLaure Artaud, probably not an American traveling as a Canadian

In my years of travel, I’ve anecdotally noticed a disconcerting trend: Americans traveling as Canadians.

I’ll admit off the bat that I haven’t the slightest clue just how big of a trend this is. I suspect it’s small (hence I only have anecdotes to offer), but large enough that CNN and The Atlantic have covered the phenomena with the latter noting a Washington Times report on a company selling a “Going Canadian” kit so that Americans questions about politics during their vacation can say, “I’m on vacation. I don’t want to talk aboot it.” (The kit was reported on in 2004, during the thick of the Bush White House years, which likely had a thing or two to do with it.)

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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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In Essays

Greek Orthodox Easter and Elwood the Greekster Dragon

Let me begin with a simple explanation of what “Greekster” is, as I will be using it throughout for both convenience and because I believe the following holiday is worthy of its own shorthand unaffiliated with the more widely known version of Easter.

Greekster, as you might have guessed, is Greek Easter. My tendency is to combine words for convenience sake, but in this case it’s because Greek Easter is THE Easter, as I have been told and indoctrinated to believe, and should not be at all confused with what those other Christians celebrate in April.

Last night was the beginning of my first Greekster weekend, invited to join my patient and humoring Melanie with her family at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Rocky River, Ohio — NOT, mind you, Westlake. I’ve had that made to me abundantly clear in colorful language on more than one occasion.

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