Training the youth of Germany

Honestly, I can just walk down the street and find examples of how different Germans are, and in this case, their kids.

The children are not like kids at home and thank god because I know plenty of American kids that would benefit from a good slap on the ass.

These kids, though, are quiet and I barely see them and they don’t play in the streets or scream or swear or act generally disrespectful, primarily I suspect because they have been warned and their lives have been threatened. And man, can they walk in a straight line during their lunchtime. Orderly kids, I like it.

I have to laugh at the extremes though. Here is a perfect example, which I ran into today while the Mr. and I were out walking Moxie.

Seems harmless, right? It was nice out today, really warm and sometimes sunny. You’d think to yourself, hmm, maybe they don’t have a pool and she’s splashing around water in a bucket for fun.

Except splashing water around in a bucket for no reason is breaking the law here. I think it’s Law 87456 in the Official Book of German Laws of Life (which I know exists and I will find it).

So I get closer and I want to somehow get behind her and make some face like, Hmm this situation is so German, so I try to have Mr. H take the picture but he’s all, “I am not taking a picture of a small girl I don’t know in front of her house in Germany,” which is completely understandable because penalty for that is certainly death by Frau. Magenta hairs everywhere would unite over that and kill him on the street like a pedo.

So instead I passed her and then turned back and took a picture of her. Take a close look and see if you can see what she’s doing.

That bucket and that broom are not child-sized and they are not toys.

Sidewalk chalk. After drawing flowers and a sun on the sidewalk, she was given a bucket and a broom, both adult sized, to clean up the mess. I watched her clean for ten minutes.

Did she look phased, though? No. Because she knows. She knows that if “Thou shalt clean up your pretty chalk mess when done with it” falls in The Book somewhere, then thou shalt soap and water it when done drawing.


Take Your Child to Work Day

A notice came into my mailbox yesterday that today was Take Your Child To Work Day, and it instantly made me sad and somewhat irrational and I hit delete angrily.

Instantly, I was seven years old again and found myself sitting in my father’s office and I don’t know why I was whisked there yesterday but for one minute I was back there and I was with him and I knew the moment, like all of the moments in the past five years, was about to disappear and then it did and it left me feeling empty.

I don’t often wish to be seven again, but I would have stayed seven yesterday for an entire day if it meant I was back at Take Your Child To Work Day, some time in the late 80s, when I still thought the President was like a movie star, a dollar was worth something and all I needed were gum balls.

It was actually the smell of the gum balls that hit me first yesterday.

There were three candy dispensers outside in the hall in my father’s building, a lighting company in New Hampshire, a company where I suppose he did sales because that would make sense but I really couldn’t tell you. All I knew at the time is that he had a desk and lots of pens and pictures of me and my sister and a great big calendar for your desk that also could be used as a notepad and I imagine this is where my obsession with desk calendars began.

The three candy dispensers in the hall were the source of hours of entertainment for us some days. We’d run our grubby fingers all over the red bottoms, flicking the top of the gumball slide open over and over again. We counted the gum balls and tried to guess what our next color would be and where we could find change. We’d never pay attention to the peanut dispenser or even the M&M dispenser, that one uninteresting because the M&Ms appeared to be three years old minimum and tiny chocolate candies never beat out giant flourescent gum balls.

There was a warehouse in the back of the store and sometimes we’d follow him up and down the aisles looking for cables or wires or lightbulbs marked with a series of numbers and letters that we were able to help look for. I remember the concrete floors were always cold and the shelves seemed to go up and up and up and it smelled like my Meme’s basement, which I kind of liked.

Sometimes we’d sit in the hall and flick the light switches on and off and on again, until we were told to stop and then when no one was looking, we’d do it again for good measure. Sometimes we’d stand against the wall or sit on the floor of the light bulb show room, watching the business people or husbands come in, looking for just the right fixture. Other times we’d wander down to the break room and stare at the machine that shot out soda cans and sometimes we’d have one, if the nice lady down the hall, was it Denise or Sheila or Diane or Carla, I can’t remember, if she gave us change. When she wasn’t dispensing change, she was smacking her gum and checking her feathered bangs, asking us about imaginary boyfriends and asking questions about school. She wore lipstick and her feathered bangs were mesmerizing.

I can remember sitting on his lap and staring at my own face in the picture frame on the corner of his desk. He wore light blue dress shirts from Sears and his hair was still brown then, his mustache of porn star quality. I’d lean against his chest if he took a call and take in the mix of Irish spring soap and Old Spice cologne. Heather Smith, Heather Smith, Heather and Katie Smith, I’d write in cursive on the yellow memo pad with one of his pens, over and over again to pass the time.

I remember running my fingers over the pretty manilla folders that were held in the cold and grey filing cabinets, on the one day of the year I got to file the papers. I’d open and close the heavy drawers, pretending to run the office, and mess with the paper clips that I never attached to anything, except each other, if I was up for making a paper clip necklace.

I remember my father telling me during each visit to never end up working in a place like that, one where you have to answer to people who you’ll never make happy. “You’re smarter than that,” he’d say firmly, even though I was seven and I’m sure I wasn’t expressing the greatest of potential at the time.

At the close of each visit, on the way out the door, one of us got to push the time cards into the machine that bit holes into the paper and the other got to get the gum balls. As I waited to see what lucky gum ball Katie had scored for me, I silently wished for green over and over and over again.

Today I’m silently wishing that all the kids working with their parents today will one day grow up and appreciate such seemingly meaningless days while they’re living them.

Fishnets: Not just for sluts?

I’m not sure if I’m either living in a different world or if today is opposite day but I just walked down the hall to get a soda and on my way back, passed an older looking gentleman from the Navy, in uniform, that smiled and said hello when he passed.

Just after I passed him, having said hello and how are you back, I kept walking until I heard him stop and say,

“Excuse me. I just have to say something.” I stopped, and quickly wondered what was coming next.

“Sure.” I offered, not sure I wanted to hear what unsolicited advice or commentary was about to come next.

“Can I just tell you how nice it is to see a lady walk around without holes in her stockings?”

I stared at him blankly, wondering if he was fucking with me.

“Girls these days walk around with holes in their nylons. Holes everywhere. Big holes.”
He stuck his finger in his mouth like he was going to shove it down his throat and made a gagging noise. He was in his 60s I’d guess, though I’ve never been a whiz on guessing ages, and I wondered if he knew that was not the universal sign for gross anymore.

I also wondered if I should tell him I was wearing tights, not nylons, because I hate nylons and their judgy and restrictive elastic waist unforgiving bullshit bands and their shine and while I am still on good terms with tights when the weather calls for it, nylons and I are not friends nor will we ever be friends. Ever.

“Oh, you mean really young girls. Like high school. I think they think that’s fashion,” I offered. Ripped nylons to me has nothing meant more than clumsy execution, though I know to guys it means rough and rapey Eastern European porno sex.

Seriously. Guys see ripped nylons, or maybe fishnets, and instantly think they’re going to screw some girl named Svetlana who wears fur and red lipstick and resides in Belgrade. I swear to God, men are too predictable sometimes.

I laughed about the irony of the situation I was in and said, “I think those girls don’t realize that as we get older,” I could hear myself relating to a middle aged man which means I am getting old and judgy, “we relate ripped nylons to prostitutes, not fashion.”

Jesus, did I really just have to refer to whores in a one minute conversation that I think was meant only to compliment me?

“You are right. In any case, it’s nice to see someone dressed appropriately.” And with that, he walked off.

I waited until he rounded the corner to look down at myself, just in case the tights I pulled on this morning had magically changed somewhere between my desk and the soda machine down the hall.

No one or two holes. Like a hundred of them.

Nope. Didn’t change.

God. I am so confused.

Why Germans think Americans are mental

Normally when we play my game of Germans v. Americans, we battle back and forth and they win sometimes and we win sometimes. Typically, though, this has to do with who has better road signs (Germans), food (Americans), rules (too complicated), etc. Stuff that only I probably find important and also, no one even knows there’s a battle except me, so there’s that.

There are times, though, that I realize we must be a very confusing group of people, especially when we speak in slang or idioms. Last night I was watching videos with friends and OHMYGOD, these videos alone explain some of the differences in American AND German culture better than I ever could.

God, Germans are so damned funny sometimes. Please sit back and enjoy a taste of what I live through Welcome to Fatherland, friends.

Shooting fish in a barrel.

Haaaaa. Where do I get a barrel? This is 2011 now. Maybe if I was living in whiskey distributing place. I love how angry he is. Haaaaaaaaaaa.

Happy as a clam.

I’ll tell you what is what. A clam is not happy. And how many windows is the clam having? No windows.

Daddy Long Legs.

You know I do not like daddy long legs. That is not a spider. That is not like grass hopping. Does it have a head? NO. Does it have a thorax? No. hahaha.

Balls to the Walls.

This is not effective. If there’s nothing Germans hate more is when there is an efficiency fail in life. If they are nothing else, they are the world’s most efficient people ever to have ever walked this planet. Oh god, I’ve watched these videos 4 times now and I am dying over here.

If that doesn’t make you laugh, please let me know so I can unfriend you and judge you.

**Special thanks to Sandy for giving me someone to quote for the rest of the week. 😉

German women and their lovely magenta hair

I’m just going to get right to the problem here and then tell the story that goes along with it after.

Middle aged German women cannot get enough of dying their hair magenta. I personally think it’s some sort of crisis, a real world issue that should be addressed but then again, I’m not going to be the idiot that approaches an angry frau in the cereal isle and ask her what brought her to such a charming personal beauty decision. Also, I think that the more purple the hair is, the blacker the soul and I’ll be honest. There’s a lot of really dark purple and magenta hair strolling the streets of the Fatherland. It’s like an epidemic.

C’mon, FRAUEN. You CANNOT possibly find magenta hair attractive. Not only is your hair color choice aggressive and revolting, the hair styles are a mess. A real live, what the hell in on top of your head and why is it making my eyes hurt, MESS.

So here’s why I’m carrying on about this today. I have a friend who lived here but recently had to move back home and so we were talking the other day about life and she seemed to miss The Fatherland and so I asked her if I should send her a care package.

“What can I send from Germany to cheer you up? Something evil, something angry, a book of rules? What?” I’m sure I could walk down to the shop and find something angry looking and then also include a pack of freeze dried meat. That would probably do the trick.

“Yes, all that. And a box of magenta hair dye. That would be perfect.” When she said magenta, her voice lifted.

“Done. Oh, WAIT. I will do you one better. I have a brilliant idea. What if I bought a wig, a magenta wig, and brought it with me on all of my trips? What if I kept it in my car? What if everywhere in the world that I go to from now on, I bring it with me and take a picture of myself in it, especially in front of monuments and historical buildings and things of beauty?” I was almost shrieking in my head as I furiously typed out the idea. I am so smart sometimes.

“Ohmygod PLEASE DO. That would be amazing.” Now she was excited and we agreed that every other person that has ever met an angry German frau over the age of say, mmmm 40, would be excited about this project, too. 40 seems to be the turning point for the hair.

“Yes, yes. Of course it would. It could be a monthly blog feature just for you. We shall call it, WHERE IN THE WORLD IS FRAU HOPKINS??”

Frau Hopkins would be angry and bitter and have hair like a bird’s nest. She would also have a look of disgust constantly, as though she just sucked on a lemon, whether posing in front of the White House or a baby panda or the world’s most beautiful waterfall. Nothing would ever be good enough for Frau Hopkins and her evilest of eyes would be proof.

Whew. Sorry. I got a bit carried away with my Frau personality. Not sure how that happened…

Anyway. My friend and I both laughed hard from different sides of the ocean and agreed upon our newest idea. So. I ordered a wig and hopefully it’ll be here before June. I have a nice summer planned and I hope to be able to moonlight as Frau Hopkins once in a while.

First, here are the wigs. This first wig is the one I ordered. The color might be slightly too light, but the hairstyle is pretty good. If I have to, I can re-dye it myself with a box of magic from the local store. I’ll even let a neighbor pick the shade for me.

I actually only picked this one because it's called "Bad Girl"

This second wig is just amazing. I there are at least 4 women on my street with this particular look.

Such a lovely bunch.

If you have never been to Germany or can’t quite picture what I’m talking about, here are a few pics of me as Frau Hopkins from past trips.

Now for the test run of, WHERE IN THE WORLD IS FRAU HOPKINS

First up, we have Frau Hopkins enjoying the scenery in a local village in Germany. The Frau loves to hike and enjoy the nice weather on the weekends.

Don't confuse smiling with happiness.

Next, here is a picture of visiting The Louvre.

Frau Hopkins is only smiling because a child is trying to kill a duck.

Next, we have Frau Hopkins making an appearance at my sister’s wedding last year. It’s a black and white, though, but you can tell how dark the purple is.

Yes, I spend 94% of my time judging the rest of the world.

And now for the finale. Here is Frau Hopkins in Salzburg. What was supposed to be a nice winters day was ruined by a disgusting batch of chesnuts. Jesus, chesnuts are the WORST.

Chesnuts shouldn't even be called a nut. They are liking eating fucking dirt.

Just kidding. Frau Hopkins isn’t frowning because of the chesnuts. She’s frowning because that’s what FRAUEN do. They frown and they love magenta.

And that, friends, is your German lesson of the day.

Things to do in Germany 2012

Time to do a post about living in Germany for a few reasons:

1. Last night I started making a list of things Kyle and Bryan should do for day trips this summer WHEN THEY MOVE HERE in June. Yes, they are really coming and will really need inexpensive and fun things to do weekly as they adjust. Can we say CASTLE TOUR?

2. I just found that there is a whole group of Expat bloggers living in Germany and they all know of each other. I feel left out/excited to hopefully meet them and share ideas and stories…

3. Get THIS. The Germans fall number two only to Americans in reading my blog. How did THAT happen? They overtook the UK, France and the Italians in the matter of a month.

What are you trying to tell me, Germany? You’re keeping an eye out? Well, well. I rise to your challenge.

So, in considering German challenges, lately, I realized I’ve fallen behind on doing the things I said I’d do in my own country Germany. I think I got caught up in the appeal of hitting every other country outside of Germany because, well, Austria, France, Switzerland and Italy are all under four hours from me while driving and sometimes you just have to get out of the Fatherland for a weekend.

Also, why does Germany get to be The Fatherland? Does every country get to call itself The Fatherland? I suppose if I were a country, I too would like to be called something as creepy and aggressive as The Fatherland, but I am not a country. I hope I don’t find out any country can call itself a Fatherland because then jesus, the whole title loses its power.

Sorry. I got sidetracked.

So this book I have. You know the one, 1000 Things You Must Do or See or Experience or Ruin before you Die? Yeah, that one. I previewed it and came up with a list of ten things I’m going try to do and as soon as possible, just in case I want to add more to the list.

Ten New Things to Do, See or Experience in The Fatherland.

10. Never visit Neuschwanstein castle again. No offense, King Ludwig, but I have been there too many times and to be really honest, you only finished 7 of the rooms before you were murdered and I actually think the views and the foot bridge are prettier than the actual castle. That being said, everyone should see it once but I don’t want to go there anymore.
9. Buy a new retro dirndl at the flohmarket this weekend. I have been told that while the retro ones aren’t as revealing on top, they are lots of fun and show more leg. I think the solution to this problem is just to not wear the white top. Problem solved.
8. Eltz Castle. Sometimes you hear yourself tell someone visiting, JESUS, if you’ve seen one German castle, you’ve seen them all. But this isn’t true. This one is in the middle of a dense forest. I like the sound of that.
7. Hamburg. Do a proper tour through Hamburg for the seafood, to be on the water and because let’s be honest, I never turn down a walking tour through a good red light district. Working ladies amaze me.
6. Dance on top of a fest table during Oktoberfest in Munich this year. I’ve only ever been to Volksfest, which is enough fun, but this year is the year I’ll make it to the real deal.
5. Visit Checkpoint Charlie WHILE drinking a Dunkin Donuts hazelnut iced coffee. No lie, Berlin sells DD. Bonus of talking to other Expats, you can find iced coffee.
4. Finally take the burning of the castles/Rhine boat tour this August.
3. Make a black forest cake while wearing a dirndl. Seems pretty normal.
2. Attend a football game. Doesn’t matter where or when, I just want to finally do it. And maybe if you’re all lucky, I’ll really get into it and paint my face and learn more swears to yell. But wait. Somehow I highly doubt face painting for the purposes of team sports is considered cute in this country. Let’s consult Google. “Do Germans support face painting?” Google wrote back: WHAT IN THE HELL DO YOU THINK? Bitch, please.
1. Spend some time in Bonn. Not only do I hear that its quite charming, but I need to somehow get family records from when my dad’s side lived in Bonn and we moonlighted as Schmidt. Now that can’t be hard, right? Can’t be too many Schmidts in Germany….right?

So. That’s my list.

Also, I do know I promised something having to do with magenta haired wenches but that post requires photoshop skills and we all know that takes time. Maybe tomorrow.

Why I belong in a cage

I’ve tried posting about four different times now on four different days but then get sidetracked and so I’ve deleted all of the posts and we’re starting over and today you’re just going to get an update and a picture of me making one of the many stupid faces I make daily. I apologize in advance for disappointing.

This weekend I was sick. The short story is that I spent about 56 hours on my couch almost giving myself bed sores by napping, movie watching and staring at walls because I felt like the cold medicine was making me hallucinate. I was very, very ugly and snotty and I feel much better. Thank you for asking.

Last night I attended a festive birthday dinner with some of my Stuttgart faves and my friend took this very charming pic of me, which is further proof that I should be kept in a cage and not be allowed in public.


For the record, I was not prepared for this picture, which is why I’m pulling crumbs out of my shirt and why there’s frosting on my face.

For the record, no offense Germany but you ARE AWFUL AT CUPCAKE MAKING.

That should be a whole other post but I’m just going to state for the record, while Germans can make the fuck out of some schnitzel, it would absolutely kill them to learn how to bake a cupcake or a doughnut. Like a Boston creme would send them straight the hell over the edge.

Alright. Lame topics tonight, I know. I’m just really tired.

Tomorrow I’ve got a fun one for ya, though. Here’s a hint. Magenta haired wenches.

Until tomorrow….

When In DC….

Having only been back to DC once in the three years we’ve been gone, I must admit, I miss my old city, especially since we won’t make it back AGAIN this year.

For anyone that’s ever lived in or near DC for any amount of time, please give this Tumblr account a look. It’s well worth your time. WHENINDC

PS, I have no idea what Tumblr is, which makes me feel old and out of the loop.

American Apparel and my new dance adventures

I should not be left alone to browse the internet for long periods of time.

Earlier this week I was looking through my gmail when a message came through,

Subject: Re: Adult private dance class

I jumped up straight and looked over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching me. Adult dance class? Like what? Dirty sexy dance class? Who was emailing me? Emailing me BACK, I mean? Good god, I thought. When did I send the original email, to who and was I drunk? Yes, yes. I obviously must have been drunk but then I couldn’t remember the last time I would have been drinking and determined enough to seek out adult private special dance time.

God I’m a trainwreck sometimes, I thought, as I clicked open the email while closing my eyes. Squinting and opening one eye slightly I saw the word Irish and breathed a sigh of relief. I knew what I had done.

I had come back from a conference with the brilliant idea that I would take Irish dance class this spring. First, I love watching girls Irish dance. Two, it couldn’t hurt, as I have to start prepping for bathing suit season.

So I guess I forgot that I had sent an email. Phew. Just a normal dance class.

Until today. Today I threw myself over the edge after looking at the American Apparel page and signed myself up (and a few friends) for not only Irish Dance class, but Stripper Pole Class in the city. I couldn’t help myself. I blame all of the jumpers and leotards and Flashdance outfits. I got way too excited about turning my whole wardrobe into a scene from Flashdance and needed a few places to wear said outfits. Let’s preview a few items I’m looking to pick up when I go to the store tomorrow.

Because every legit dance outfit starts with a retro bodysuit. It MAKES YOU A DANCER.

Then I figure I should pair that with these. For the pole class, of course.

It's always best that my feet are firmly strapped in my shoe

With a side of this skirt.

It’s either that ensemble or I’m just going to go in wearing this, which I think I’d prefer anyway.

Lastly, I came across this picture of a girl on the American Apparel site and I just had to stop and stare.

This girl likes hoodies AND can stretch her leg over her head (one of my favorite hobbies, remember)??? My kind of girl. I wonder if we’re related.

So there. Now you know where my mind is at today. In the bodysuit aisle of American Apparel, that’s where. It’s going to be like Flashdance up in my house ALL SPRING.

This time last year: Masturbation FAIL. Lesson Learned.