US Women Destroy Germany’s World Cup Dreams

The USWNT Made Good Last Night

The USWNT Made Good Last Night

The headline in today’s Bild online says it all: US-Girls zerstören unseren WM-Traum. In a contest between the top two teams in the world last night, the United States came out on top 2-0 in a surprisingly dominant performance, outlasting a loaded German side in the most anticipated match of the tournament. Germany was heavily favored going into the game, despite a nailbiter against France last weekend. But the USWNT made good on the promise they brought into the tournament to peak at the right time and pulled off the win in front of the rabidly pro-USA crowd in Montreal.

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Gifts from Germany

A visiting friend from New York asked me for some tips on good gift ideas for her to take back home from their summer in Germany. I love this question as it’s one that I have to think about and refresh each time I go back home. Here’s my list which includes  some expected standards along with some eccentric ideas that have been hits. Continue reading

A Golden Cup

German flagTomorrow one of the most coveted trophies in sport will come to Berlin. Today Germany woke up collectively hungover but with a jubilant smile on its face. Yesterday, just before midnight, the nation erupted into euphoria when the German football team won the World Cup.

Around the world, online and print media is chock full with articles on that extraordinary night: why the Germans won, how they won, what the players’ wives and girlfriends wore, what Rihanna did to celebrate the goal, what type of beer Joachim Löw (the German coach) and Angela Merkel drank when they celebrated together in the hotel. Sitting here in Berlin there can be no other topic to write about today, but as neither football expert nor celebrity gossip connoisseur, I ask myself what relevant and original ideas can I add. The English expat’s view perhaps …

First this – how Germany became England’s favourite. For English fans, Germany would not be the obvious team to support once our own boys failed so miserably to progress beyond the group stages (yet again). Most Germans would not perceive a direct rivalry between the two teams, but most English do. Continue reading

Ten Reasons Why You Should NOT Become an Expat

I’m the last person to discourage anyone from choosing the expatriate life, but…

Kranzlereck, Berlin

The new Kranzlereck viewed from the terrace of the Café Kranzler in Berlin. Could YOU be sitting here one day soon? PHOTO: Andrea Goldmann

There are some people who simply should not leave their familiar home territory. Expatriates meet these people all the time. They are the ones who constantly gripe about their adopted country and its people. They seem to be constantly unhappy, and they make you wonder why they ever left home in the first place.

Of course, not everyone becomes an expatriate by choice. Some people end up in Germany or another country because of a military, government, or company assignment. But most people have a choice, even if it’s someone being sent on an overseas job assignment, or a student who wants to study abroad. Continue reading

Here Comes the World Cup

I am sure you already know this, but as of the time of my writing, the World Cup begins in 22 days. In just over 3 weeks, soccer fever will consume Germany and much of the rest of the world. Are you ready?

If you are new to Germany and have arrived from North America, you might not be. The World Cup is big. Bigger than the Superbowl. And longer, more exciting, and more fun. “How can that be?”, you may ask. “Nothing is bigger than the Superbowl!”, you may say. This is something you must experience to believe.

Beginning June 12th at 5pm Sao Paolo time (10pm German time), you can spend your waking (and sleeping) hours consumed with the game of soccer. Lest you fear you will have to sit at home in front of your TV all day, rest assured: many workplaces will broadcast it in-house. All pubs will show the matches. And there is “public viewing” – the German notion of gathering in public squares to watch matches on giant screens, together. With beer. This is more fun than it sounds! (“public viewing” for Germans involves watching sports together in public, and is an awkward example of Germans adopting English words and giving them new meanings). Continue reading

Dealing with the Germans

This topic has the potential to be divisive and insulting. I will tread lightly. A year ago, a friend of mine celebrated her last few days of singledom with a bachelorette party in France. Unable to attend, I sent along an “Instruction Guide to a German Husband”, a somewhat tongue-in-cheek list of Do’s and Don’ts for foreign wives of German husbands.

And sitting down to write about how to deal with Germans, I find myself thinking: 11 years of marriage to a German, countless hours and festivities with German in-laws, 11 years of living in the country and speaking the language… do I really know how to deal with Germans? Only sometimes. I think I’ve got things figured out and then some Amt throws a spanner in the works, or I attend a party where I’m the only foreigner and come away feeling fresh off the boat, a complete outsider. Continue reading

Football Daze

It is a perfect Northern European midsummer’s evening, the sky a delicate swirl of gentle pastels and the soft air just cool enough for a cardigan: we have our window open. Then, quite suddenly, outside a tremendous roar erupts. Men, women and children let out shouts and whoops of joy which ring in the street below. To us, inside, the noises are not so surprising, for we too are watching football (soccer). A German striker has just pounded the ball into the back of the opposition’s net. A goal! Across the city, fireworks pop and crack in the dusky sky.

In our street at least three cafes have erected large screens on the pavement for the occasion of the European Cup – and this is not unusual. Throughout Berlin, and indeed Germany, these screens (called ‘public viewings’) have become the focus for large crowds – from dozens to the hundreds of thousands, depending on the venue – to gather round and share the tribulations and elations of their fellow countrymen in each Germany match. Continue reading

Soccer Fever!

Japan Wins the 2011 World Cup – photo picked up via Google from Thomas Lachetta’s Blog

Talk about a nail-biter! Did you see that game last night? It was amazing! The stadium was packed, the fans were at turns euphoric and devastated, and in the end, it all came down to a few penalty kicks. For the world championship of soccer. Women’s soccer. You missed it? I hardly believe it. I’m pretty sure that no female sport has ever had as much attention as that game did yesterday… or perhaps I’m just biased. It was, after all, a World Cup tournament in this soccer-crazed country and my team was in the final. I even knew people in the stands (who I looked for every time the camera panned the crowd).

It’s a shame that Germany didn’t progress to the final as they had planned, but it lessened their pain when the team who kicked them out ended up winning the tournament. Japan was certainly the underdog going into the game, and despite my nationality I was secretly pulling for them. Continue reading