New Year’s in Cologne

As part of my visit to Cologne for winter break, we went to a New Year’s party at Patrick’s friend’s apartment, where we consumed large amounts of raclette and fondue. The raclette was pretty cool – in the German style, you put bits of bread or vegetables or whatever in a little pie-wedge pan, lay a piece of mild cheese on top, and broil it in a tabletop broiler. Apparently it’s the traditional “Silvester” food for Germans. I had some very good whiskey and an interesting (more…)

Cologne Christmas

I had a good holiday trip to Germany for the purpose of seeing Patrick for Christmas and New Year. We got a fair bit done. We went to see a little circus by someone who used to work with Cirque du Soleil, which was very nice with its live music and acrobatics and so on. There were a lot of children in the audience which we enjoyed watching as they climbed on their fathers for a better view or played in the fake snow on stage during the intermission. I was also amused (more…)

Why the Electoral College?

I have been asked numerous times by Germans, in genuine curiosity, why the US uses the Electoral College to determine who our next president will be. To help answer this question I have spoken with my friend Maurice, who studies US policy. Although he had a lot more to say, he sums it up with: “Americans long ago (more…)

German TV

Lately I’ve been watching some German TV shows to keep up my language skills. My favorite so far is “Heute-Show” from the ZDF channel, which has the same premise as the Daily Show – political news review. Sadly, Heute-Show is only once a week, but the great commentary on the country’s politicians (more…)

Observations on America, I

Strangely, the culture shock coming back from Cologne wasn’t as bad as when I came back from Dessau. I guess this time I knew what to expect from Americans vs Germans – how the two countries would be different. There are things I miss from Germany, but this time, I already had an idea what I’d be dealing with. That I’d have to deal (more…)