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Author: Brenda Arnold

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It's true. Even after years of living in Munich, Germany, I find funny stuff to talk about. Language gaffes, cultural confrontations, and life abroad. It's an ongoing adventure!

117 Episodes
It’s been over 200 years since these two broods of cicadas hatched at the same time. Just by chance, I’ll be traveling right through the middle of the swarms. Support the Brenda Arnold
If you are in Munich and see people jostling for a spot in line at a produce stand, you can bet they’re queuing for white asparagus. Don’t bother telling them that the green kind is better, because the white stuff has cult status here.Support the Brenda Arnold
If you’re just settling in on the couch, then don’t let any Germans into the room. They’ll open up all the windows to let in fresh air – regardless of the outside temperature. Support the Brenda Arnold
We are accustomed to seeing cemeteries full of tombstones honoring the dead from both world wars, but this cemetery stretches even farther back into the past. The French Revolution, the ensuing Napoleonic Wars, and even the 30 years’ war left their mark on this historic cemetery. French generals have French Republican dates on their tombstones, now illegible to non-historians, and the woman who warned of Hitler’s evil intents—who went unheeded—is buried here, too.Support the Show.www.exp...
An almost nostalgic story, written during the pandemic. Remember all those strange projects we took upon ourselves for lack of anything better to do? I discovered the strange parallels between my wardrobe and the methods of the famous German scientist and explorer, Alexander von Humboldt.Support the Brenda Arnold
You might think that Germans would mostly miss the beer when they go to the U.S. - but you'd be wrong. What they really pine after is German bread, which is so hearty you might want to refrain if you've just had dental work done. But foreigners living in German grow to love it, too, and woe to those who have to leave the country!Support the Brenda Arnold
Germany is the land of soccer, especially in Munich, home of the world-famous FC Bayern. But American football has gain in popularity. Across the country, fans are gearing up for the Superbowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers. I spoke with two Munich football fans, Stefan and his son Ben, to hear how they fell in love with this sport, despite the huge success of the local soccer team. Support the Brenda Arnold
Germans are now confronting the fact that Christmas is over but winter is just getting underway. They console themselves by getting an early start celebrating carnival, which involves consuming large quantities of a special pastry, called Krapfen, to prepare for a period of fasting for Lent. True, hardly anybody fasts anymore, but no matter – Krapfen are delicious. Not only are these pastries popular, but their numbers also keep growing and more varieties are created every year. Support ...
We train dogs, but they have much to teach us. Babies are fluent in body language but over time it is sacrificed to verbal communication. Studying the behavior of dogs gives clues to body language that will serve us well.Support the Brenda Arnold
The New Year means more than resolutions. All of Germany sets off firecrackers at midnight on December 31st. This has a huge negative impact on animals, people, and the environment. Calls for restricting or banning fireworks entirely are getting louder every year. Support the Brenda Arnold
On a trip to a Christmas market in Munich, I was inspired by The Night Before Christmas. Many parallels sprang to mind, but with throngs of last-minute shoppers, Christmas markets, and packed trains, I found myself wishing to be whisked away in a sleigh.Support the Brenda Arnold
I loved Christmas cookies growing up and thought they were pretty good, but have since discovered that German holiday confectionary is in a league of its own – the premier league.Support the Brenda Arnold
Santa Claus, St. Nick, or the Christ child? The figure we associate with Christmas takes on many shapes and forms in different countries. In Germany, he also travels around with a partner who isn’t quite so nice named Knecht Ruprecht. The whole holiday is more complex than you’d think.Support the Brenda Arnold
Hot wine and cold toes

Hot wine and cold toes


Christmas markets are popping up on every corner in Germany, including the medieval town of Regensburg and city of Munich, where they sell Christmas decorations and a few unexpected items like fake Fabergé eggs (somehow the Czar’s court got involved). The historic backdrop and mulled wine create a unique atmosphere that’s hard to beat.Support the Brenda Arnold
Germans don’t celebrate Thanksgiving but they celebrate Christmas half the winter. Starting at the end of November with the first of Advent, it culminates on January 6th, Heilige Drei Könige, Three Kings’ Day, or Epiphany, which is the Eastern Orthodox Christmas, but Germans figured it’s another holiday—we’ll take it. Support the Brenda Arnold
Germans have a reputation for being punctual, something which does not apply to its train system. During a recent train strike, it was striking (ahem) to note that many people felt there was not much difference to regular service. I’d say that’s a roundabout, polite way of saying that the trains just aren’t as reliable as they used to be. And that’s being overly polite, too.Support the Brenda Arnold
It's not a holiday without pumpkin pie, but what I bake is a far cry from what my mother's version. I was shocked to discover that Germany didn’t have ready-made, canned pumpkin mix. This was followed by the equally shocking prospect of having to make pumpkin pie from scratch. Quel horreur!Support the Brenda Arnold
Americans celebrate fall with Halloween, but Germans have St. Martin. Children carry lit lanterns in processions through the dark, singing. It sounds so lovely, until you’re the one out there battling the cold wind to keep the lantern lit. This is a festival best enjoyed indoors. Support the Brenda Arnold
Some Germans celebrate Halloween, but not all of them. I was determined to find a way for my kids to enjoy it the way I did, spurring me to take some unusual action. I recreated the holiday faster than you can say “Boo!”Support the Brenda Arnold
School has started, a good moment to consider the burden on mothers with children in German schools. The extra work required to support their children in German schools – or rather systems of schools - is so great that women from other countries literally do not believe it. Until reality hits.Support the Brenda Arnold
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