Category Archives: March 2013

Dressing the Part

We sure dress up a lot around here, I thought to myself as I watched Jack and Nora board the school bus one morning and wave goodbye through the window dressed as a dinosaur and  as an American Girl Doll. It was Fasching, the German term for Carnival and Mardi Gras. All day long there were great costumes to see but my favorite was a boy of about 15 or 16, casually walking along the street in Frankfurt, book bag slung over his shoulder, and wearing a penguin suit.  The arrival of Fasching, to me, has always meant that winter shouldn’t be too much longer but, not this year. There was no shock or disappointment as we watched the snow flurries this Easter morning. Winter doesn’t want to end but I assume, at some point, it will have to.

But, back to the costuming….Every year, mixing more than one culture, there’s several opportunities to dress up in various costumes or just for fancy dress: Multiple Oktoberfest celebrations, Jubilee tea for the Queen, Halloween, Australia Day, Fasching, Viennese Balls, a charity gala, Kentucky Derby, and so many more. Being in the expat world, everyone not only wants to keep their cultural customs, they are eager to share them.  Never have I encountered more reasons to celebrate than here.  Another form of dress up that seems more common here than the US is for the stag parties, where a pack of friends accompany a groom-to-be on a weekend of hijinks and embarrassment. I’ve encountered two stag parties in the past year that were particularly memorable. The first was on a cold spring day last April in Munich. We were wandering through the Viktualienmarkt and heard the unmistakable sounds of something very funny. What we saw was this: 

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The other one I encountered was in Dresden and this photo may require a bit more explanation. Imagine you are the groom-to-be and your friends put together a sort of cape that has 2 large holes underneath the arms. Then, they march you around town with a soccer ball where they rally passers-by to try to score a goal by kicking the ball through one of the holes while you stand there with your arms stretched to your sides. So, if the person misses, just imagine where that ball goes: your head, your stomach, and any other painful place there is. 

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Poor guy…and now he is immortalized in a blog.

Italia xoxo

We just returned from what is now my 3rd trip to Rome and at least my 7th visit to Italy. Each time I leave Italy, I carry the same impressions: beauty and organized chaos. Some lessons you learn the hard way, like this time when we finished the Vatican Museums tour, we discovered that the only place to return the audio guides (and get your driver’s license back) is all the way back to the beginning, even though you are dumped out on the complete opposite end. If you haven’t been to the Vatican Museums before, it’s a must, but realize it has enormous masses of people in it at all times. So, having to go back to the beginning is like a salmon swimming upstream. But, even when those things happen in Italy there are so many other big and small experiences that make up for it. After all, how can you stay annoyed with a people who work out in your hotel gym wearing sunglasses and covered in sequins?