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Month: June 2015

Awkward English #10 – Ugly Clothes Round-Up

Awkward English #10 – Ugly Clothes Round-Up

One of my favorite things to do while shopping (besides scouring clearance racks) is to check out T-shirt slogans. Like I’ve said before, they are universally terrible – and I love it. I do not mean to offend anyone who loves cheesy T-shirts, I think they are wonderful in their awkward glory.

Last week I visited C&A and H&M – and, boy, are the alphabet stores full of greatness this season. For your reading enjoyment, I’ve divided my finds into two categories – Presentation and Puns.

Presentation – These clothes may not have anything too awful at first glance, but upon closer examination, they get a bit weird. Maybe the word choice is strange, or when you actually read it, it doesn’t make much sense.

Flowers shirt
If this shirt was in German, the capitalized “Diamonds” would be fine, but it’s in English…
Buggin' Out Crop Top
What does “Buggin’ Out” have to do with ice cream? The world may never know.
Work Wear Progressive
This looks normal for a T-Shirt, but I don’t actually understand what it means. “Work Wear Progressive”? What do you mean?
If not for “Paris” being written correctly on the bottom of the shirt, I would have thought this was just made for mirror selfies. It reminds me of Karen from Mean Girls and her rhinestone “K”.
Sweet as Pie
I can barely read this. We have another case of “Tumblr on a shirt.”

Puns – Love them or hate them, puns are a staple of T-Shirt decoration. And I love them.

Dough Know, Don't Care
Get it, because the letters are “DOUGHnuts”! This and the cupcake shirt are making me hungry.
Selfie Pun #1
Selfie puns have been blowing up lately.
Selfie Pun #2
I’ve been seeing shirts and bags with selfie puns everywhere. I’ve even seen an actual person wear the “Go F— Your Selfie” shirt in public. If I had had pearls, I would have clutched them.

What is one of your favorite T-Shirt slogans? Let me know! I’m not kidding when I say I love them, I’m like a kid in a candy store when I find these.

Flags Everywhere #10 – For That Special Someone

Flags Everywhere #10 – For That Special Someone

H&M has some patriot underwear for that special man in your life – or for you if you are a man or like boxers.



Two different styles to get ready for the fourth of July!

And don’t worry, my British friends, they have Union Jacks as well!


They also have matching socks, so you can deck yourself out in flags from… waist to toe?


So stop by H&M and purchase undergarments to show off your patriotism! Wait, no. You can show off the socks; don’t show everyone your underwear.

Comparison: Missouri Driver License vs German Driver License

Comparison: Missouri Driver License vs German Driver License

Getting a Driver License - Missouri and Germany

I’ve mentioned before about how expensive German Driver Licenses are, but as I have talked more in depth to Germans about the differences, I’ve begun to realize how absolutely insane they are. I thought it would be interesting to do a direct comparison of the timeline and costs from getting a license in Missouri (my home state) to getting one here.


Missouri State Flag

Missouri (Information from the MO Dept. of Revenue):

Age 15: Learner’s Permit – You must pass a vision, road sign recognition, and written test to obtain. This permit allows you to drive as long as you are accompanied by a parent, grandparent, driving instructor, or other qualified person approved in writing by your parent/guardian if you are 15. Once you are 16, you may drive while accompanied by anyone over the age of 21 who has a valid driver license.

Cost: $3.50

Age 16: Intermediate License – You need to have had your Learner’s Permit for at least six months and a clean driving record for the previous six months (no alcohol related offense for a year). Your parent/guardian or grandparent has to verify that you’ve driven for at least 40 hours, at least 10 of which happened at night. You need to pass a vision, road sign recognition, and practical test.

Practical Test Requirements (From the official Driver Guide)

  • Show and demonstrate all the controls in the car (turn signal, window wipers, brakes, etc.)
  • Start and stop the vehicle
  • Parallel park
  • Reversing
  • Turning – right at least twice, left at least twice
  • Parking on a hill
  • Driving through intersections
  • Obeying traffic signs and signals

You need 70/100 points to pass. You will automatically fail if you break any laws or hit someone. I assumed that hitting pedestrians was covered under not breaking the law, but the guide lists it separately.

This license has curfew and passenger limit restrictions which are strictest for the first six months. It is possible to skip the Intermediate License if you wait until after you are 18 to take the practical test (like me!).

Cost: $7.50

Age 18: Under 21 Full Driver License – This is a full license, but people under 21 get a special one so that it’s easier to spot if they try to buy alcohol with it. They’ve switched what the licenses look like since I got mine, but mine said “Under 21 until” with the date of my birthday in red at the top. I also believe the picture was on the other side. For this one, you have to pass a vision and road sign recognition test again and have a clean driving record for the past year. Assuming your Intermediate License is still valid, that’s all you need to do.

Cost: $10

Age 21: Full Driver License – Once you’re 21, you can get a license that doesn’t state that you are too young to drink. As long as you have a valid license when you go in for renewal, there isn’t much else you have to do. You have to get it renewed every 3-6 years.

Cost: $10 (3 years) or $20 (6 years)

From start to finish

Total cost: $31 – $41


Flag of Germany

Germany (Information from TÜV Rheinland and Autobild)

In Germany you are allowed to start the process at age 17, or at 16 1/2 under special circumstances. This process requires attending driving school.

Registration – Before you start, you have to submit all of your fun, German paperwork, including a passport picture and proof of an eye exam. This, of course, has a processing fee that is higher than the entire process of getting a full Missouri license.

Cost: 43,40€

Theoretical Lessons – For your German license you would start with theory classes, generally 12 two-hour sessions. This is to prepare students for the theoretical test. It’s harder to find a direct cost breakdown, as the school will charge differently. Autobild had a breakdown that included base price, learning materials, and introduction to theory.

Cost: 154,00€

Theory Test – This is similar to the test required for the Missouri Learner’s Permit, but much more difficult. The test is 30 questions of varying points, adding up to around 100. You can miss 10 points total. It’s a beast, and you pay before you take it – so if you fail, you’ve got to pay again. Also, I’m pretty sure I got scammed now by the driving school that I went through to get signed up for the lessons, because I paid 90€.

Cost: 20,83€

Driving Practice – Unlike Missouri, Germany is going to require a bit more than “my parents said I drove enough” for your practice requirement. You’re looking at around 20 hours (and by hours they actually mean 45 minutes somehow) of regular driving as well as 12 “hours” of driving under special circumstances such as at night or on the autobahn. Autobild put this at around 30,50 per “hour”, which makes it the most expensive part of getting the license. They also included an “Introduction to Practical Exam” section at 95€

Cost: 1071,00€

Practical Test – This practical test is going to be a bit more intense than the Missouri one. TÜV (the German department of motor vehicles) says that the test will be around 45 minutes. Unlike the Missouri information, they do not have a specific list on the website of what you must do, but if the differences between the theory tests are any indication, it is much more intense than driving around a few blocks for 15 minutes and then parallel parking.

Cost: 84,97€

First Aid Course – To have a German license, you are also required to be certified in First Aid, so you can add a little bit more on top of what you are already spending. Though, I think this does contribute to safer roadways. If there is an accident, all drivers can offer basic First Aid and they are required to keep up-to-date kits in their car. Autobild also included the price for a sight test, but I didn’t include that, as I think it depends more on your doctor and insurance.

Cost: 19,90€

From start to finish

Total cost: 1394,10€


Right now, I’m really glad I was able to skip most of the German steps. I think it’s absurdly expensive, but that may also be why the roads are a bit safer – it’s much more difficult to get the license.

Patriotism and Expat vs. Immigrant

Patriotism and Expat vs. Immigrant

Several days ago, we received this flyer in our mailbox.

Calling German Patriots Flyer 1



Citizens of this country: Unite!

to a mass demonstration against the Islamic and left-radical fascism in German. Our land needs once ALL patriots on the streets!

Resistance East/West, Frankfurt on Main    20th July ’15


At first I didn’t think much of it, but, noticing the words “islamischen” and “linksradikalen” connected to “Faschismus” – I figured this wasn’t really for us.

Calling German Patriots Flyer  2


Friends, Patriots, awakened Citizens of Germany,

It has long been echoed by West and East: So many people on the streets, so many groups. It’s time to join the resistance, pull together the forces.


For the purposes of “Not left, not right – straight ahead” is EVERY AWAKENED CITIZEN of German invited to join the “Resistance East/West” demonstration.

We want to be no competition to other movements, unite only for this day together to bring Germany to tremble!

In the Roßmarkt in Frankfurt on 20th June ’15 from 13:00 – 17:30

And translating that into English makes it sound even more crazy pants! I wondered how it ended up in our mailbox. While the Verlobter has a typical German name, I do not. Many of our neighbors are Turkish, and I wondered if this may have ended up in their mailboxes as well. But my name is likely more English than anything, so would it have been viewed the same way as a Turkish name to the people who put these in mailboxes? And while I can look at these flyers with a bit of humor, how might it make my neighbors feel?

I may not have posted this had I not just read “Do You Call Yourself An Expat Or An Immigrant – And What Is Really The Difference Between The Two?” by Meg at Geek Mädel, but the combination of her post and this flyer highlighted how I am viewed differently than my neighbors.

I have used both “Immigrant” and “Expat” to refer to myself, because I have generally interpreted “Expat” to refer to moving as a personal “choice”. I realize that there is a certain privilege to that and that as an American, people make a lot of assumptions about me that generally put me in a more positive light than other immigrants. I’m not here for better financial opportunities or because where I lived was not safe for me, and somehow I think I get treated better for that, which is really strange. But it wouldn’t be much different in America. Had the Verlobter moved instead of me, he also would have been treated differently than immigrants from Eastern Europe or Central America. And, like me, he would get a ton of compliments for speaking the language of the country, though his English is a million times better than my German.

I don’t think I will entirely get rid of the Expat label – it gives me a way to find others in similar situations to me, who have made similar decisions and are facing similar struggles. But I am also an Immigrant, and I think it’s important to also find others who identify that way as well. I’m here to stay, which is a different experience than many expats have.


Awkward English #9 – Avoiding a Lawsuit

Awkward English #9 – Avoiding a Lawsuit

T-Shirts are always a great place to find awkward sayings – in any language or country. That’s one reason to enjoy shopping if even you don’t buy anything – it’s entertaining!


I found the use of “take” instead of “get” or “buy” a little weird. Were I this company’s editor, I would have suggested a change. Is that a job I could have? Copy editing T-shirts?

The obvious strange choice is the spelling of “Barbee” though. Is this an attempt to avoid copyright infringement? Is Mattel like Disney – hunting down all possible trademark violations with a vengeance?

Why is this post so full of questions? The world may never know…

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