Category Archives: Things You Didn’t Know


Things you didn’t know: Fasching is Germany’s most colorful time of year

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — It officially began on the 11th day of the 11th month at 11:11 a.m., but the hoopla is just around the corner.   Fasching is Germany’s carnival season, a time of festivity and merrymaking.   It’s an excuse to break rules (and poke fun at those who…

January 29th, 2016 Things You Didn't Know

Things you didn’t know: How to maximize your TSP contributions in 2016

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Are you an Army civilian employee looking to max out your annual contribution to the Thrift Savings Plan?   Each year the Army Benefits Center-Civilian, or ABC-C, posts TSP contribution charts, which specify the dollar amount an employee needs to contribute each pay period to reach the…

December 1st, 2015 Things You Didn't Know

Things you didn’t know: Celebrating birthdays in Germany

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — The melody is the same, but the words differ slightly. In Germany, “Happy birthday to you” changes to “Zum Geburtstag viel Glueck,” meaning, “Good luck on your birthday.”   And that luck must only come on the day of birth.   While Germans may not mind celebrating…

November 9th, 2015 Things You Didn't Know

Things you didn’t know: Dining with Bavarians

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — It is customary for many landlords and nearby residents to invite their new tenants and neighbors into their home for dinner. But if you’re new to the area, anticipate some slight differences.   Read ahead to enter this cultural experience well prepared and remember, glasses will be…

October 20th, 2015 Things You Didn't Know

The German grocery store won’t take my credit card. Now what?

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — It’s embarrassing, but it happens. You shop groceries at an off-post grocery store here in Germany. You unload all your groceries at the register and pull out your American credit card. But then, the cashier gives you a blank stare and customers behind you grow impatient. You…

September 18th, 2015 Things You Didn't Know

Things you didn’t know: German fairy tales charm and enchant

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Americans owe Germany for some of our most beloved fairy tales.   “Snow White,” “Rapunzel,” “Cinderella,” “Hansel and Gretel,” “Rumpelstiltskin” and “Sleeping Beauty” all come from Germany’s famed fairy tale scribes, Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm.   While these are the most renowned tales in the Brothers Grimm…

September 6th, 2015 Things You Didn't Know