We are NOT the Champions
The Olympics rapidly approach and while I expect my home country to be a powerful competitor (USA! USA! USA!), there is one popular event where we won't even compete. The United States men's national soccer team (Futball, Fussball, etc. for all you non-Americans) did not qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games.
"5th minute of added time: Johnson fails to secure Jaime Alas’s low, 30-yard bid. Unbelievable. El Salvador has drawn even in closing moments.
Full time: USA 3, El Salvador 3. Americans are out in the group stage. Salvadoran players with tears of joy — one of the great moments in the country’s soccer history. ES wins the group, Canada finishes second, USA is third."(More)
Ahhh! It's Tax Season
Ok, so you can't run and you can't hide. The US is the only industrialized nation that taxes its overseas citizens. Time to do taxes.
Or is it? Expat articles pop up every year about this time, offering a way out. More and more expats are relinquishing US Citizenship for the relief of avoiding US taxes:
The Wonders and Disappointments of an American Kitchen
On our house hunt of Berlin, I have been turned off by modern flats offering "American style" kitchens. That's weird, because on a recent trip back to the States I loved the acres of counter space and interacting with friends and family through the open plan. What's with my love/hate of the American Kitchen?
Funnily enough, two recent articles about the subject caught my attention. Expatify's article "American-style kitchens vs. expat-style kitchens" and Matador Network's "I hate your giant American kitchen" explore the big bad reputation of the American kitchen. Expatify's piece discusses it's not the size that matters; it's the food that counts. Matador's piece is less subtle. She really doesn't think bigger is better.
It's true that American kitchens tend to be huge ("American kitchen tends to be double or triple the size of kitchens in most of the world..." Expatify), painfully similar ("Cathedral ceilings, recessed lighting, granite countertops..." Matador), and are taking over the world. I couldn't believe the number of Berlin flats that have had their charming little Küche cruelly chopped out and replaced with a boring expanse of Ikea cabinets.
So what exactly is an American kitchen? (More)
New Stars of House Hunters International
You may not have heard of us yet, but that's just because "our show" hasn't aired yet. Our show? Just a little American show called House Hunters International. The show is a spin-off of the popular US based "House Hunters" and is apparently huge. Acquaintances, friends, and family have all told us "They LOVE that show!". Each episode features an expat that is looking to make their home abroad. It follows along in their search to find a new home and examines the issues of a foreign housing market, differences in lifestyles, and the challenge of leaving all you know behind....all in 30 minutes.
Whose Banks are Better?
Trying to open a bank account is difficult. Trying to open one in a foreign country is extremely difficult. Trying to open an account when you don't speak the language can be outright crazy.
We tried to pick the best German bank for us and think we did... ok. Understanding the terms is no easy feat and now that we've succeeded in opening one, I see both positives and negatives compared to our American bank.
New Blog: American Expats
Americans can be a noisy bunch and that includes when we are abroad. As a Seattle expat living in Berlin, I pay particular attention to my countrymen popping up in the news. And we do. Americans abroad recount their experience in the Japan earthquake, tax lawyer explaining the financial ramifications of expatriating, and organizing political campaigns abroad.
This blog will bring stories of American expats to the forefront. I will scout out stories in which Americans share the unique experiences that make up our immigrant life, discuss the difficulties of being away from "home" and other context for news stories concerning American policy.