You Can't Put Lipstick on a Pig...Or Can You?

It was around this time last year that I came down with a fairly severe case of what is known in Germany as Frühjahresmudigkeit. While I would like to equate the lapse in time since my last instalment at Harlem Hausfrau to this dreaded ailment, I must be honest to both myself and the wonderfully patient readers of this blog that it has in fact been a case of “meinen innerern Schweinehund(“my internal pig(schwein) dog(hund)”)  simply rearing its ugly head.

Read More

Christmas 2010 Greetings From Deutschland!

To this day I cannot for the life of me remember what I deemed so death-like urgent that necessitated a mailing to New York City just three days before Xmas. Every 7-10 years I fancy myself a mailer of Christmas cards and perhaps my being freshly arrived in Germany by just six weeks compelled me to send off a Christmas card or two. Homesickness, I came to learn, can affect one in many different ways. Apparently the wave I was experiencing had adversely affected that part of my brain that tended to make sound and rational decisions.

Read More


Peering out into the 6 a.m. morning darkness, I registered with a shudder that the thermostat read a crisp -1 C (29 F.) Groaning, I quickly piled on my winter wear, preparing for the frosty, morning walk with our dog Rosa.  In rounding the corner of our building, I was immediately struck by the large, ground floor picture window of our new neighbor’s standing fully ajar.

Read More

Surviving Fright Night in the Deep, Dark German Forest

Upon peering out from the restaurant window into the slowly fading sunlight, I turned to my husband in a mild state of unease and declared…

“We have to go. Like soon, or right now,” I said.

“Go…why?” my husband V asked, signaling the waiter to refresh his empty beer glass.

Read More

Learning Can Be Fun...But the Metric System is Something Else Entirely

I remember back when I was a kid in the fourth grade and being led to believe by my teacher that us kids were on the cusp of something great.  Our generation, we were told, were to be the first U.S. citizens to officially learn and ultimately adopt into our everyday lives ‘the’ universal system of measurement (drum roll please) - the metric system.

Read More

Ain't No Mountain High Enough

I have what is known in the German language as Höhenangst or for my American readers,  a fear of heights. Thankfully it does not fall within the truly clinical range but it is enough to render a physical sensation that radiates from my feet up into my guts and triggers my brain to play out the various scenarios associated with that one misstep leading to my gruesome and untimely demise.

Read More

It's Gettin' Hot in Here

For the last three days I have sat in my office, consumed by the sensation of my make-up as it makes its way down my face only to land on my desk like colored raindrops. Its 33 degrees Celsius today  (that’s around 96 Fahrenheit for my American friends) and there is no air conditioning - like anywhere.

Read More

Honesty is the Best Policy?

“Oh look, you have gained weight,” MILO exclaimed. 

“Excuuuuseeee me?” I gasped in horror, as my eyes narrowed on my mother-in-law. 

Now one would think that based on the extreme altering of my facial features that MILO would have recognized this was not a ‘Harlem Hausfrau-friendly’ topic of conversation and it was time to change the subject at hand – fast.  MILO appeared not to read me on this – or did she?

Read More

Cocktail German

Back in early 2000, Europe designated a universal framework for language students to better understand and track proficiency - a system which starts at A1 for beginners and goes up to C2, when one can call themselves relatively fluent. Despite the savvy system, I find it rather limiting and so developed a methodology better suited for my personal needs and one which is based on what I call "Occasions."

Read More

But What About Your Hair?

As a U.S. expat residing in Deutschland for over five years, I have devoted a respectable amount of time fine-tuning my practices as it relates to any and all State-side visits. Each trip home is a wonder in itself, painstakingly planned via a series of phone calls, emails and internet searches, ending in a calendarized agenda of the must-do activities taking place immediately upon arrival.

Read More