What Happened and Other Stuff

What Happened and Other Stuff
Sounds of a galloping horse? Nope. It’s a woman in heels, on a cobblestone street. That’s when the pressure builds—when paranoia sets in because you don’t know where you are, and you’re being followed by the stark German lady wearing her Deichmann (German shoe store) best, a situation that’s...
Cloudyskies
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What Happened and Other Stuff
My experiences while living in Germany again, as an American. This time, a wedding… Considering the work that’s required to fulfill the many traditions in a typical German marriage ceremony, the country’s divorce rate really should be much lower. Hochzeit traditions vary from region to region...
Cloudyskies
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What Happened and Other Stuff
The Question: While in the confines of a foreign country, what can one do to celebrate America’s Independence? The Answer: Commemorate in one’s own special way. As an American in Frankfurt, Germany, it was incumbent upon me to sing songs of patriotism and wag my tail in celebration of my...
Cloudyskies
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What Happened and Other Stuff
I arrived at Berlin’s Tegel airport at eleven in the morning on a Saturday. The American Tourist suitcase by my side, the previous year’s Christmas gift from my mother, was bursting at the seams. Standing there, slumped, hand in my pocket, I had a heightened sense of awareness by the fact that I...
Cloudyskies
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What Happened and Other Stuff
It’s chocolate madness and the European Parliament’s favorite chair. From the beauteous Grand Palace—the imposing central square cluttered with tourists—to the omnipotent Royal Palace of Belgium, there’s no shortage of assorted cuisine and delectable chocolate in the capital of Europe. If you...
Cloudyskies
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What Happened and Other Stuff
Seven dollars. It’s what I had in my wallet, which my son Thomas, 6, hurriedly snatched from my dresser drawer. “Papa, Papa, can I go get an ice cream? Please!” “I’m too SICK to go with you. I don’t want you going outside alone!” I said. “It’s no problem. There are adults outside!” “Uh …...
Cloudyskies
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What Happened and Other Stuff
Germany is said to have hundreds of different kinds of cheese. It’s no surprise, then, that the country is the European leader—the Big Cheese—in cheese production. I have no qualms about this whatsoever. I happen to come from the cheesiest producing nation in the world, and I’ve also had my...
Cloudyskies
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What Happened and Other Stuff
My least favorite friend, who once compared my illness with his inability to quit smoking, said to me via group text that “Stephen Hawking was driving a wheelchair around with a straw and he still managed to be a useful member of society,” implying that I should be doing more with my life. The...
Cloudyskies
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What Happened and Other Stuff
Unfurnished apartments in Germany come equipped with next to nothing. That means no closets, no kitchen sink, no cabinets, no oven, and no refrigerator. So, mostly it means empty rooms. The bathroom, however, does come with your standard European toilet, shower, and sink. I’d never valued the...
Cloudyskies
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What Happened and Other Stuff
Ever since Grandpa shoved that first glass of vino under my schnaz, and Grandma scratched together that first scrumptious batch of homemade ravioli, the land of my family’s ancestors had been patiently waiting for its precious grandson to arrive. The day had finally come. Move over Don...
What Happened and Other Stuff
Publishers and media companies throughout the world came galloping into town on their respective horses to become players in the Frankfurt International Book Fair. With a long lasting tradition that goes back more than five hundred years, it’s a veritable pissing contest between publishing...
Cloudyskies
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What Happened and Other Stuff
Of all the great songs on my album of survival at those innumerable family sleepovers, there’s that especially creative yet shameful one that shall forever be stuck in my head. It’s true. There are times when I still have difficulty with the guilt from that evening. And even the slightest...
Cloudyskies
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What Happened and Other Stuff
In America, everyone carries his or her own personal water bottle or coffee around. You’ll see people with them on the streets, in cars, on public transit, and in shopping malls and supermarkets. That’s not the case in Germany. A personal pack of tissues (or snot rag) is the norm; one must...
Cloudyskies
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What Happened and Other Stuff
I came across an ad on Facebook for a book about The Station nightclub fire in Rhode Island, USA, in 2003 that killed 100 people and injured many more. Among them was one of my co-workers named Stacie. I remember talking to her on the phone just hours before she was to attend a concert there...
Cloudyskies
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What Happened and Other Stuff
Another travelogue … Impressive. Panache. Enchanting. Beau monde. Artistic. Paris is all of these things. Its attraction is undeniable. It had me at Bonjour. I’d arrived at Charles de Gaulle airport on a Friday evening, excited to meet Kathleen for a weekend getaway in the City of Light. She...
Cloudyskies
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116
What Happened and Other Stuff
A travelogue … The culturally bloated, artistic, and liberal city of Amsterdam, with its eight hundred thousand bicycle population, copious coffee shops, and infamous Red Light District, had us undoubtedly intrigued by its kooky character. We were assiduous walkers during our two-day...
Cloudyskies
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What Happened and Other Stuff
A raw account, the year, 2009 … I barely slept last night. Weak as a week’s worth of ill-begotten aims, I’m drained, emotionally, having suffered panic attacks all day the previous day. The day will be hot, though certainly not the hottest day of a long summer in Europe, but I prepare myself...
Cloudyskies
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What Happened and Other Stuff
We’ve all had those moments when life feels like too much to handle. With all the demands in our modern world, it’s no wonder that we often feel stressed-out and overwhelmed. I’m certainly no stranger to life’s challenges either. In fact, I’m frequently the victim of my own prowess, and I always...
Cloudyskies
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What Happened and Other Stuff
The following dialogue is not make-believe. It is real. The ensuing anecdote is also real and has not been fabricated in any way. “This is my culture … not yours!” Door slams. Man enters room moments later. “It’s not the end of the world, I’ll cook the meat … it’s just gonna take a little...
Cloudyskies
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What Happened and Other Stuff
My 9th grade (age 14) journal writing I submitted to class … It was December 24, 1991, Christmas Eve. I was in the car bobbing my head side to side as I listened on my Walkman to the pulsating sound of the drums on my new Tesla tape. “Mom, what time is it?” I asked. “Are we ever going to get...
Cloudyskies
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