Tag Archives: truths


Sorry Military Families, You’re Not Expats

I realize that this is a bold statement. I realize this might offend some people who I have formed friendships or acquaintances with, however, having lived both lifestyles, I feel I can voice my opinion confidently (although it is based solely on experiences in Germany as shown below).

I truly mean no harm to anyone’s feelings. This is in no way some example of a lack of patriotism. And by no means is it meant to show ANY disrespect to the military,their families and the difficult roles they endure.

It’s a clarification on the use of a word.

It’s the truth.

Physical location is the only way in which this definition would loosely apply to you.

Let’s take a look…..

Military Families

  • You do not have a foreign bank account and still receive your income in U.S. dollars. You bank at American banks, on base, that are set up to utilize that particular country’s banking system.
  • You receive a USAREUR license, not a foreign driver’s license. While the test you take is similar, it is not as extensive as the one you’d take without your military umbrella. You are not required to attend any sort of driving school (aside from the short safety briefing) or have your license translated. The fee you pay is minimal in comparison. (last known, $10)
  • When you shop off-base you refer to shopping in the “economy”.
  • You have VAT forms making you exempt from paying local sales taxes.
  • When you file your federal taxes, typically your stateside residence is what is used thereby excluding you from sometimes providing information related to foreign income and savings.
  • Your medical insurance is still covered by the U.S. government and in most instances, you do not have to use foreign hospitals or treatment facilities.
  • You have a special SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) passport as well as your tourist passport. Your SOFA passport grants you residency in another country for the length of your tour.
  • You are exempt from paying international postage fees when mailing anything to and from the U.S. Along those same lines, you can receive mail from any company that ships to APO addresses from the states.
  • You are exempt from paying the local gas prices both on and off-base. (last known, $3.55/gallon)
  • You are provided COLA (cost of living allowance) with your housing and utilities paid for whether you live on or off base.
  • You are exempt from paying annual vehicle taxes that are required in Germany. Furthermore, you don’t have to pay for your car inspection.


  • We have foreign bank accounts, no access to U.S. dollars and pay bills through the foreign banking system.
  • Depending on what state you are from, in Germany you must either take the written and practical test, only the written test or you’re lucky and your stateside license transfers over completely. Based on those first two scenarios, you have to enroll in driving school. Furthermore, you must have your stateside license translated and pay all appropriate fees. We also must acquire our own study guides which are not always provided for free. (In my case, it’s a total of  €250)
  • The “economy” is my home, no differently than the U.S. is your home when you are there. Expats don’t use such terms as there is no other shopping option such as the commissary or BX.
  • We pay the sales taxes with no exemptions. (19% here)
  • We file taxes using our foreign address and in some cases are required to submit documentation from foreign accounts.
  • We are covered through insurance provided in our country of residence. We only utilize healthcare options available in our country.
  • We only have our tourist passports and must go through the visa/immigration process rendering us our residence permits.
  • We only have access to our postal system, thus paying high international shipping rates and no access to stateside companies unless they ship internationally (again high fees) or they have an international store.
  • Obviously, we must pay the local gas price which as of now is around $8.55/gallon in Germany.
  • We don’t receive any kind of financial assistance or benefits for being an American living in another country.
  • We pay, on average, €100 per year in taxes for our vehicle and the inspection costs €90 every two years.

Bottom Line

Expats live according to the laws and governing systems in the countries in which they have chosen to reside. Military families receive benefits for their service and maintain as close to an American lifestyle as possible while living in another country. Both choices are voluntary, but very different lifestyles.

I absolutely agree that military members and their families should receive these benefits.

I completely disagree that you should call yourselves expatriates.

While you may live here in the physical sense, you don’t live here. Take away access to your American life, fully divulge yourself into the lifestyle and culture of another country, follow their rules and systems and only then you’ll know what I’m talking about.

Yes, I once lived overseas as a dependent of a military member.

No, I never, not once, called myself an expat.

But I do now.

I have no ties to my “American” life aside from family and friends in the U.S. I fully embrace Germany as my home and do my best to live here just as any German would; no exemptions.

I live my life solely as an American expatriate in Germany.

I am an Expat. 


Saturday Feature: Tales From The Motherland

I love this link-up so much! I hate to admit it, but I’m just not always able to get to everyone’s blogs during the week and I miss out on some great posts sometimes. But, when you share them here, I never miss out and neither does anyone else who follows along. I had some great ones this week and even more fun were the new people who joined us. Just so happens that this week’s winner is a newbie because this post is just too funny and right up my alley this week. We sold our car and haven’t found another one yet so it has been very challenging and stressful. We don’t live in a city where there is easy access to public transportation and while everything is going to be fine, I still used the word “HATE” a lot this week.Plus, this post mentions the other place I call home on the internet, Tipsy Lit. 

So, when I saw Dawn’s post, I just knew I had to feature it. Dawn writes over at Tales From The Motherland and is the process of waiting to hear back about the publishing of her novel. She is a traveler, as are her children, with one who lives an an expat herself, like many of us. Her youngest is about to graduate and I mention this because the pieces she writes about her children just bring your emotions out in full force. She has so much knowledge and wisdom to share about parenting and is an excellent writer who has been freshly pressed twice and also had a story published like myself.

A pretty picture I took, to soften the blow of the word “hate.”

First, let me explain the title… I can easily come up with 21 things that I irrationally (if you say so) hate, but the idea for this post comes from Ericka Clay’s post, which she stole from me, before I could think of it. She did it first, but it was just so great, I had to do my own list. These are 21 Things I Irrationally  Hate:

  1. Bloggers who come up with ideas for posts that I totally wish I had thought of myself. This is specifically directed at Ericka Clay, at Tipsy Lit, for coming up with this particular blog post, before I could think of it myself… Which, for the record, I eventually would have. (It should be noted that Ericka’s post is titled, “Twenty-one Things I Irrationally Hate, while mine is “21 Things…” See, it’s different. I thought of using the number… not spelled out. Not the same.)
  2. That my husband can’t in fact read my mind. If he could, we could avoid so many arguments, because he would know that I’m thinking: … And don’t argue with me.
  3. When someone in my house, generally a teenager, or someone much younger than me, eats the last of something that I didn’t say I wanted (particularly left-overs that I cooked!)… but I did… really want. This could also be filed under: people who can’t read my mind.
  4. Raisins, especially cooked in anything. (And once you’ve picked on out of your kid’s diaper… well, you can never eat one again!)
  5. When anyone at the grocery store, anyone, calls me “Mam.”  It’s bad enough that I have to do the grocery shopping in the first place, without also being reminded that I’m a Mam now.
  6. Sauerkraut.
  7. Scales that don’t say what I want.
  8. That eating chocolate chip cookies/bacon/nutty bits/milkshakes/Cheez Its/ Doritos/most of my favorite foods, don’t melt fat.  Who thought of that bullshit science anyway? Thank God, sushi does… melt fat.
  9. That working out and not eating does in fact burn fat.  Again, science. Really?
  10. That I’m 51 and I didn’t start doing what I really want to be doing: writing, thirty years ago. For real.
  11. Editors and Agents that seem to think it’s reasonable for me to wait 6 to 9 months, to know if they like my manuscript. Don’t they know that I’m 51 and wish I’d done this thirty years ago? (Even if I couldn’t have written this particular novel 30 years ago.)
  12. That other writers keep telling me that I do indeed have to wait this long to hear from editors and agents, and that: “that’s just the way it is.” Bite me, agents, editors and other writers.
  13. Most teenage girls.
  14. Teenage boys who say “dude” to everyone. Really? Dude?
  15. Other bloggers who get their novels published, while I wait to hear from editors and agents… Hmm, Ericka Clay just got her novel published.  And well, it does look really good, but… Other bloggers who get their novels published.
  16.  That bladder control issues, wrinkles, acne, weight gain, and a host of other insults, all come at an age when you are already freaking out, just thinking: What the fuck! I only have twenty (reasonably good) years left? And I haven’t heard from that agent or editor yet!
  17. Stores who post a “We card anyone under 40,” sign, and then card me. Do we really need to make that point, Mam?
  18. People who are always on time. So, I’m a little late sometimes. It starts innocently: I have some extra time, and then some friends from high school, who I wasn’t necessarily friends with in high school, have posted some things on Facebook that I really need to read? And like, and comment on.  And then there was a photo on the sidebar of Facebook that I had to see: of a snake eating a crocodile (never mind that snakes give me the willies, and these photos totally freaked me out)… Which led to a photo of an otter (!!) eating an alligator… Which got me wondering when crocodiles and alligators became such losers… Which got me wondering what Liza Minnelli had to say about Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar joke… which made me wonder which award winning movies I should add to Netflix (because yes, I still use Netflix)… which got me checking out other movies, and realizing I’ll never get to see the 3,452 movies on my Netflix list…  Why the hell doesn’t the rest of the world realize that shit happens, and I might be late?
  19. When people put the chips on the cereal shelf, or the measuring cups in the Ziplock- bag drawer, and then when I complain explain why I don’t like that, ask me why I care, when my office is a hoarder’s den… like chips have anything to do with my office?
  20. Yellow bananas. Make mine a semi-green one, every time.
  21. Whistling. Unless it’s in this song. Or this one.
  22. People who complain.

Yeah; that’s twenty-two. I had more than 21, and I didn’t want to erase any of them. I also hate limits.  Now, share yours. What do you hate? You can make your own list… but be a good egg, and link back to my post, and Ericka’s. And Note: I think I have more than made up for borrowing Ericka’s idea, by linking to her a bazillion times here!

Hope you enjoyed that and if you did, make sure you go by and check out Tales From the Motherland for yourself. Have a great weekend everyone!

Telling the Truth

Well, today marks the end of my little game that I will admit, I really enjoyed playing.  To recap, last week, I asked you all to play along in guessing which one of the 6 statements about me was a lie. Then, to help eliminate some of the possibilities, I shared two truths.

So are you ready to finally find out the truth? Have I had guns pointed at me? Do I have 13 tattoos?? Here is what the list looks like one more time with the remaining possibilities:

  1. My senior year of high school I had 33 hours of detention from skipping class.
  2. I dated my driver’s education teacher and still can’t parallel park.
  3. I’ve had brain surgery.
  4. I’ve never put my foot into a pair of high heels.
  5. I’ve had a gun pointed at me on two separate occasions.
  6. I have 13 tattoos with plans for more.

Out of 12 guesses, 7 people believe #4 is the lie! I had 1 guess for #5, 2 guesses for #2 and 2 guesses for #6.


Definitely the thoughts of my husband.

Well…..I don’t know what to say about this except it is true and a bit embarrassing now as an adult. I was 15 and he was around 30. I wasn’t the only girl in our class he was “seeing”. We went on one date, had one or two kisses (I can’t remember) and I still can’t parallel park. When it came to that part on the practical portion of the driving test, I reminded him how we never practiced that because we were too busy “hanging out” and he just passed me. Total fail for me as someone who now lives in Europe.


I bet you 7 people are disappointed as you seemed pretty positive that you spotted the lie! But I have, in fact, NEVER worn a pair of high heels. I have tried to wear a pair of wedges and have worn a slight chunky heel, but never the standard high heel or pump.

My shoe choices would be these

Converse all the way every day!

Converse all the way every day!

Or anything the fictional character, Abby Sciuto, would wear (especially these!)

Love these!

#5—->>>> TRUE!

Yes, on two separate occasions I have had a gun pointed at me; once being an instance of road rage and the other being in the wrong place with the wrong people. BOTH involving dating stupid men who definitely fall into the loser category. Lucky for me, nothing happened and I eventually broke up with both of those idiots.

One of them actually did!

One of them actually did!

So, it’s pretty clear that #6 is the LIE!

Amy was spot on when she said it was “not due to lack of tattoos, but my guess is that the number is wrong.” EXACTLY! Ding! Ding! Ding! I have 3 tattoos, not 13 although I do plan to get more. Tattoos are addicting so as I’m running out of what I consider to be “appropriate places”, I am being very cautious and putting much thought into the next one or two I get. (By the way, if you look in my welcome picture, you can see the one on my wrist….JS).

Thanks for playing along! I really enjoyed reading your answers!

A Little Piece of Truth

So, yesterday, I was in a game playing mood and joined in on the blogging bandwagon for 5 truths and 1 lie about me. I can’t even tell you how fun this has been! Even M looked at me last night after reading and said “What???”.

To take yet another page out of Aussa’s playbook, I’m going to drag it on for just one more post with the final reveal on Wednesday. My hopes in pushing it out a bit, is to give everyone a chance to play along given that this weekend has been full of holiday time, family time and many other things un-blog related. :-)

To refresh your memory, here is the bit from yesterday:

Have you ever played the game 5 truths and 1 lie? I bet you have, but just in case, all you have to do is guess which one of these 6 things about me is a lie.

*****Please, if you happen to know me and know the answer, don’t ruin it for everyone. Just comment with your vote, but don’t reveal that you know it’s the right one :-)

Here we go!

  1. My senior year of high school I had 33 hours of detention from skipping class.
  2. I dated my driver’s education teacher and still can’t parallel park.
  3. I’ve had brain surgery.
  4. I’ve never put my foot into a pair of high heels.
  5. I’ve had a gun pointed at me on two separate occasions.
  6. I have 13 tattoos with plans for more.

And here are two truths:

First of all, if you have read my personal about me section, you would know that #3 is in fact true; not that anyone has thought it wasn’t yet! This actually surprised me because when that somehow comes up in everyday life, people are usually shocked that I have had brain surgery! But, maybe you guys did some detective work before answering. ;-)

I couldn't miss a chance to throw out a Breakfast Club reference!

I couldn’t miss a chance to throw out a Breakfast Club reference!

And secondly, the other one that no one has guessed yet, #1 is also true. You guys just know I’m a rebel! ;-) I was a straight A, honor roll, Who’s Who, National Honor Society, student who hated school and cut class regularly! However, I also had an innocent face that came with a maturity teachers couldn’t help but like. The principal did assign me 33 hours of detention….but I only completed somewhere between 4-10! My health class teacher (a young guy), let me slide with grading papers for him a few days a week during lunch time. Yep. I had the sweet “I’ve never been in trouble before” look and it helped me countless times.

So, I hope those who haven’t had a chance will place their vote and see if they can guess the lie! So far, the majority is pretty confident that me never wearing heels is the winner….but what do YOU think?

Do You Think You’re Clever?

If so, then you will definitely want to play this little game with me! I’ve recently acquired a new blog crush, Aussa, from Hacker. Ninja. Hooker. Spy. She writes some real stuff, some funny stuff and some real, funny stuff. Lucky for me, she found me first, so when I went to check out her blog, I stumbled upon her “reveal” post for this game first and after reading, knew I had to play along. Beverley at Confuzzledom is also playing along!

Have you ever played the game 5 truths and 1 lie? I bet you have, but just in case, all you have to do is guess which one of these 6 things about me is a lie.

*****Please, if you happen to know me and know the answer, don’t ruin it for everyone. Just comment with your vote, but don’t reveal that you know it’s the right one :-)

Here we go!

  1. My senior year of high school I had 33 hours of detention from skipping class.
  2. I dated my driver’s education teacher and still can’t parallel park.
  3. I’ve had brain surgery.
  4. I’ve never put my foot into a pair of high heels.
  5. I’ve had a gun pointed at me on two separate occassions.
  6. I have 13 tattoos with plans for more.

Ok I seriously haven’t been able to get this song out of my head since I started this which definitely dates me….no judging. ;-) You know you love the Eurythmics!

So which one is the lie? I will admit, since my blog is pretty much G-rated, I didn’t bust out the real skeletons and shockers. But, I think there are still some fun ones up there!

Can’t wait to hear what you think! And if you want to join in this lying truth-telling game, GREAT! Come back and leave me a link to your post so I can read it and list it in my reveal!