Forging Documents

We got a letter in the mail today. A scary notice with a few cryptic lines of German legalese. The more we translated the more terrifying it became. I actually still don’t know what it says but hope we’ll find out tomorrow. The scary bit though is that it says someone else signed over property on our behalf…. but we can’t seem to figure out what property and have no idea who was the signatory.

I doubt it’s a forged document. Most likely just another example of a process we don’t really understand.

However, Alex the Intern and I are gearing up to forge some documents in the next couple of days. We need to create some wiretap transcripts, Interpol documents and lots of surveillance photos. Most of it will just be background detail in a few shots of our trailer. But getting the details right is fun. As is all the silly little nonsense we’ll get to hide in the documents.

ExPat Life… Just let me pay!

Living overseas can be complicated. I saw this today, and laughed really hard:

What’s Germany like? Well, it’s like I’ve had a stroke. I cannot talk.

I’ve had a bit of a cross-cultural day…

Today, Alex the Intern and I went out and filmed most of the day in the rain so that we can put up a new vlog tomorrow. Then I rushed home to order the parts for the new editing machine, hoping that they’ll get here early next week, and just maybe today can be the last time I have to transcode all my footage to prores before I can start editing…

We had an interesting experience at lunch. Alex was surprised to notice lemon in his soda (it’s awesome, they should do this everywhere). I was surprised when our waitress wanted to talk about American Football.

But the trouble began when I went to finish my computer part order. To keep costs down, I wound up splitting my order between Amazon Germany and another vendor. By doing it that way, I literally saved nearly 500 Euros. I order from Amazon all the time, so that was just a click of a button. This other vendor though… They offered PayPal. I use that a lot too. Great. I click PayPal, choose the account I want to use and… it doesn’t work. Because my billing address — in the United States for PayPal — didn’t match my shipping address here in Germany.

This is a constant problem. We have bills that need to be paid in the States, and we make trips back every few years and so it’s important for us to have US methods of payment. But we also live in Germany and the German way of paying for things is often quite different.

No big deal. I figured I could just set my billing and shipping addresses on the site before the PayPal transaction. But that didn’t work either because the site only allowed EU addresses.

Brandy produced our one and only German credit card. So, I started looking at my other payment options.  This shop offered a manual bank transfer, three different types of automated bank transfer, PayPal, and taking out a loan for 200 Euros to finance the purchase.

Here’s the thing. I have the money for this purchase sitting in a business account. As soon as I make it, I can fill out an expense report, but I can’t directly pay for it. So I either needed to use more than 1000 Euros from my bank account or make PayPal work.

Years ago, I set up a separate German PayPal. I don’t use it very much because it only really draws funds from my German bank account, and I can’t put any US-based card onto my German account. But, I did finally manage to add the German credit card to the German PayPal account and complete the transaction. I just couldn’t help but think how very simple this all would have been in English and in the USA.

But it’s okay. Just drop another lemon wedge in my soda and we’re all good Germany. I still love you.

Have you ever lived outside your home culture? What sorts of things do you love and what do you miss?


Pinterest Food Day and Family Far Away


Chicken parmesan stuffed garlic bread… Not bad, but I think regular chicken farm with garlic bread would be better.

Today we celebrated our second “Pinterest¬†Food Day.” Basically, we find tasty looking recipes on the internet and spend the day making and sampling them. It’s a fun excuse to hang around together and eat yummy stuff. Here are a few of the things we made:

Continue reading “Pinterest Food Day and Family Far Away”


Change has always been a fixture in my life. As a military kid, we moved every few years throughout my childhood. I actually attended three different high schools and moved right before the start of my senior year. A lot of people are horrified when they hear that, but to me it was normal.

After Brandy and I got married, we settled down in Colorado Springs for about nine years. That was the longest I’d ever been in one place. Sometimes, it was hard. That desire to move on, to change, to do something else pulled at me. It was almost like an itch. Although with each passing year the comfort of the familiar became less alien.

This Spring we will have been living in Kandern for ten years. Two of our kids have graduated from High School here, and Faith will be starting her senior year in the Fall. Profound change is a constant in this life we lead, but we have some fixtures: friends, a home, things that feel steady and familiar.

But all things change. In the next few years, a lot of the ties that have bound us to this place will be severed. The Totalization treaty that exists between the U.S. and Germany will force us to leave for another 366 days, and we’ll arrive at that magical moment in our German mortgage where we can sell without penalty or commit to another ten years.

The moment will be ripe to make a change. But should we? Is it the prompting of the Holy Spirit, or just that old itch? I’m not sure. We’d love to have your prayers as we try to figure it out.

Do you ever feel the need to move? To go somewhere new? Have you ever felt God calling you somewhere that you weren’t sure you wanted to go?

Christmas Banquet

This was written yesterday, but didn’t get posted.

I’m sitting in a plush chair, my laptop glowing at me as Christmas music roars out of the kitchen to my left. Up the stairs I can hear a mixture of proclamations and the tinkling giggles of sixteen year olds doing their makeup. Tonight is Christmas Banquet a Black Forest Academy. In my mind, it’s an analog of Homecoming. It’s the first semi-formal of the year, open to all four grades, much is made over who is going with whom.

Suddenly, it hits me that we don’t have a Christmas tree yet. My world spins a bit. This past week is foggy and distant. Some combination of stress, allergy medication and lack of sleep has me particularly out of sorts.

I’m here trying to write a blog post, because I haven’t gotten that job done well the last several days. But in truth, I’ve no idea where this is heading. A bit of stream of consciousness meandering to…..

And now I’ll distract you from my utterly vacuous ramblings with all of these lovely ladies.