Category Archives: Life in California

Devastating California Wildfires – Here is how you can help

Wildfires in California have kept a whole state on edge for the past few weeks.  While many fires have been contained, lots of people directly affected by the fires have to deal with the aftermath: homes and communities destroyed and people displaced.

Following the devastating news on wildfires ravaging particularly in Northern California but also in parts of Southern California, we want to help spread the word on how we all can pitch in and help by either donating money or our time as a volunteer.

List of Fire Relief Crowd funding campaigns and Community Foundations offering help:

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GO-FUND-ME -SPECIAL Page containing all verified campaigns to help with Fire Relief.

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Bay Area Unite for California Fire Relief  

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CNN – ‘Impact Your World ‘ – via Public Good

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Disaster Relief Santa Rosa Fire

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Sonoma County Resilience Fund

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Napa Valley Community Disaster Relief Fund

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FREE CLOTHES give away by San Francisco store Love on Haight 

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VOLUNTEERS – Red Cross is looking for volunteers.

If you live near Sonoma, Napa, Lake, Solano, Marin and Mendocino and are interested in volunteering to support wildfire relief efforts, please Apply Now!

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IN ORANGE COUNTY:

Influence Church is helping with shelter food and support

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Image: Pixabay.com


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I Scream, You Scream, Museum of Ice Cream

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I SCREAM, YOU SCREAM, MUSEUM OF ICE CREAM

Remember those museums where it is all about “don’t touch, just look” and “no photography”?  Luckily, since a couple of months now, there is a new fun and interactive place in town, where touching and making Instagram memories are highly encouraged (at least for the most part). Welcome to the Museum of Ice Cream!

Located right in the heart of the Arts District in Downtown Los Angeles, this interactive place of discovery totally defies the meaning of a traditional museum. The fun already starts before you even enter the place. Visitors are guided into a cute little garden right next to the facility, which is equipped with fun games like Cornhole and Jenga. The music is blasting, and you can’t help it but get in a happy mood.

The staff at this place is doing a wonderful job at keeping the crowds entertained and forgetting about everyday life at least for one afternoon. Once visitors are called to line up by the entrance, a certain amount of people are encouraged to participate in a Hula Hoop contest.  After all the hoops have touched the ground, it is finally time to enter the holy halls of the actual museum, but not without a quick briefing by one of the employees.

In my friend’s and my case, who had the honor of visiting this trending spot recently, this person had the funky name of Sprinkle Steve, a handsome twenty-something Zach Efron look-alike. After a quick reminder that people are allowed to touch everything except the popsicles and bananas, the really fun part starts: exploring the museum.

While I don’t want to give too much away in case some of you, dear readers, are anticipating visiting the Museum of Ice Cream yourself, I’d like to tell you this:

1) Your sweet tooth will definitely be satisfied. With samples of chocolate, ice cream, and gummy bears in almost every of the exhibit rooms, your taste buds will not be disappointed.

2) If you are a fan of photography and Instagram, this is the place to be.  Every room in the museum offers unique photo opportunities thanks to a ton of fun and interactive props.

3) This museum is very well organized and only lets a manageable amount of group sizes in at once.  Thanks to specific time slots you get when you purchase your ticket, the exhibit never feels too crowded, and you don’t have to wait in line for ever to capture the fun in pictures.

4) Be advised that tickets are currently sold out and, if they are available, sell out quickly.  It took me two tries until I was finally able to purchase tickets after I missed the newsletter announcement once.

If you are like me and like the out of the ordinary, then this is the place for you.  You will experience an afternoon where you are allowed to be a kid again in the colorful world of candy.

Life is short, eat that ice cream!

 

Images: Anne-Kathrin Schulte
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Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.

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GSC Banner 2017 August-OctoberFinal

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Santa Arrived Early This Year, But… Did He Get The Countries Mixed Up?

Santa Claus seems to have decided to start delivering Christmas gifts early this year.

At least that’s how Santa Claus, Inc. and Youth Enrichment Services (YES!) must have felt when they received a truckload of about 2000 (!) Scrabble games and 1000 Dice Games from their largest national donor Mattel.

Not only was this an overwhelmingly large amount of Scrabble and Dice games but they turned out to be all in GERMAN! Did Santa get the countries mixed up?

Unsure about what exactly caused this unexpected gift to their non-profit, Santa Claus, Inc. in San Bernardino decided to let Christmas gifting start early for German Schools all around Los Angeles and beyond.

Tirelessly Santa Claus, Inc. has been contacting several German schools since then, hoping to donate some of the games and to make some young German language learners happy.

To their surprise playing Santa has not been all that easy!  Gifting German Scrabble games has turned into a much more challenging undertaking.

Only a few of  Southern California German schools followed the calling. The German American School Association (GASA) had the right idea and chartered a small van to pick up a truckload of games at the charity and so did German Pacific School of San Diego (GPSSD). However, about 1000 games still remain begging to get picked up.

To all German schools out thereScrabble is a perfect game to help your students improve and learn German the fun and engaging way. It helps practice vocabulary and encourages conversation on top of it.

So what are you waiting for? Contact Santa Claus Inc. and get your German Scrabble games today!

Contact: karen.dicarlo@santaclausinc.com


Introducing Santa Claus, Inc. and Youth Enrichment Services (YES!) 

Santa Claus, Inc. provides critical assistance to children in the Inland Empire by supporting and strengthening the family unit through its community based programs. Through its 65 year existence Santa Claus, Inc. has dedicated its mission to over 1,000,000 children in need throughout local communities. Santa Claus, Inc. operates with a core group of approximately 300 volunteers, a staff of two fulltime and two part time employees, and through the generosity of local and national businesses and community partners. In 2016 Santa Claus, Inc. served over 100,000 children, over 500% more than in 2012. Mattel is one of Santa Claus, Inc.’s largest national donors.


Image: Pixabay.com

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Oktoberfest in Germany Versus California

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OKTOBERFEST IN GERMANY VERSUS CALIFORNIA

For many Germans, the most wonderful time of the year is back – the German Oktoberfest.  For two weeks, from September 16th till October 3rd, people from all over the world will be visiting the most well-known German festival in Munich.  From 1810, when the Oktoberfest was founded until today, the festival has become one of the most popular ones around the world.

Visitors in traditional Trachten (women in Dirndls and men in Lederhosen) can enjoy the atmosphere in various big and small beer tents that serve the notorious Mass, a one liter beer.  I have been to the original Oktoberfest once when I was 18. One of my best friends from High School and I decided to do a road trip to Stuttgart, where my friend had relatives.

Those relatives happened to have plans to visit the Oktoberfest that year, and so they invited us along.  Before that day, I only had caught glimpses and impressions of the festival from magazines and documentaries on TV.  Since I knew that a lot of German celebrities attended the event each year, I was intrigued to check out the hype myself.

My friend’s relatives luckily had a table reserved in the VIP area of one of the beer tents.  Unlike the majority of guests, we weren’t dressed up at all. I can still remember the anticipation I felt walking up to the beer tent, feeling somewhat special due to the fact we wouldn’t have to wait in line like the poor souls who weren’t blessed with a table reservation like us.

But once we entered the sacred inside, I felt a slight breeze of disappointment coming my way.  It was crowded.  It was stuffy.  It was loud.  Don’t get me wrong- of course I knew that there would be a ton of people, which would automatically result in a lot of noise.

But for me, it was just too over the top.  I didn’t catch a glimpse of any hot and poppin’ celebrities because there were none there (I guess our tent wasn’t really a hotspot for the stars) nor did I get into the German folklore music that was blasting out of the speakers.

Once we were seated at our table, I felt a little bit more comfortable since it was way back in the corner of the tent, and we weren’t surrounded by the immense crowds of people. The moment my mood improved for the better was when we decided to get food.

I have always been a foodie, so it was a no brainer for me to give the traditional Munich cuisine a try. I went with one of the typical Bavarian dishes: white sausage with sweet mustard and pretzel.  Once the food was served I started to enjoy the atmosphere a little.

The food was delicious, and I was fascinated by how the Oktoberfest servers managed to carry about ten Mass at the same time while squeezing through the tight crowds.   I personally declined to drink one of the famous one liter beers, but I was impressed by how others were able to chug them down. After a while, my friend and I had soaked in enough of the beer tent experience and decided to partake in the hustle and bustle outside.

Besides the many beer tents, the Oktoberfest also hosted a fair with carnival rides, games, and food booths.  While I am usually a big advocate for these things, I wasn’t feeling it at all that day.  It was just too crowded, and the fact that the side lawns were occupied by drunkards who were passed out on the grass just killed the vibe for us.  We eventually decided to take off and declared the Oktoberfest as a personal no-go.

I never returned to the original event in Germany, but I decided to give an American Oktoberfest in Orange County a chance. This time, I only went with Americans.  And what can I say; I ended up having a blast.  The event started out slow in the beginning, but we had arrived fairly early to avoid the entrance fee, and not many people had showed up yet.

But as the night progressed, the event got busier (not as crazy as the uber-crowded tents in Munich) and my friends and I enjoyed participating in activities such as the chicken dance and the polonaise.  I first was hesitant about joining in the dancing fun until one fellow German guy came up to me and asked me to dance.  It turned out that he was living and working in Irvine, and we had an instant connection.

The rest of the night felt like it was progressing in fast forward.  As they say, time does fly by when you are having fun.  The band that played German folklore kept an upbeat rhythm all night, and games such as beer chug kept the crowd entertained.  My newfound German friend and I enjoyed dancing and talking together, and we later on exchanged information to set up a date aside from the Oktoberfest.

I did return another year, that time with a couple German friends in tow.  They were all a little hesitant of what to think about the Americanized version, but we still had a good time together. As of now, that was the last time I attended any kind of Oktoberfest.  But I hope all of you who are going to the original one in Munich or here in the U.S. are going to have a wonderful time and get to experience this well-known part of German culture if you wish so.

A little fun fact: The term O’ Zapft is translated means “it’s tapped.  According to the Oxford Dictionary, “At noon on the first day of Oktoberfest, the Mayor of Munich traditionally taps the first keg of beer, exclaiming the above phrase, which marks the official opening of the festival,” (http://blog.oxforddictionaries.com)

Images: pixabay.com
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Anne-KathrinAnne-Kathrin Schulte, is a contributor for CaliforniaGermans.com. She writes on her personal experience of the American Dream as well as on working as an au pair in CA. She was born and grew up in Düsseldorf, Germany, where she completed her degree as a state-approved Kindergarten teacher. After her au pair engagement in the US and a quick return to Germany she decided to attend university in California and moved back to the United States. She has been living in Southern California since 2011.

If you would like to contact Anne-Kathrin, please send an email to californiagermans(at)gmail.com and place her name in the subject line.

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German Cities with Different Names in English

by Kate Müser

A native German speaker might struggle with the pronunciation of Connecticut, Tucson or my birth city, La Jolla. And I often hear them say Chicago with Tsch- rather than Sch-.

And, thanks to all the Germans who helped build the US, we have borrowed a whole number of Germany-inspired city names, like Germantown, Tennessee, or Carlsbad, California.

But the German language doesn’t contain alternative deutsche terms for US cities. Sän Diego? Nüjork? You won’t see those written anywhere.

English, on the other hand, has its own collection of anglicized references to many – though not all – German cities. Usually the English versions conveniently avoid the most difficult letters in the German language: Ä, Ö and Ü.

Here is a closer look at some of the German cities that have gotten revamped names, or pronunciations, in English.

By the way, this video was suggested by my YouTube viewers. If you would like to see a video on a particular topic, leave a comment below the video and let me know!

©KateMüser

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Kate Müser, who grew up in Pleasanton, California, was surprised to discover that she feels even closer to her home state now than she did when she first moved to Bonn, Germany, over 13 years ago.

She is the creator of the successful YouTube series #thoseGermans and the portrait series #germany24. Visit Kate’s YouTube channel at youtube.com/katemuser and her website, justkate.de.

For over a decade, Kate has been a TV, radio and online journalist at Deutsche Welle, where she currently hosts the video series Meet the Germans with Kate and the TV show PopXport.

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