Tag Archives: Tradition

Looking back at the 2017 Oktoberfest in Munich – A Report in Pictures

Auf Wiedersehen Oktoberfest

– A photo of Matthias-Pschorr Strasse from the Bavaria Statue –

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Greetings from the Wiesn!   For more than two hundred years, the Oktoberfest has been the highlight of Munich’s calendar, and is considered the world’s largest folk festival.  This year, the weather has been very cooperative so far, with mostly fair weather greeting the estimated three million visitors to the Theresienwiese in just the first week and a half.  By the end of the 18 days, an estimated 6.2 million visitors enjoyed the Wiesn.

Typical food offerings like Hendl, Brezn, and Spätzle have been abundant, and a wide variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes are also available in many tents.  In the Ochsenbraterei, sixty (60) Ox were already cooked and served by the Fest midpoint (in comparison to 55 by the same time last year), and by the end of the Fest, 127 had been served!

This was my second time auf die Wiesn;  I was out here last year for the marriage of two dear friends, and their celebration coincided with Oktoberfest, so it was practically a requirement that we make a trip to the Wiesn part of my visit.  I immediately knew that I’d be returning again and again, and that I would want to share my experience with others.

A quick tour of the perimeter to get a feel for the Stimmung of the fest revealed the usual revelry and an abundance of souvenirs including the famed Gingerbread Hearts (Lebkuchenherzen).

– One of the more robust offerings of Lebkuchenherzen –
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We then made our way to the Ochsenbraterei for lunch and a Maß, and while the Ochsenbraterei is best known for its meat offerings, there were substantial vegetarian offerings noted on the menu.

– The front entrance to the famed Ochsenbraterei –
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– Interior of the Ochsenbraterei, which seats nearly 6000 people (with another 1600 outside seats) –
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– Rows of empty mugs await filling –
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– Hungry fest-goers are served –
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Our next stop was the Löwenbräu Festzelt, where we enjoyed a bit more food and a change in atmosphere.  Even at 5pm, the mood in the tent was starting to change, but it was almost on cue at 6pm, when the tent felt more crowded, and more and more people began singing and dancing on the benches.  The “Oktoberfest-Barometer” (available via the official Oktoberfest App) can predict when the Wiesn might be busiest, and the App can also inform on how full various tents are.  The App can be downloaded from http://www.muenchen.de/app .

– The front entrance of the Löwenbrau-Festzelt, which seats 5700 inside and another 2800 outside) –
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 -The interior of the Löwenbräu-Festzelt –
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– A tray of food headed to hungry fest-goers at the Löwenbrau-Festzelt –
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 – Traditional breads, including the giant Breze –
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– Festgoers in Tracht in the Löwenbräu-Festzelt –
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–  The servers working hard to keep everyone happy, with just a few of the estimated 7.5 Million Maß served –
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One of the treats this year was the Oide Wiesn – a traditional and historical corner of the Wiesn.  An estimated 480,000 visitors enjoyed this look back into history as well as the constant cultural performances in the Festzelt Tradition like partnerdances, Schuhplattler Dances, and the Whip cracking (Goasslschnalzer).

– Festzelt Tradition, with a capacity of 5000 inside (and an additional 2700 outside) features a large dance floor for performances –
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– Festzelt Tradition offered more traditional feel and plenty of Tracht –
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– The Alphorn performance was a crowd favorite –
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This year’s Fest ended on 03 October 2017, and I’m already looking forward to kicking off next year’s event on Saturday, 15 October 2018.  For more information about Oktoberfest, you can visit the official site at http://www.oktoberfest.eu.

Until then, Prost!

All Images: Copyright ©2017 http://www.splitsecondimaging.com

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Christopher Chin is an accomplished underwater videographer and writer who has traveled extensively and speaks several languages. He studied German at the University of California, Berkeley, and quickly fell in love with the German language, culture and people. In early 2006, Christopher co-founded The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education (COARE), and currently serves as its Executive Director.

Christopher is an internationally recognized expert in ocean policy and conservation issues, and has provided valuable and persuasive testimony to various governing and legislative bodies in the U.S. and in Canada, and he has had the privilege of addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations on two separate occasions.

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O’zapft is! Find Your Oktoberfest in California

This Saturday, September 16th, it’s official: It’s Oktoberfest Time!

At 12 noon (CET), Munich’s mayor will tap the first Oktoberfest-beer-barrel and exclaim “O’zapft is” !  And the ‘world’s largest beer festival’ can begin!

But you don’t have to fly to Munich to get into Oktoberfest mood. We have quite a few choices to celebrate Oktoberfest here in California, too. If you live in Northern California or Southern California, you for sure will find some Oktoberfest festivity even close by your neighborhood.

We highlighted a few ‘Oktoberfests’, that we thought might peak your interest.  Check them out below!


Souther California

PHOENIX CLUB – Anaheim SoCal

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The Phoenix Club in Anaheim features Orange County’s oldest and most authentic Oktoberfest.  OKTOBERFEST 2017 will take place every weekend Sept 22-Oct 29!

Join the party and enjoy authentic delicious German food (including Schweinshaxen and bread dumpling), Great selection of Imported German beer on tap, Polkas and Prosts in our 12,000 sq. ft. Festzelt and an acre of Biergarten. “We will have you Partying like a German!”

Traditional bands play every day!  Our Schuhplattler perform Saturdays and Sundays. The special events on the first weekend include the Official Keg Tapping Ceremony and the Opening Parade.

SHOOTING GALLERY: Our Phoenix Schützen (traditional air rifle club) will have their rifle range open to the public on Saturdays (6:00 PM) and Sundays (1:00 PM) Oct. 1 – Oct 29.

PONY RIDES: Our Neighbors at the Del Rio Stables and Equestrian Center will host $5.00 Pony Rides for the kids all Sundays in October.·         

Choo-Choo: Sundays are family days, free choo-choo rides noon to 4pm, free balloon artist one noon to 4pm

ADMISSION:  $10  -Adults on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Phoenix Club members with card $5 –  under 18 enter FREE!

WHEN: Sept. 22 – Oct 29, 2017

WHERE: 1340 S. Sanderson Avenue, Anaheim, CA 92806

Special Music Entertainment: Various bands will perform. The local band The Express Band, Alt Rosenheim Schuhplattler and Goassischalzer from Bavaria, Germany; Musikapelle Rottenbuch from Bavaria, Germany and Odenwäder Dirndljaeger from Bavaria, Germany


Oktoberfest at JEANETTE’s EDELWEISS in Newbury Park

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Jeanette’s Edelweiss is starting Oktoberfest the original way. Like in Munich also here Oktoberfest is rung in by the official tapping of the first beer keg. Instead of the mayor of Munich it will be the Consul General of Germany, Joerg Neumann, who will perform the traditional ceremony on Saturday, September 16 at 4pm.

Oktoberfest Season at Jeanette’s Edelweiss will be from 9/16/17 – 10/29/17 and Jeanette’s Edelweiss Polka Band will play polka and authentic German Oktoberfest tunes. Live Oktoberfest Tunes and International Music with Festmeister Hans & Accordion Diva Gigi will be part of it as well. Prepare yourself for lot’s of dancing, fun & Oktoberfest games and the following seasonal events:

Every FRI & SAT – 5 pm: Munich style Oktoberfest Party with Fun, Games and Live Music by the Jeanette’s Edelweiss Polka Band featuring Festmeister Hans.

Every Sunday 4 pm: Family Fun Oktoberfest. Kids Oktoberfest with Gigi & Festmeister Hans. Games & Fun for the family.

Every Thursday 5 pm: Oktoberfest Party!

Besides Oktoberfest entertainment be ready for a real German culinary feast. Jeanette’s Edelweiss features authentic German cuisines by renowned German Chef Rocco Suckert from Cologne, Germany. Everything from German brats, Schnitzel, Sauberbraten, Ham Hocks, Rouladen and of course Pretzels and Gingerbread hearts can be yours! And you’ll have the choice of 12 imported German beers on draft.

WHEN: Sept.16 – Oct. 29, 2017

WHERE: 2160A Newbury Road, Newbury Park

Admission: FREE  – But Advanced Reservations are Recommended!  Reserve your table: info@JeanettesEdelweiss.com (or 805-498-7300).


EL CAJON Oktoberfest – San Diego County’s oldest and most traditional Oktoberfest

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The German American Societies of San Diego invite to their yearly traditional Oktoberfest! Two weekends full of authentic foods and original entertainment.

Come and enjoy authentic German food, such as bratwurst, ox-on-the-spit, potato salad, potato pancakes, sauerkraut, red cabbage, pretzels, and a variety of German pastries. There will be  a great selection of German beers and liquors, and soft drinks and water, to enjoy with your friends and family!

Listen to the original group “The Guggenbach-Buam”, who came all the way out from Baden-Württemberg, Germany. These talented, entertaining musicians dress in traditional clothing, and play a variety of German music, just as you would hear in the beer gardens in Bavaria. Enjoy songs such as the chicken dance, polkas and waltzes, and all the famous beer-drinking tunes. 

Watch traditional folk dancing performances, compete in our numerous games and contests, check out vendor and craft booths, and treat your kids to their own Kids’ Zone! Bring your family and friends to El Cajon and experience a real German Oktoberfest!

Admission:   $10 Friday and Saturdays; $5 Sundays.

WHEN:  Sept. 29, 30 and October 1 & October 6, 7 and 8, 2017

WHERE: German American Societies, 1017 S. Mollison Avenue, El Cajon, 92020


NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

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Oktoberfest at ESTHER’s GERMAN BAKERY in Palo Alto

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Esther’s German Bakery is celebrating  its 10th annual Oktoberfest !

Oktoberfest – Kick off is around noon on Saturday, September 30th.

Outside on the front patio you’ll see the food tent serving the Oktoberfest menu and plenty of tables for trying the seasonal Oktoberfest beers.  If you like more shade, check out our ‘Biergarten’  in the back.

For entertainment Esther’s German Bakery will have a favorite local German band playing festival songs from 3:00 – 8:00pm. Traditional German beer games are on the plan all night long. Come and meet some neighbors and celebrate Oktoberfest the traditional way!

On Sunday, in case you missed Saturday’s main event, the bakery will be hosting their Hangover Brunch. Both the front patio and back biergarten will be open. It’ll be back to the daily menu then, but you’ll still have plenty of seasonal beer choices and tasty German treats, and German music will of course welcome you inside. Make it an Oktoberfest weekend!!!

WHEN: Oktoberfest Day is on Saturday Sept.30 with the ‘Hangover Brunch’ following Oct. 1, 2017

WHERE: 987 N San Antonio Rd, Los Altos, CA 94022

Entrance: Free


SCHUG WINERY – SONOMA – The Oktoberfest serving wine!

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Beer is not your thing, but you love wine? Try the Oktoberfest (Wine-Fest) at Schug Winery in Sonoma. Owned by a German family, Schug Winery is proud to invite to an Oktoberfest of their own kind. The winery was founded by Walter Schug, who came to CA in the 60’s to make wine European style.

Overlooking the Sonoma Valley you’ll be sipping Federweißer and enjoy plenty of traditional Oktoberfest entertainment. Get ready for Polka and accordion music, raffles for adults and children, a photo booth, Bean Bag Toss and more, while indulging on German specialties like Zwiebelkuchen, German cucumber salad, potato salad, German apple strudel, sausages, and of course fresh pretzels.

Children will love the Arts & Crafts tables and will go home with a free pumpkin! Special: Polkageist West is lined up for our live music.

WHEN: Sept 30 from 11am- 3:30pm

WHERE: 602 Bonneau Road in Sonoma, CA 95476.

Entrance: $50 (kids 12 and under free!)   – Ticket link : http://www.schugwinery.com/


OAKLAND NATURE FRIENDS – Oktoberfest 2017

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Die Naturfreunde Oakland invite to their yearly Oktoberfest in Oakland on October 1st, 2017!

It’s their biggest festival of the year!  So, get ready for fun Oktoberfest entertainment while taking in stunning views of the Bay area. Authentic German food, beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase throughout the day.

Entertainment:

MUSIC & DANCING: The Bajuk Trio with the Schuhplattler Dancers performing a variety of German and Austrian folk dances. Music starts at 1pm. Let your dance out!

OTHER ACTIVITIES: horseshoes | board games | candy roulette | playground | or just lounge in our alpine-style sun chairs soaking up the wunderbaren views of the SF Bay!

ADMISSION: $15 per adult (free for kids under 14). (Discount code “earlybird” available for a limited time.)

BUY TICKETS online or show up early to ensure entry!

PLEASE BRING CASH: Cash is the preferred method of payment. We do not accept debit cards or checks at the Oakland Nature Friends Club on the day of the event. There is no ATM on the premises.

PARKING: Parking in the ONF lot is free but fills up quickly so arrive early. However, there is plenty of additional parking on Joaquin Miller Drive. We provide a free shuttle bus service (1PM to 5PM every 15 minutes) that will drive guests from the intersection of Butters and Joaquin Miller (near the fire station) to the festival grounds and back again. 


MORE OKTOBERFEST:

Placerville Oktoberfest – Sacramento

Come Dance Zee Polka at the 7th Annual Placerville Oktoberfest on Historic Main Street Placerville

Placerville, CA, September 8, 2017—Come dance zee polka at the 7th Annual Placerville Oktoberfest on historic Main Street in Placerville on Saturday, September 16th from 3-8pm—presented by the Placerville Downtown Association.

WHEN: September 16th, 2017

Entrance : FREE


Oktoberfest at GACC – German American Chamber of Commerce in San Francisco 

For the fifth time the German American Chamber of Commerce will bring Germany’s most famous fest to the Bay Area.

Enjoy a night of delicious German food andOktoberfest beer, provided by Ludwig’s German Table.   Blow Musik! will set the right tone with their traditional Bavarian polkas and our headliner Bayern Maiden will rock the house once more!

WHEN: September 28th, 2017, 5pm-10pm
WHERE: Fort Mason, San Francisco

Admission: Buy your ticket online 


 Oktoberfest at Los Lagos Golf Course
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LLGC in partnership with Gordon Biersch is bringing Munich’s famed festival to the San Jose community for all to enjoy!!  Live German music, dancing, traditional food, and beer!
Band: The Deutscher Musikverein  (SFgermanband.org)
WHEN:Saturday, October 14, 2017, 05:00pm – 09:00pm
WHERE: Los Lagos Golf Course, 2995 Tuers Road, San Jose, CA 95121
ADMISSION: $20.00 includes food, 2 beer samplers, and music! Tickets online at www.playloslagos.com under Event Registration.

Enegren Brewing Oktoberfest in Moorpark
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Enegren Brewing Co. features authentic German Food with BIGGER BETTER PRETZELS and German music all day long with the German band Hazelnuss-Das Music .  Make sure to get there early for the official barrel tapping of our Oktoberfest Märzen Lager and to get your limited edition steins!
WHEN: Saturday October 7th: 11am – 10pm
WHERE: 444 Zachary St, #120, Moorpark, CA 93021
ADMISSION: Free

Oktoberfest in Downtown Los Angeles

Oktoberfest DTLA is not your traditional Oktoberfest. You’ll find local breweries and California beers, but you can also still grab an authentic German Beer from Paulaner, the #1 Oktoberfest beer in the world! Food varies from traditional bratwursts and pretzels to Thai-Mexican fusion.  Lot’s of music entertainment: Music ranges from awesome local bands like The Tom Nolan Band and rockabilly groups to beat boxers, with Hazelnuss Das Music band closing both nights to get everyone dancing to some awesome Oktoberfest tunes.

WHEN: October 21 & 22, 2017 (12pm -18pm)

WHERE: Pershing Square, 532 South Olive Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013

ADMISSION: General admission is Free, and all ages are welcome. Tasting packages will be available for sale, but you’re free to come and just enjoy the music as well.


Oktoberfest at Old World Huntington Beach

WHEN: Sept. 10 – Oct. 29, 2017

WHERE: 7561 Center Ave., Huntington Beach

Admission: $7-$25 tickets online or at the door


Oktoberfest at Alpine Village Torrance

WHEN: Sept 8 – Oct 28, 2017

WHERE: 833 W Torrance Blvd, Torrance, CA 90502

Admission: $10- $60 tickets online or at the door


Images: Copyright ©All Images are property of the respective organization, Phoenix Club, Jeanette’s Edelweiss, German American Societies of San Diego, Esther’s German Bakery, Schug Winery, Oakland Nature Friends.

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Pfingsten (Pentecost) – A Holiday Observed in Germany

“Pfingstrose”

Today is ‘Pfingstsonntag’ (Pentecost Sunday) and unless you attend a church service you most likely won’t know about it. Unlike Germany, the US doesn’t observe this day as a holiday.  In Germany on the other hand even ‘Pfingstmontag’ (the Monday following Pentecost Sunday) is part of the holiday and offices, markets etc. are closed.

For us as children growing up in Germany, ‘Pfingsten’ meant starting a two-week vacation and once ‘Pfingstferien’, Pentecost vacation, was over, we knew the end of the school year was near as well. ‘Pfingsten’ with its warmer and sunnier weather rang in the summer for us, even if the date didn’t coincide with the official date of the summer solstice.

Commonly used expressions that incorporate ‘Pfingsten’ are the ‘Pfingstochse’ and the ‘Pfingstrose’. A ‘Pfingstochse’ we call someone, who is far overdressed and seems to be adorned like the ox, that was leading its herd to the green pastures in the mountains for the first time in the year and, as part of this tradition, was festively adorned with bows, bells and such.

‘Pfingstrose’ is the flower ‘peony’ in English. Even though not actually a rose the ‘Pfingstrose’ is reminiscent of a rose in its beauty and color, and most of the time starts flowering just about the time when Pentecost is happening.

Frohe Pfingsten!

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Image: ©CaliforniaGermans


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My Easter Tradition

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MY EASTER TRADITION

Back in the days when I was a little kid and living in Germany, Easter was one of my favorite holidays.  I loved believing in the Easter bunny, which would come out early in the morning to hide eggs, candy, and toys all around the house and backyard.

My family’s tradition consisted of going to church in the morning, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Once the service was over I remember how excited I usually became, knowing there were lots of surprises waiting at home for my sister and I.  My mother was usually the one hiding all the Easter goodies the night before, but when I was little I truly believed that the Easter bunny was doing all the hard work.

At a certain age I knew that my parents were the ones behind everything, but I still didn’t mind hunting for toys and candy.  It was such a blast, especially since we had a three story home with a small yard, so there were lots of hiding spots.  Once all the surprises were collected, us kids usually inspected everything and tested the new toys.

After the first excitement of the hunt eventually subsided, it was time for brunch.  For that, we usually had a big family gathering either at a hotel or restaurant, where a buffet was offered.  It was the perfect solution and suited everybody’s taste.  Also, since we were a group of about ten people, none of our family members had to stand in the kitchen for hours.  My family is actually still holding up that tradition, just nowadays without me since I moved to the United States.

Since I have been living in America, I have been celebrating Easter, if at all, very differently.  My first Easter in the states was back in 2012, when I was living with a family that had two young children.

One year, I remember I prepared Easter baskets for them that were filled with chocolates and small toys.  I left them on the kitchen table with a note, wishing them a Happy Easter while they were out and about.  The next year, I went to a family gathering with them, but it was still not the same as back in my childhood days.

The following years, I wasn’t celebrating the Holiday at all, and if I wouldn’t have seen it marked in my calendar, I would have had no idea what date Easter was that year.  It just felt different for me over here, I can’t really explain why, but I didn’t have such a connection as I had back in Europe growing up.

Last year marked the first time in a while where I had an Easter experience somewhat similar to my childhood days.  You can describe it as the adult version of what the tradition for us kids looked like.  My now-roommate was house sitting at a beautiful home, fully equipped with a pool and hot tub.

Since she introduced a brunch tradition to her friends many years ago, she extended the invite to me, and I was more than happy to accept since I missed the family Easter brunch gatherings.

It was a beautiful Sunday, the sun was shining, and my roommates’ friends and I started arriving at the location one after another.  Entering the house, I could already smell eggs, bacon (that was the time I was still eating meat), and pancakes.

We gathered around the backyard, some people hanging out in a hammock, others in the hot tub, pool, and benches all around, while the two dogs of the homeowners kept roaming around us.

We had a great time talking, eating, and enjoying the sun together until it was time for the annual beer hunt. Yes, my roommate upgraded the traditional egg hunt to a fun-filled beer hunt, where all of us participants received a beer carton and had to find as many beers as would fit into it.

All the while knowing how clumsy I am, especially when it comes to handling fragile items such as glass, I entered this content with caution, but finished with no further incidents.

After all beer bottles were found, all participants sat back outside with their precious findings, looking forward to indulge into the liquid goodies.  I was sitting in the sun, sipping on my drink when I decided it was getting too hot and wanted to move into the shade, of course not without my cargo.

What I did not consider was that my beer carton, which was soaked up on the bottom with water from the pool, had become a little fragile.  I lifted it up, not supporting the bottom with my hands, and sure enough, it made a quick rip and all remaining bottles smashed on the concrete ground.

Everyone was staring very surprised and quietly at the mess I just had created, until some of us were able to digest the shock a little and got up to clean up the glass.  Oh well, since I am not a big drinker anyways I wasn’t too upset I wasn’t able to drink more, but I did feel very bad about the broken glass all over the floor.

My roommate did invite me again to this year’s Easter brunch/ beer hunt, but luckily I will be up in LA this time, hopefully not breaking anything.  However all of you who are celebrating or not celebrating the Holiday, I wish you a very Happy Easter!

Image: 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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