Education

American mom living in Germany dispels myths about living overseas

Living abroad is something that many folks dream of, even if only for a brief period of time.

American mom living in Germany dispels myths about living overseas

Platz der Republik, Berlin, Germany.

Living abroad is something that many folks dream of, even if only for a brief period of time. There are college programs specifically for people who want to study abroad to gain worldly experience, but some people want to live in other countries for reasons other than studying and actually make the leap. In America we’re taught from a fairly young age that America is the best country in the world, and everyone wants to live here, but some people who have lived in other countries are challenging that notion. Aly is a mom who emigrated to Germany nearly three years ago after giving up her job as a professor only months away from making tenure, and she has no regrets.

Aly runs the TikTok account USA Mom in Germany where she educates her followers on some of the major differences between living in the U.S. and living in Germany. She explains in one video how in America she experienced homelessness and food insecurity as a single mother, and makes TikToks to “combat U.S. propaganda.” She goes on to say in the video that “the only way that things are going to change in the U.S. is if people understand that there are different countries, governments, and social systems that work better.”


In her videos she answers questions asked by followers, but also addresses other comparisons, such as the difference in the cost of daycare. In a video that has more than 180,000 likes, she shares the bill she received from her daughter’s daycare, which shows the breakdown for the year. Aly doesn’t talk in the video, but her comment section is filled with shocked reactions at the realization that she only pays $1,856 a year for childcare. One commenter said “not me thinking this was monthly and it sounding right,” complete with an uncomfortably smiling sweat bead emoji. People were in disbelief that her childcare broke down to less than $160 a month, with another person who lives in Germany stating they still felt like the cost Aly pays is too high.

Even baby formula costs a vastly different amount between the two countries. The mom shows a box of formula that in the United States would generally cost about $25, but in Germany the same amount of formula of the best brand you can buy costs the equivalent of $6. Aly doesn’t stop at baby stuff and cost comparisons, she even combats the difference in history being taught in both countries, and shares that German students in grades 11 through 13 learn about current U.S. propaganda that includes U.S. exceptionalism and the American dream, according to excerpts shared by the former professor. The book “The American Dream in the 21st Century: Continuity and Change” by Peter Bruck is the textbook used to teach these high schoolers about the U.S. and, according to Aly, if you search the name of the book with the word “arbitur” behind it, worksheets and study guides will pop up.

@usa.mom.in.germany

USA 🇺🇸 propaganda in Germany 🇩🇪 #livingingermany #germanyvsusa #teachersoftiktok #americandream

Learning how the U.S. is viewed from the outside is an interesting journey, and Aly makes it her mission to not only dispel the narrative that she believed when moving to Germany, but the beliefs of her followers. The mom of three is currently studying German, and has no plans to return to the United States due to many of the reasons she outlines in her videos, including not having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to send her children to college and feelings of safety while her children are in school. Aly doesn’t paint the U.S. as all bad, but for her, the benefits of living abroad outweigh those of her experience of living in America.

Joy

Meet Eva, the hero dog who risked her life saving her owner from a mountain lion

Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva when a mountain lion suddenly appeared.

Photo by Didssph on Unsplash

A sweet face and fierce loyalty: Belgian Malinois defends owner.

The Belgian Malinois is a special breed of dog. It's highly intelligent, extremely athletic and needs a ton of interaction. While these attributes make the Belgian Malinois the perfect dog for police and military work, they can be a bit of a handful as a typical pet.

As Belgian Malinois owner Erin Wilson jokingly told NPR, they’re basically "a German shepherd on steroids or crack or cocaine.”

It was her Malinois Eva’s natural drive, however, that ended up saving Wilson’s life.

According to a news release from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wilson had been walking down a path with Eva slightly ahead of her when a mountain lion suddenly appeared and swiped Wilson across the left shoulder. She quickly yelled Eva’s name and the dog’s instincts kicked in immediately. Eva rushed in to defend her owner.

It wasn’t long, though, before the mountain lion won the upper hand, much to Wilson’s horror.

She told TODAY, “They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying. That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

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50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

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Sandy Hook school shooting survivors are growing up and telling us what they've experienced.

This story originally appeared on 12.15.21


Imagine being 6 years old, sitting in your classroom in an idyllic small town, when you start hearing gunshots. Your teacher tries to sound calm, but you hear the fear in her voice as she tells you to go hide in your cubby. She says, "be quiet as a mouse," but the sobs of your classmates ring in your ears. In four minutes, you hear more than 150 gunshots.

You're in the first grade. You wholeheartedly believe in Santa Claus and magic. You're excited about losing your front teeth. Your parents still prescreen PG-rated films so they can prepare you for things that might be scary in them.

And yet here you are, living through a horror few can fathom.

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