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Monday, January 26, 2015

I Weigh 375 Pounds | Mistranslation Monday

As mentioned in my post last week about German healthcare, I recently went to the doctor in Germany for the first time. The appointment started off just as any appointment would. After checking in with the receptionist, a nurse asked to check my vitals before I went into the waiting room.

"Please take off your shoes and step onto the scale," she said (but in German, of course).

Since it was one of those scales with the sliders, she then asked me, "About how much do you weigh?"

"Ummm..." I had to think for a second, remembering that we were dealing with kilograms, "about 170 kg."

65 kg to 170 kg (140 lbs to 375 lbs)

The woman then fumbled with the sliders for quite a while before finding the correct value (I don't know why, I told her how much I weighed...). Finally, she announced my real weight, a number that is less than half of 170.

I walked back out to the waiting room, sat down next to the German boyfriend, and stared at the wall for a good 5 minutes before I realized what I had said to the woman just moments before.

I told her I weighed 170 kg. That is 375 pounds. I am an idiot.

After relaying the story to Marco, he had a good laugh and told me that all the doctors and nurses in the office already know that I come from the U.S. At least she didn't just think I was completely stupid. Instead, I am just the ignorant American.

Would you be able to say right now (without Google's help) how much you weigh in both pounds and kilograms?

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

My First Experience with German Public Healthcare

Although I have been living in Germany for well over a year now, I had never actually gotten German health insurance. This all changed when I started my Master's in Germany, however, as being enrolled in a German university made me eligible for public health insurance.

Since I have Type 1 Diabetes, a chronic disease that could easily eat up a couple hundred dollars a month in medication and doctor's visits while I was living in the U.S. (and that's with private insurance), I was very excited about enrolling in German public health insurance.

Although I signed up in October, I didn't actually take advantage of what I was paying 78€ per month for until my first doctor appointment in December.

Once the day came, I was thrilled to walk into the office, hand the secretary my health insurance card, and head back to the waiting room. No talk of money at all, because nobody pays for doctor's visits (of course there are exceptions to this rule, but in general, doctor's visits are paid in full).

I then sat in the waiting room listening to the doctor call each of the patients' names.

"Frau Riemenschneider!"

"Herr Müller!"

"Frau Kalbfleish!"


"Mrs. Martin!"

Ahh, yes. Since the German boyfriend sees the same doctor, he had told him a few weeks prior that his American girlfriend had an appointment coming up. So, the doctor thought it was hilarious to call me "missus." I guess I can't complain too much though. At least he didn't call me Mr. Courtney like so many other Germans do.

The doctor's appointment itself started off pretty standard, with the doctor asking questions about my history and showing me my blood work (which I got done a week prior, and I didn't have to pay for).

What shocked me most was when the doctor abruptly said, "I would like to do an ultrasound. Can you lay down over here?"

An ultrasound? Don't we need to schedule that for a separate day? Won't that cost a lot of extra money? Oh yeah, these are all things that the Germans don't think about.

So, I laid down and had a quick ultrasound. No biggie.

German prescription forms (red is for public health insurance)

Overall, the appointment went great, and I walked out with a handful of prescriptions that needed to be filled ASAP. So, on the way home I stopped by the pharmacy.

Oh, and when I said I had a handful of prescriptions, I wasn't kidding. I still have the receipt that shows that I handed over 6 that day, and you can see from the photo above that I am still holding onto three more, which I will fill via an online pharmacy.

When I went to the pharmacy that day, however, I was watching the monitor anxiously as the total steadily rose. But to my surprise, it was only going up by increments of five, and at the end, my total was only 32.07 Euro

part of my receipt from the pharmacy
"Only 30 Euro for all that?!" I was thinking as I handed over my debit card.

So, I was quite surprised when Marco whispered to me, "I am sorry it costs so much. I can help pay for it, if you want."

What?! Are you kidding me? I just paid 10€ for over 3 months of insulin! I've got no problem with that!

Since the receipt included the list price of each of the medications, I figured I would add that up just to see how great my German health insurance is. The result? 627.15€

Let's do that math:
32.07 / 627.15 = 0.05

That means my insurance covered 95% of the costs of my medication! I realize that Europeans are probably super bored reading this post, but this is a big deal for us Americans, especially for those unlucky Americans that have chronic diseases.


Thursday, January 8, 2015


In case you didn't already know, I spent two weeks over Christmas and New Year's in the U.S. Although the number one reason for my visit was seeing family, I did also take advantage of this time in my home country to acquire a lot of things that I have been missing over the past 1.5 years.

Here are some of those things that the German boyfriend and I picked up in the U.S. Enjoy!


If you read my stocking stuffer wishlist, then you know that I am missing Reese's and all other peanut butter candy hardcore. Luckily, I was gifted far more than a normal person should ever eat in a year over Christmas. 

Thanks Uncle Paul!
Another favorite of mine was this peanut butter and chocolate fudge that my brother gave to me. As you can see, it didn't last for very long.

I am eating this last little bit that is left as I write this.

Yankee Candles

I love candles. Unfortunately, all of the candles that I have bought so far in Germany have been pretty lame. Luckily, Marco is also into candles (aren't I lucky?), so he encouraged me as I sought out some potent candles to bring back to Germany.

You can from the colors that we are really into the fall/holiday scents. I basically just want my apartment to smell like pumpkins and Christmastime year-round. After actually burning one of these in the apartment the other night (it was apple pumpkin), Marco actually made the remark, "I am pretty sure candles that strong are illegal in Germany!"

Beef Jerky

In the stocking stuffer wishlist, I also mentioned that Marco really likes beef jerky, Slim Jims, and everything of the sort. Since these things are not so widely available in Germany, he was very lucky to receive a whole lot of jerky and Slim Jims over Christmas.

Measuring Spoons

If you are an American that wants to move to Europe, and you enjoy making American recipes, then it is very important to bring you own measuring spoons and measuring cups with you. Luckily, I did that when I moved here 1.5 years ago, but I didn't bring any this cute!


Marco and I also did some major clothes shopping while we were in the U.S. While I will not bore you with pictures of everything we got (like Marco's 5 pairs of jeans), I do have to show you one thing.

It a men's XXL t-shirt from the clearance rack at Dick's Sporting Goods, but I am going to use it as a nightgown. Cool, right?

Even More Candy

Last, but not least, is even more candy. There is way too much to picture on the blog, but here are two of my favorites: Red Vines and Swedish Fish. 

What was your favorite Christmas gift this year?

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