Fellow German blogger ix got married in Las Vegas recently (congratulations) and faced the problem to have the marriage accepted by his local civil registry office in Hamburg---because only then they would be able to get all the rights and duties that marriage entails in Germany.

The Tower of Babel

So far, so good: Along with a certified copy of the marriage certificate, he also needed to bring an "Apostille"---a standardized transcription of a legal document (in this case: the marriage certificate) to be accepted by another country (in this case: Germany). Of course, one cannot expect the government officials to be able to read the English language, not even when a marriage certificate consists of a quite simple set of information that does not differ significantly between the two countries. So he had to obtain an official translation of both documents from a certified translator, before they finally accepted his marriage as valid.

That the German government is very strict about "our official language is German" is no news to me: Once before I had to provide US documents to an agency and in spite of the relevant passages being very tiny, they demanded to have the whole document translated. Eventually, I managed to have them accept my (and therefore an uncertified) translation, which probably saved me what would have felt like a million dollars in translator fees.

Though all in all, it seems to be a quite tedious process, I now hope to know quite well what needs to be done to have a US marriage accepted in Germany. My fiancée and I will face the same process soon and this way we know what to expect. I'll make sure to blog about it again when it's time.

(pictured: "The Tower of Babel" by Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1563))

Read more…

After I came back from Whistler, BC, I stopped by in Oregon, where I had the pleasure to be a groomsman at one of my best friends' wedding: Justin married his Karen.

It was a lot of fun, though I didn't imagine it being so complicated to get married in this country that you need to rehearse the day before. ;)

Of course, the other guys wanted to set me up to catch the garter, but I got miraculously saved. Needless to say, this is the 21st century, so it's on youtube:

From my "exchange student" point of view, I have to say, this gave me much deeper insight into American society than any other event I attended here (and I've been in the US for a while). It is sad most exchange students have to miss out on this.

PS: I've officially worn enough pink that day to last me well through my twenties!

Read more…