Das ist So Jacob ist ein Deutsch-Burger

I’ve been keeping this to myself for awhile now – close to a year – but now, I can officially say that as of yesterday…


It all started last summer.

My grandparents had their German citizenship revoked when they left the country during World War II. Under the current citizenship and naturalization laws of the country, if your grandparents were born in Germany and had their citizenship taken away by the Nazis, you can qualify for German citizenship. So, after much inquiry, while visiting home last summer, my dad, sister and I paid a visit to the German Embassy in Washington to submit our credentials. We had our driver’s licenses, our American passports, our birth certificates, and my grandmother’s kennkarte with the big ANNULLED stamp on it. All we needed was my parents’ marriage certificate (easy enough to get) and my grandparents’ marriage certificate (easier than we thought; it was a matter of the embassy calling Berlin to check the national or regional archives, and sure enough it was there) so the ball got to rolling sometime in October, when that document showed up.

Fast forward to yesterday, when we all got emails from the German Embassy, saying that our naturalization certificates were available for pickup, and that when we get them, we can put in applications for passports. They are going to be holding some sort of ceremony on June 2, but since I won’t be able to be there and they must be handed over in person, I’m going to see if they can send it to the German Consulate in Chicago or the Honorary Consul in Minneapolis so I can get it without having to trek out to DC.

And that’s how I became a naturalized German citizen.

So, a la David Letterman, here is a list of 10 Things That I Can Do Now Because I’m German:

10. I have someone to root for in Eurovision and FIFA.

9. I can have beer whenever I want.

8. I actually have a reason to celebrate Oktoberfest now.

7. I am allowed to laugh at Kate McKinnon’s Angela Merkel impressions on SNL and feel no remorse.

6. I can roll my eyes at Americans.

5. If I get pulled over for speeding, I can say…”Sorry, officer, I’m used to the Autobahn.”

4. I can make up long and funny words.

3. German food.

2. I have expanded my job options, infinitely. Being a German citizen also makes be a citizen of the European Union, which means I can live and work almost anywhere in Europe without a hassle, and travel visa-free.

1. “Don’t shoot, I’m German!”

I guess the next step is to go back and visit again. Well, after I get my certificate and passport. We’ll see. But I guess until then, I’m still the same old That’s So Jacob.

Deutsch-Burger. Tee hee.



One of my summer resolutions was to try out some new recipes, hopefully healthy ones, and so last night I tried my hand at this LBBBB, AKA a Chipotle-style black bean burrito bowl, thanks to Anjali of The Picky Eater Blog.

That’s So Jacob Presents:

That’s So Nom: Treats and Eats from Jacob’s Completely Amateur Kitchen

Episode 4: Little Black Bean Burrito Bowl

Step 1: Look at recipes online.

Step 2: Salivate at the pretty pictures, then get your ass up and out to the store to buy ingredients. Except…cottage cheese, no thank you (don’t hate me, I just never liked it!)

Step 3: Come home and procrastinate until dinnertime.

Step 4: Chop 1 onion, 1 yellow pepper, and 1/2 jalapeno pepper, and saute in canola oil. Sprinkle garlic powder on top because I don’t have a garlic press and garlic powder works just fine.

Step 5: Sprinkle on a dash of cumin and a dash of chili powder, then dump the black beans on top. Boil for 10-15 minutes, realizing that if you put the salmon in the oven for 20 minutes at the same time, you can just turn the stove off when the timer hits 5:00. SMART!

Step 6: Heat some rice and corn in the microwave.

Step 7: Take bowl. Put in rice, then mixture, then corn. Sprinkle on cilantro and salsa

Step 8: Enjoy your protein filled deliciousness, and get halfway through before realizing that you bought diced tomatoes but didn’t use them, but it tastes good anyway.

Makes 2-3 dinner-sized portions. Refrigerates very nicely.

I’m currently eating my second portion for dinner, and am happy to say that it’s just as delicious as the first. So, consider this a success! Thanks, food blog!

And hooray for six continent day! Welcome to North America (Canada and USA), South America (Guyana), Europe (UK, Netherlands, and France), Asia (India, Philippines, and Qatar), Africa (Sudan), and Oceania (Fiji). Come back soon, I’m nice!


A Semi-Productive Day

At the risk of turning this blog into a “this is what I did today” blog, I’m going to get back to the regularly scheduled fun we haven’t had for a while.

But for now, here’s what I did today:

1. Cleaning! I actually cleaned today! Vacuuming, laundry put away, coffee table and living room have been cleaned. Probably the easiest part of the apartment to clean, but it’s a start, I guess…?

2. Wrote down some new recipes to try out this week.

3. Got out of the house and found 3 geocaches.

4. Researched summer travel plans, including some possible jumping-off trips in the Maritime Provinces of Canada after Montreal and before returning to Madison (or possibly stopping off in Boston for a bit).

5. Did some exercising.


Come on Jacob, bring back the fun!


And With That…

Just before 1 PM, I officially turned in my second and last final paper of the semester.

And then I was free.

And I had no idea what to do.

So, of course, I sat inside doing not much of anything, then went food shopping and out to dinner by myself Noodles, and spent the rest of the night in, doing nothing.

I’m horrible at keeping resolutions, but here’s a list of things that I want to accomplish this summer:

1. Read. Just bona fide read for pleasure.

2. Clean apartment, for real. I shudder to think at what’s at the back of my fridge.

3. Try out some new recipes.

4. Run around the lake, at least once.

5. Catch up with friends.

6. Go somewhere new (hopefully a country, but a city or state will do).

7. Practice at the dance studio.

8. Research getting a new laptop, back up files, and purchase said new laptop.

9. Be a better blogger.

10. Get on a decent food/sleep/exercise schedule.

Well, that’s some pretty lofty stuff right there…clearly I have set the bar high.



I Went Running Today

I sure did.

It’s not that I dislike running; it’s just…who am I kidding, running is for people who like running. Even though I feel inadequate at the gym, it’s even worse when you see someone effortlessly breezing through the air with barely a sheen of sweat on their brow, and then there’s me, stopping to walk every five minutes, which is totally the truth.

I decided I was going to do the Lake Loop, 11 miles around Lake Monona. It started off pretty well, actually. I walked 5 minutes, then ran 5, then walked 5, then ran 5. Then, as I stopped at a water fountain, I checked how far I’d gone…

Barely 2 miles.

This was going to be a long afternoon.

At the water fountain was a guy with two Bichon Frises. We got to talking about running, and he mentioned that he and his wife ran the Madison Marathon. I asked him if he really enjoyed it. His response?

“Well, one day I met this one girl running on the Lake Loop, and I asked to run with her, and we’ve been married 35 years.”

Suddenly the afternoon didn’t seem so long anymore.

I continued my on-and-off run, until Olbrich Park.

3.5 miles.

Oh boy.

And it was getting kinda late. At this rate, I wouldn’t be home until dark, so I turned around and went home, running off and on, getting home just before the rain.

And that’s how I spent two hours this afternoon, not working on my second paper. Whoops. At least I got some exercise.


One Step Closer

One paper down.

One 21-page-6840-words-total paper down.

One more to go.

One step closer to my torrid fantasy menage a trois…

…consisting of me, my bed, and my books.

Actually, make that an orgy.

One more paper in the way though.

But I’m almost there.

And of course, some howdies to all the continents but Australia: North America (USA and Canada), South America (Colombia), Europe (UK, Germany, Norway and Portugal), Asia (India and Singapore), and Africa (Nigeria and Mayotte). Eh, almost there.


Ten Ways to Write a Better Research Paper

Bland title, I know, but for the past few days my life has been research, writing and then everything else (while worrying about research and writing). I skipped going to the gym today, for the first time since Sunday (go me!) and did a crazy at-home Buzzfeed workout for 30 minutes, and a shower and protein drink later I’m still dizzy and sweating, so excuse me if something in this post is misspelled or doesn’t make sense.

I’m currently at the end of my eighth (!) year as a college student (with two degrees so far to show for it, thankyouverymuch), and though I’ve had my fair share of frantic moments, freak-outs, and failures, I’ve managed to get this far without any horribly bad research papers, and I don’t think I’ve had any late ones either, at least not that I’m aware of. I have also never pulled an all-nighter (yet), not even when I was writing my master’s thesis, although I did spend a solid 8 hours one Sunday in same spot, writing for the bulk of it. So I’d like to think I’m onto something here. Now, here’s my top 10 ways to write a better research paper.

1. Be realistic. Pick a topic that’s not too broad or too general, and don’t bite off more than you can chew. Be bold, but always come back to the facts as best you can. Also, be realistic about goals. Some people can write a 20 page paper in 5 hours, and while it’s possible, I am not one of those people. I’d need at least 8.

2. Set time limits. Write for an hour, solid, then break. If that seems too intimidating, set a timer for an hour and during that time, even if you’re just rereading the same sentence or staring at your computer screen or end up with seven words, if you’ve done it with no distractions or breaks, congrats.

3. And your point is? Not you, necessarily, but your sources. Make sure you know what they are saying, that you’re not saying the exact same thing (or if you are, add something new to it), if you agree or disagree, and if it’s relevant to your overall point. Abstracts are very helpful when looking at articles, as are tables of contents and chapter numbers in books. Use them. If a source is not making sense anymore or is repeating themselves or is quoting other sources you’ve already used, just stop right there and move on to the net one.

4. Notes, notes, notes. Post-it notes are my best friends, especially color-coated ones; I put them on the first line of every paragraph in every book I want to quote. For my Indian theatre paper, I used yellow post-its, and for my Brecht paper, I used pink ones. Also, it’s so, so satisfying when you go back to those notes, say “I am done with you!” then take out the flag and throw it away, or keep it in the reuse pile if it’s still sticky enough.

5. Notes, notes, notes, part II. Here’s one way to take notes: Open a blank document and put the full bibliographic information at the top. Then write the current page number on the next line, then on the line underneath, write all the notes you found on that page. If there’s a thought that overlaps two pages, put it beneath the ones from the previous page, then continue with the next page’s notes. As far as copying the info itself, I’d suggest either a) paraphrasing everything, so that when you go back to write it, you’ll probably paraphrase that, making it doubly separated from the material, or b) quote everything, so you can return the books to the library knowing that you’ll have to change your notes because they are directly from the source. I have been known to mix these techniques, especially when there’s a block quote I want to use. I usually indicate that by rewriting the author’s name and page number, or simply putting it in block quote format so I can just copy and paste it.

A made-up example:

Featherstone, Darcy M. “Postmodern implications of the munglewung: a study.” The British Journal of Obscurities 24.1 (Fall 2011): 13-36. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. Web. 14 May 2015.


the munglewung in prewar Europe had little effect on the proletariat

it gained in relevance after the first World War


World War II caused the munglewung to fade into obscurity


“If the Church of England would have had its way, the munglewung would not have metastasized to the level it did in 1950s Europe. It was commonly seen in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, but the French wanted no part in it. As history relates, the British got their way, although at a price: the barriers created by this discrepancy would prove difficult to overcome, especially in light of the rapid mobilization of the Russians” (Featherstone 18)

6. Biblio as you go. Citations are a good way to fill some time when you’re trying to think of the right words, and it will save you time at the end to already have your Works Cited ready to go, so you can spend that extra time making up an introduction.

7. Subheadings are your friends. First, they add a line to your page count, so there’s that. Second, they help you organize your thoughts and contribute to easier transitions between distant ideas. Third, no one will mark you down for attempting to organize your thoughts better or make your reader’s life easier.

8. When you get overwhelmed? Don’t jump ship. Separate things out, declare some parts finished, and make sure all the parts are decently fleshed out. Then, if you see a discrepancy, fix it. Sometimes you just need to end it, somewhere, before you drown in a sea of hyperbole. I’ve done that enough times to know that.

9. Don’t compare your progress to others’ progress. You are beautiful and wonderful, and if you’re behind someone else, you’re no less of a person. If you’re ahead of them, don’t gloat too much or rest on your laurels.

10. Have fun. If you’re not excited about it, why should your reader be?

But most of all, just go for it. Once you turn it in, you’ll forget about it in about 60 seconds and return to your regularly scheduled worrying.