bright blue vending machine for bike inner tubes
This isn’t a vending machine for passport photos. It’s for bike inner tubes. © Laurel Decher, 2018.

One day, I was trying to renew my passport and couldn’t get my photo the right size.

Germany has automats for passport photos, but–of course–they follow the German passport requirements, not the American ones.

To get my ear the right size for the U.S., (Why are they so interested in ears? Never mind. I don’t want to know) I overrode all the WARNING alerts.

Then the total photo size or the white border or something was wrong, so I called the Embassy and asked what to do.

“This is an overseas post,” the lady said.

“Oh?” I didn’t quite know what that meant.

“Go ahead and send it in,” she said.

This is an overseas post. People who live in more than one country have special status because it isn’t possible to follow all the rules all the time.

The German answer to this is “Es geht nicht anders.” [Translation: It doesn’t work any other way. Especially popular for parking spot problems.]

This blog is about what it’s like to live and write in a place where you don’t always know how to follow the rules for more than one country at a time.

Thanks for reading!

Want a taste of overseas life? For top posts, click on the links below. Or click here for the current post.

Life in Germany:
glass case with small toys and points required to earn them
Prizes for reading at the Cologne city public library. © Laurel Decher, 2018.
grove of 500 olive trees in Sicily under a blue sky
Olives and Antifreeze ALWAYS Come in Two Colors Except When They Don’t. These 500 olive trees have nothing to do with antifreeze colors, so this is foreshadowing. Sciacca, Sicily. © Laurel Decher, 2016.
close up of light orange garden soil newly turned
The Good Earth: International Gardens. Paydirt. The classic rich soil of the Rhineland. © Laurel Decher, 2017

Books for Hungry Readers:
image of ingraved plate on Guido of Arezzo's house showing ut re mi fa sol la
Guido of Arezzo. The inspiration for my middle grade historical adventure. Image: Guido the monk’s notes for singing. © Jan Decher, 2016.
book cover image for The Journal Belongs to Rachet by Nancy J. Cavanaugh
10 Great Books for the Young Readers on Your List. © Laurel Decher, 2017
cover image collage of middle grade books mentioned in post
10 MORE Great Books for the Young Readers (9-12 yrs) on Your List. © Laurel Decher, 2020.

You can also get a downloadable list of book recommendations when you sign up for my Reader’s List here.

Writing Craft:
infographic for simple revision plan
Tame Your Revision Step-by-Step: SLICE AND LABEL with Scrivener. © Laurel Decher, 2017.
Gilded roman emperor on facade of Gutenberg Museum
The Reverse Backstory Tool Brings Your Characters to Life. This character is ready to walk right off the building. Statue of L’Empereur Romain on the front of the Gutenberg Museum in Mainz, Germany. © Laurel Decher, 2016.


piano with open lid revealing grooming utensils underneath
Are you feeling it? Emotional Connection in Fiction Part 1. The perfect piano for a tiny house? This one has built-in toolboxes for sewing, painting and grooming. Andreas Landschütz, 1820. MAKK museum in Cologne. © Laurel Decher, 2017.

© Laurel Decher, 2020.

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