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You know you've been in Berlin too long...

Happy Forth of July, folks! Aren't you glad our Founding Fathers declared independence in the summer? Can you imagine celebrating something like Washington's crossing the Delaware? Marching in parades or having BBQs in Winter - would've been a bummer. Although with this summer weather here in Berlin it doesn't make much of a difference, right?

Don't you love complaining about this Berlin weather? But you know, if you're staying here because you've gotten used to this weather instead of flying to the States for the holidays where it's really Summer, then you've been here too long.

{Anyone seen a 4th of July parade in the US last year? They ain't what they used to be. The marching bands prefer to ride on floats. And more patriotic floats are being replaced by big ol' commercial vehicles doing advertising. Imagine a big truck coming down the street, says on it: "Joe's Septic Tank Service and Drainage" with a couple of red, white and blue ribbons. At least the people riding along are throwing candy and cheap Mari Gras necklaces. Just two more things to gag on… Hey, if you haven't seen that kind of thing, then you haven't been in the States in a long time.}

You know how else you can tell that you've been in Berlin too long? When you start using English words made up by the Germans that aren't even used in the US. For example: Are you calling this thing a 'handi'? It's a cell phone, for Pete's sake - don't forget it! You know, they ought to invent a ring tone you can download on your cell phone that goes "Ring-ring, this is your CELL phone, ring-ring, this is your CELL phone…"

We've all struggled with learning German when we got here, right? You kind of mix up the languages doing so and then with all those der, die, das, DAMN Ümlauts. The Berliners think that's cool, when you speak this "Dinglish". But when you also think that's cool and even cultivate 'sprechen' like that, then you've been here too long - especially when you make lots of money speaking Dinglish in the media or showbiz. Right Rick and Gayle?

This language thing can go the other way too. You gotta be careful when you say 'Amerika' in America; they might hear you pronounce it with a "k".

You've definitely been here more than ten years when you can remember "back when I was in the Army." Yeah, good ol' Berlin Brigade. Oh, I was in Field Station up on the hill, or I played with 298th Army band, or I fought with the 40th Armour, or I fought with the 502nd Infantry Battalion. Heck, I couldn't get along with anybody!

Real Americans play their favorite ball games using their hands, right? Even football is played mostly with your hands. But you know you've been in Berlin too long when you're more interested in a ball game where touching the ball with your hands is "verboten"! Hope not too many of you will be stuck to the TV later this evening, or what?

You also know you've been in Berlin too long when you prefer being caught by the German social service network instead of roaming wide open American spaces. "Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam, and I'll show you a dirty living room. Where the deer and the antelope play … poker."

You've also been away too long when you realize you haven't bothered voting absentee in ages - decades even. That's sad. But what's really sad is that when you've been a core Republican voter, and you're suddenly get the strange urge to start voting Democrat! Yup, been away too long.

But, the number one reason you know you've been in Berlin too long, is when you realize you've become an expert on being in Berlin too-oo lo-ong! So, time to fly home - Bye now!