Wednesday, October 30, 2013

You Know Your Day is Going to be Awesome...

... if your 3 months old blow dryer explodes pops in your hand first thing in the morning!

Because about one second later you realize that you did not only just not die, but are also going to get a new hair dryer!!

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Unfortunately, I didn't have the receipt anymore (of course, I kept the receipt for a pack of herbal tea and the €7.99 sandwich toaster that we never use...), but the lady at the store forgave me and just traded my broken hair dryer with a brand new and shiny one!

Why is this spectacular? - Well, this does not normally happen in Germany.

Germany is the land of receipts, of paper trails, written proof, documents, certifications, seals, and signatures. Being able to return or exchange something without a receipt is like winning the lottery to me!

Needless to say, I feel unstoppable now.

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Or to put it in other words: even if I don't understand the readings I have been working on for four weeks am working on now, at least my hair is done.

Happy Wednesday!


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I may be Screwed and Life Savers

So, I told you I tried running again.

It went like this:

Put on your running clothes.
Start running down the road.
Realizing at the end of the first block that the pain is back.
Walking home.

The whole thing took about 5 minutes total.

That was two days ago and since then, the knee has been hurting on and off. To say that I am devastated about this is an understatement.

So I think I may be screwed and unable to run for another few weeks.
Life truly sucks sometimes.

Btw, I love the face that the woman on the right is making.
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On the bright side, we now have plenty of things in the house that were basically made to eat feelings.

Nick brought the best life savers with him when he came back and I am sure they will help me survive this difficult time: I am talking about the two 1lbs jars of peanut butter sitting in our kitchen.

On top of this, he also brought so many of my favorite protein bars that, once I can start training for my half marathon, I can live entirely off of those!

He did, however, not only bring food, but also something that every person should have access to during this time of the year - pumpkin scented candles and Starbucks caramel coffee. If you have never had this type of coffee, please drop everything and go buy it right this minute.

Nobody can be sad if you have all of these above things. I'm sure time will come when I will be back to my running routing - that time is just not now.

How is your Tuesday going? 

Spiced coffee: do you love it or hate it? Never knew I loved it until last month!

If you are celebrating Halloween: What is your costume this year?


Monday, October 28, 2013

The Past 4 Days.

Over the past 4 days, life in Berlin has turned really, really happy.

It started with my mom's visit on Thursday. We had 2 incredible days and I am very grateful that we got to spend them together. Hopefully, she will come back soon, because it didn't feel nearly enough time to get a chance to talk about every topic that we should have covered.

Let me tell you. Over the past 5 years, I haven't been able to see my parents and brothers very often. For one reason or the other, in between, there was a stretch of 3.5 years when it was impossible for me to go and seen them and vice versa. It was difficult.

We skyped every day and while I am really thankful for this kind of technology, it doesn't replace anything. It doesn't let you be there for birthdays, births, weddings, special events, illnesses, stressful times, deaths ... you name it and it happened during those years. This is just what comes with living in different countries and even if this required some strength to adjust, I am still very, very lucky. My in-laws are a wonderful and loving family, who welcomed me as their daughter from day one (who does that?!) and through the countless video calls with my family, my parents and I are much closer now than we have ever been before.

Even Prince Charles can't deny how awesome video chats are.
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What I am trying to say is, if you hear me whine a lot about being far away from people I love, I am complaining on a very high level, because when it comes down to it, everyone in our family stays as close as possible - no matter how many miles are in between.

Above all this, Nick and I are in the same place and when it comes down to it, nothing else matters.
Speaking of which, he is back home. He arrived this morning. We did it!!!

Lucy is probably the happiest of all of us. She had to deal with a truly insane sleeping schedule, my w(h)ining, the long walks, the almost daily deep cleaning of the apartment, and getting me to pull it together ...

That was her. Every day. It was rough.
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- but it's all over now.

So I am going to have a happy wine from one of the previous sad wine bottles and call it a day a major victory that we survived the last 5 weeks of heavy traveling.

Tomorrow, I will have more to tell you, because I went on my first attempt to run.

Happy Monday, everyone!


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I was Fooled and Gorgeous Day!

Today was one of the most gorgeous days here in Berlin. It was just perfect - warm, sunny, and the air smelled like fall.

Most of the day was spent being productive in and around the apartment. That's why I have to catch up on some of the readings for work now and keep the blogging short.

So here is a picture of Lucy and me outside on the balcony.

"If I ignore the camera, nothing bad will happen!"

She truly hates to get her picture taken. 

In other news, I found out why my cough wasn't getting any better. A week ago a lady at the pharmacy gave me something to repress the cough during the night and another medication to take during the day, to loosen the cough. Sounded good to me and I have her all my money in exchange for those two sirups. 

Unfortunately, I didn't need the second medication. It even made the cough worse - both, during the day and at night. 

Yesterday, I was told that I should just stop taking the second cough medication and guess what. It's already so much better!
The lady that sold me both of them totally fooled me into spending money on something that was not only useless, but also counterproductive. I could have been feeling much better days ago - and there is nothing I can do about it now. 

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That's all.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Museum Marathon and Missing Running

My apologies for not blogging yesterday. I was out for most of the day and by the time I finally got home, my headache was so bad that the mere thought of looking at my bright computer screen was unbearable.

However, the first part of the day was incredible! On Saturday, I had bought a pass for the museum island here in Berlin and I was so excited to go, I could barely handle it.
The museum island is basically an "island" in the middle of Berlin, surrounded by the river "Spree".

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I only made it to four museums in the six hours I was there, but there was so much to see, I could have spent an entire day at each of those four.

The ones I saw were the Old Museum (Das Alte Museum), the New Museum (Das Neue Museum), the Pergamon museum (Das Pergamonmuseum), and the Old National Gallery (Die Alte Nationalgalerie).

The Old Museum was the first one I went to, and it really made me miss my bff, who is getting his PhD in Classics and who is studying ancient vases. There were more vases from Greek antiquity in the Old Museum than I have ever seen in one place - and one was prettier, more decorated, and more fascinating than the other.



This one was my favorite:


I wish I could tell you a more sophisticated reason, but I just liked the drawings and colors. 

This was probably one of my my favorite marble works: 

The Medea Sarcophagus.
The way the Greek myth of Medea is illustrated on this sarcophagus is just remarkable to me. Just look at the details, the gestures, and the transitions between the scenes! 

Next on my "list" was the Pergamon museum. I didn't hang out there for too long, because the air in this place was really bad. It was hot and there was clearly not enough oxygen. 

To me, the most impressive at this museum was the Ishtar gate. It is one of the gates to Babylon that, after it had been recovered, was shipped to Berlin and reconstructed within the museum. 

I then proceeded to the New Museum, where I truly wish I could have spent more time. There, among other things, you can see the entire collection of the Egyptian Museum - including Nefertiti (Nofretete). 
Trust me when I say that it would have been worth just seeing this one piece yesterday. The beauty that this bust of the former Egyptian queen reflects is just mesmerizing. I could have stared at it forever. It is not permitted to take pictures of it, but that's okay. I am sure that I haven't seen it for the last time before we move back to the U.S. (Be prepared, future visitors, this Egyptian lady is on the list of things to go see when you come to Berlin!)

Last, but not least, I went to the Old National Gallery, which holds lots of pretty paintings! I especially enjoyed the works of my favorite German Romantic painter, Caspar David Friedrich. 
However, I know that all tastes are different, so I decided to not post pictures of specific painters, but objects that plenty of paintings had in common - puppies!







Having such a bad headache yesterday is really telling me that I have to wait with my first run even longer and that my cold is still sticking around. It stinks and I miss running quite a bit.
Today, Lucy and I went for a 3 mile walk and the entire time I thought that the route we took would be incredible for running. On top of it, we passed 2 really awesome running stores.

Keep your fingers crossed for me that next week, I will be posting about my first mile around the block!

P.S. Since it's Monday, I don't want to forget about the Minor Victory of the day. For me, it was definitely, sleeping 6 hrs in a row for the first time in a week! Shooting for 7 tonight! :o)

Happy Monday, everyone!


Saturday, October 19, 2013

Yelling at People in Public and Seasonal Things

Normally, when Lucy and I go to the park, she is the one who gets barked at.
Well, today, I did.

I'm a god owner who feels bad if my dog misbehaves and I try to "fix things", apologize, and set Lucy straight. I want her to be a good dog and usually, she is. She just doesn't know how to slow down when she is running, so once she is up to speed, she turns into a canon ball, and, if you have treats in your pocket, she will probably jump on you and beg for them. Those are the biggest issues with her at the park.

Today, that place was packed! There were about 10 to 13 dogs and Lucy was in heaven. She was jumping around, jumping on other dogs, barking, and just happy as a clam. All the dog owners, including me, were just hanging out.

About 3 minutes into us being there, one of the dog owners starts barking yelling at me. I should get my beast (Lucy, I'm assuming) under control. At the time, I didn't even see or hear Lucy, she was just hanging with the dogs.

It took me a moment to realize the anger was geared towards me.

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It didn't go well. I didn't see the problem. The owner got louder. It was an overall uncomfortable situation.

There were tons of people. I am socially awkward and I don't like talking to strangers. (Maybe I should have mentioned that to her?!) Needless to say, I was completely overwhelmed with the situation, but too sleep deprived and sick to yell back. So I just told her what I thought about her yelling and sat down to hang out for another hour, while she kept going.

If Kim can get it, you can get it.
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I felt like everyone was staring (and they were).

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You don't yell at strangers in public for no reason. It's rude. What the are people thinking?! I am just pretending assuming she had a rough day herself and hope next time, it will be a lot more pleasant to go there.

So yea, that was a lot of fun.

Thankfully, her royal rudeness left the park later and we could all relax a little bit.
It was a gorgeous day today, after all. For the last few days, I have been eyeing (or eying?) oranges and mandarines (or mandarins? I'm clearly confused about additional vowels in English words). In Germany, the late fall and winter months are when we enjoy these orange colored citrus fruits.

You know how there are all things pumpkin marking the fall in the U.S.? It is a similar with these fruits in Germany. (Sadly, we don't have anything pumpkin. Feel free to send pumpkin care packages.)

We have had many conversations about this in our home, but to me, oranges and mandarines are winter fruits. There are countless memories I have from when I was a kid, when of all of us were sitting together and Mama was peeling oranges and apples on a winter evening. For me, the smell of oranges only fits into this season. This is also when these fruits are the sweetest and most delicious.

Today, I bought 2 bags of mandarines. They aren't great yet, but our apartment now smells like Christmas is coming. At least to me.

What is a typical seasonal item for you? 

Are there pumpkin things where you live?


Friday, October 18, 2013

I Remembered Something and One of Those Days

As I was posting the beautiful picture of Justin Bieber earlier, I thought of the first time I ever saw him on a video.


Let me share it with you: 


I am still amused. This little boy in unbelievable.

Aside from these little moments of joy, today has been everything but cheerful. One might even say it sucked. Let me warn you, there has been lots of whining going on over here. 



On top of missing Nick, I am still feeling like crap, so I had the glorious idea, to drag my dying body out the door and to the pharmacy. Since I am not a fan of the grocery store on Saturdays and the pharmacy being right by the grocery store, I figured that I should just get all the food while I'm out and be done! 

As I was biking to the store, I remembered that I don't just need bread and tea, but also a number of other things - including a case of water, milk, bananas (heavy, bulky things). Normally, that is not a problem. I have brought home a case of water on my bike before. The thing was just, back then, I had a backpack. Today, I didn't. 

So I grabbed everything I needed, plus a little bucket of cole slaw (yes, they are sold in little cute buckets here). As I was approaching my bike, I was still hopeful that everything would go well. This feeling quickly vanished, as I piled up filled up the little basket. I still had a big shopping bag that I was able to just carry over my shoulder, however, then the not-so-unthinkable happened. My bike tipped over. Everything I had lovingly squeezed into basket and shoulder bag emptied itself onto the pavement. 


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Of course, I am yelling as I am picking up my 432.938.761.928.376 things - and if the situation wasn't challenging enough - this guy that was riding by, stopped his bike to tell me I shouldn't be "this aggressive". Wtf?! Why not?!? 

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To me, this whole scenario called for an anger outburst. So that's what I did. There were no children around, just me and my groceries on the ground. I acted appropriately. 

After I picked everything up and walked home, I did what every adult in this situation would do. 
I don't even know what it was. The headache, the sore throat, the groceries, the commentator, or Nick being gone. 

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Don't worry, things have simmered down since then. 
I am proud to say that I successfully ate every last piece of gummy candy in the apartment. There truly is nothing like a healthy coping mechanism. 

Unfortunately, now I'm out of candy and will have to go to the store tomorrow.







Faux Pas - and Biebs.

I just spent about half an hour editing my post from last night. It's still not great, so it was mainly damage control.

I can't even tell you what happened. Last thing I know was that I was really tired when I typed it. I remember even thinking: "should I post this? I am really tired and probably built a lot of spelling mistakes in here. -- Naaah, I'm sure it's fine."

Well, those of you who read it: my apologies. Clearly, I should not publish anything online when I'm half asleep. I blame it on the cough sirup. Yea, lets just go with that and never speak of it again.

To distract you from my faux pas, I am showing you my favorite picture of the Biebs.

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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Edited: Getting Mail and Big Plans

I was thinking about skipping the blog for today, as I am still a sad ball of sickness, but there are a couple of things I wanted to share with you.

First things first: The pillows came in the mail!!

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This is basically what I do every time I receive something in the mail that doesn't look like a bill. 

Of course, it makes me even happier than Carlton in a Christmas sweater when I receive packages! I love getting packages in the mail. Don't we all?! I don't even care if I was the one ordering/ paying for it. So receiving the pillows in a big box was a pretty exciting moment! 

However, you know what doesn't make me happy? Every time I get home and receive a note from the mail man instead, telling me that we missed each other and I can come pick up the package on THE NEXT BUSINESS DAY. - Which, we all know it, is always too late!

I also don't want to bother our neighbors with random packages of (very heavy) dog food, books, or other things. 

That's why I signed up for a "Paketstation" (a station, similar to a PO Box). 
Since I left this country five years ago, quite a number of improvements happened here! One of those is the concept of "Paketstationen". 

They are large yellow automated shelves that are accessible 24/7. You can have your package delivered there - instead of having it sent home. If you are like me and don't want to risk missing the mail man and having someone else have to accept the package for you, or have to hunt it down at the post office the day after, or have it stolen, you sign up for a Paketstation. 

It's free of charge and incredibly easy to set up. You register online, get a personal number assigned to you, and then receive a card in the mail that lets you access the shelves. If you want to order something and have it delivered there, you just type "Packstation Number xy" (each station has it's own number) and your personal number into the address field. 

When the package arrives, you get a text with a pin. With this pin, you can go to the machine, swipe the card, enter the pin, and "your door" magically pops open!

In my case: there was a box with pillows behind the door! 

The box was a bit beat up.
At least, it was much easier to carry this way. 

This is what it looks like (or rather: half of it). Luckily, our closest Paketstation is only a 2minute walk away. 



Oh, and you can also use this to send out packages! For people who regularly mail out a number of packages, this is quite handy, I would imagine. You can drop them in there at any time of day, with no line in front of you, and have them be picked up by the mail people. 
So handy! 

I know, it's crazy, like Nicholas Cage.
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I am convinced that we should bring this idea to the U.S. - and before you are wondering, no, neither DHL nor the German mail has told me to say this. I'm just absolutely amazed by this invention. So simple and wonderful!

You know what else is wonderful? I made some big plans for the time after I have survived this terrible flu:
I will start running again. Whaaaaaaaa!!
I can't even handle it. Yes, I will start very slowly (probably with a run around the block), but it's a start and I am thrilled!!!

Do you have big plans for this weekend/ upcoming days/ weeks?

Do you like getting packages in the mail like I do?


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pillow Talk.

This post is going to be quite short.

Remember the beautiful bike ride through the city on Sunday? Well, the crisp October air did not only smell great, it also got me sick.

So I am laying in bed, drinking my tea with honey - and feeling guilty.

As you all know, my brother is staying with me this week. Of course, I am not forcing him to bring his own bedding. I decided to give him my pillow and blanket (yes, in Germany, it is not uncommon to have two separate blankets in the master bedroom), since I would use Nick's bedding set anyways.

Well. Here is the thing.

Nick has been saying that his pillow is uncomfortable. It has been washed before and the inside is a "little" lumpy. He even asked me if we could go and get new pillows. So I kept looking out for deals on pillows here or there, thinking to myself that some time before Christmas, we would definitely get him a new one.

Then he left and I put my head on this thing that up until then I called pillow.

Oh. My. Word.

It feels like someone formed big balls out of newspapers, stuffed them in there, and called it a day.

It is the most uncomfortable thing you could ever imagine.


                                 

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Trowing a towel over a rock would be more pleasant to rest your head on than this.

Needless to say, I feel horrible. How did I underestimate the urgency of this situation so much?!

I have no excuse. Instead, I am feeling terrible guilt, because I should have tried sleeping on this thing before. It just never occurred to me that something that looks like a (little bit lumpy) pillow could not be comfy.

It's not. It's not at all.

So I didn't waste any more time and ordered not one, but two new pillows online.
It will be here before he gets home and I can only hope that it will be the most comfortable and fluffy pillow in the history of mankind.

Until then. I emptied the pillowcase and stuffed my down vest in there. It's quite pathetic looking and actually feels like I am sleeping on a pack of kleenex, but it's still better than the torturous lumpy thing. Plus, if Nick could handle sleeping on a bag of rocks for 4 months, while leaving the soft and comfy pillow for me, I can deal with this for a week.


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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Differences - or: Tales of Deodorant.

Everyone who has visited other countries knows that the things surrounding you only seem the general norm, but chances are, they are not.

Of course, certain aspects of life can be assumed to be the same everywhere: people sleep, eat, work etc. However, there are a million little differences that are more or less obvious when you spend time in another culture.

For me, coming to the U.S. was an exciting experience. Before I left Germany, there was so much I heard and read about America that I truly believed I was well prepared - but then going and experiencing it was completely different.


Yes, the expected number of fast food restaurants, the different currency, the different looking cars or buildings, all these things were there. While slightly different than imagined, in this respect, it was still somewhat close to what I thought it would look like.

But there are things that you don't expect. Things that nobody tells you and when you come across those items or aspects, you are facing the most beautiful part of traveling: the differences.

When talking about Germany with my American students, there have been plenty of situations when they would shout out "Wow, that's weird!" - Well, no. It is just different from what you consider normal. However, understanding what's and how things are different, can be quite hard. It still is for me, at least.

Let me share with you some of my thoughts on deodorant.

After I landed on the western side of the atlantic ocean, eventually, I went to a store to get deodorant. What I found completely grossed me out. I was looking for a spray but all I could see were roll-ons.
In Germany, most deodorants come in a spray bottle.

In my German mind, deodorant looked like this:

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Or this:

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Yes, you could get roll-ons, but they look different, too. 

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Most kinds have some sort of liquid deodorant in there that is then rolled on. 

The solid deodorant that I found in the U.S. was the strangest thing to me. In my mind, it reminded me of rubbing a piece of dry soap in your armpits. 


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Again, Mama came for the rescue and sent this poor girl some deodorant. The "normal" one that you spray. Of course.

Then, time passed. I met Nick, who, in return, thought that a sprayable deodorant was the weirdest thing ever - and he also had different thoughts about the smell than I did. 

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I remember that in the beginning, every time I used it, he would shout something like: "I hear you are using that strange deodorant" or: "just the sound of this is making me cringe". 

The same was true for me, whenever I saw him use the American deodorant, I couldn't handle it. Just the thought of this rub-on kind was incredibly weird to me. 

Now, five years later, Mama is no longer sending sprayable deodorant across the ocean. One day, just like that, I began using the kind that was available in stores right there. It took me a few times to get used to it, but eventually that's what happened. I got used to it. Now, it is completely normal for me to use that "piece of soap"-kind and I don't even think about it anymore. 

However, we are back in Germany now and you may already guess where this is headed. 

The deodorant story is coming back full circle. I am completely lost, once again. Yes, I could use the spray/ liquid roll-on that I grew up with for 20-something years.  It is just that I have gotten so used to the American way of preventing pit stains and smells. Something that, a few years ago, was not only absolutely normal for me, but that was also the only possible way of handling this part of daily routine, seems so different to me now. 

On top of it. I can't take the smell anymore. Whenever I'm at the gym, I am dreading to go into the locker room, because sometimes, the air is filled with an intense mix of all kinds of deodorant. It is too much.  The other morning, this mixture of sprays smelled so bad to me that took me hours not to feel nauseous anymore. 

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It was a complete overdose. Maybe someone couldn't stop spraying? Who knows!

Anyhow, leaving the specific smells aside, it is these little things, the sprays/ liquid or non-liquid roll-ons, that make the big differences. Once you realize that it is neither weird, nor strange, disgusting, odd, but just unfamiliar to you, you also see that it is not the thing itself, but you, who is causing for this difference to present itself. It is you who just doesn't know it this way (yet). 

... and it never ends. There are still aspects that are different to me, other cases of the "deodorant kind" that make me realize that no matter how similar a culture is, or how much you think you know about it, you will never stop encountering and exploring new things and most of the time, it happens when you least expect it. 

The greatest thing, however, is that I am able to experience this now in reverse with my home country and I am grateful for this new perspective that I am given on a culture that I had only seen from within before. Now, especially with Nick viewing it with his eyes, it is exciting to see the differences appear on both sides. 

Traveling is a beautiful thing and I am hoping for everyone to be able to do it at some point. Trust me, it will change your life, or at least, offer you a whole new perspective. 

- Which may as well be the same thing.




Monday, October 14, 2013

Minor Victory Monday and Cheering Up.

(Achtung: Lots of pictures in this post. If you don't like it. Move on.)

Today is Monday. It's the day after Nick left. It has been a rough start so far, but the first day is over and from now on, he can only come back.

My biggest gift right now is that my brother is here. He arrived last night and having him around is not only an overall pleasure, but it also helps me to have a daily routine that also includes sleep. The first night, while Nick was still traveling and on the plane, Lucy and I were up, watching the flight tracker until it was time to have lunch. (I'm not only terrified of flying when I'm in the plane, but also when others are in the air.) Last night, I finally slept a number of hours in a row and that was definitely a minor victory for me.

I had grand plans for today. I wanted to take Lucy for a walk in the morning, go to the gym, have breakfast, go to my dentist appointment at 2pm and spend the rest of the afternoon reading - until my brother got home from his class.

All went well, until I realized that my dentist appointment is not at 2pm, but an hour earlier - as I was getting ready for the gym.
So everything got messed up. The dentist took forever, I didn't get to go to the gym until about 4pm and by the time I got home, it was already getting dark.

Anyhow, while today wasn't really a successful work day, I managed to drag my sad self out of the house yesterday and bike to the library. Do you remember when I wanted to go to the library the other day, but there was a cable fire!? I ended up going and the most important book wasn't on the shelf. The system said that it wasn't taken out, so it was either used in the building, or misplaced.
Yesterday, I made it my mission to find this book - whatever it would take.

The weather was absolutely gorgeous and by that I mean, I was so blown away by how pretty it was, I stopped a few times on my way home to take pictures.



Brandenburger Tor - such a special place.



That's why there are so many people there - every day.
Especially if it's nice out.



...and nice out it was! Look at the colors of those trees!

Brandenburger Tor, looking towards the eastern side. 

I just had to go through the park.

You wouldn't expect this to be less than
half a mile away from one of the biggest
tourist attractions of the city. 


Fall is truly my favorite season. 


Do you see the swan?! He totally snuck into my picture.
Well done, swan. Well done.

We yet have to explore the city by boat. It is on our list, though. 




We are so lucky to be living in such a beautiful place. Berlin really has it all. The feel of a big city, historical landmarks, neat little restaurants/ cafes/ bars/ shops, lots of parks, woods, lakes/ rivers - and safety. While leaving the house a whiny hermit sad and lonely, being surrounded by so much beauty and having such a gorgeous, crisp October day, was terrific and much needed to cheer me up.

It still makes me happy just looking at this.



Of course, it wouldn't be Berlin if there wasn't something going on this Sunday. - It seems to be a natural law that if you are out on a weekend in Berlin, you will see at least one big street that is blocked off for some sort of event. One of those weekend events passed by me, as I was riding my bike around.

(That parade was much, much longer. I stood there for at least 10 minutes until I could cross the road.)


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Happy Monday, everyone!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Weight of Books and Waiting.

It's 3:44am here in Berlin. All the bags are packed and Nick and I are finishing up our bottle of wine from 3 days ago while waiting for the next hour to pass - and at the same time hoping that it will never pass.
4:45am is the time when he will be getting into the taxi and leave Lucy and me all alone for two weeks. So rude! Admittedly, for my trip last month, I was gone for 2 days longer than he will be away - but still.
We both don't do well apart, so I know that we will be equally busy counting down the days and hours until his return.

Thankfully, we managed to go to the store today to buy all the good things that will keep me alive for the next 14 days.

As you can see, there is also a very healthy spaghetti squash and numerous nutritious bananas in this house.
I just have yet to figure out how to cook this football shaped vegetable. 

As some of you know. I have a nasty habit of surrounding myself with books. It's partly because of my job (or rather: future job, or rather: the future job I am hoping for), and partly, because I just love to read. 

It has always been like that. When I was a child, I read each and every book I could get a hold of. From Anne of Green Gables, over Karl May, and stories about robbers, or books by Astrid Lindgren, to encyclopedias (my parents were always extra pleased when I lost one of their (numbered) encyclopedia volumes - or single pages of said books - somewhere between my toys). 

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I remember being about 10 years old, coming home from a sleep-over from my aunts and uncles house, and hauling a big bag of books into my room. She had let me borrow them and I did not waste any time reading all of them - over and over again before I had to return them. 



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Back then, it was only a bag of 12 volumes ("Pucki", by Magda Trott - these books are, by the way, from today's perspective, highly questionable in their representation of women ... and by "highly questionable", I mean absolutely ridiculous!), but today, I have boxes, shelves, more boxes, and additional bags filled with books. If you float between two countries, via air, the weight of the books you have spent years and years accumulating, becomes very obvious. 

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I have audio books, of course, but only a few of them, because I am one of "those", who have to have the written word in front of their eyes. Even worse, I have to have the written word in front of me on paper. I can read pdf documents on my iPad, I can even read other articles or shorter texts on that wonderful device. However, everything beyond a certain length, I can't handle in a non-paper format. 

Of course, you will be yelling out loud now "then why do you blog!?", "all of us [three readers] have no choice but to read your wise words on a screen". I know. But don't worry, shorter pieces are okay and I will always try keeping it below that specific length that would require a book format! I, too, spent hours reading other peoples' wonderful blogs.

Hopefully, one day in the near-ish future, I will have all of them combined on one side of the ocean. Mama has been shipping them to me ever since I initially left Germany a few years ago, but there are still a few boxes left. 

It would be wonderful, if I could just read everything electronic, but I can't. Nick, who not only understands and handles my weirdness every day, even added another book to my "German pile" (on this side of the ocean) today. He ordered a book that I have been eying for about 5 weeks now. I can't wait for it to arrive in the mail and read it in one sitting. It will be spectacular. (No worries, you will hear about it.)

Of course, this book has to make its way to the U.S. at some point, too, and yes, it is adding to the weight of my future book bags that have to go on the plane with me. However, for this one, I am more than happy to leave a pair of shoes in Germany. 

If it is as great as I am hoping for it to be AND will help time to fly by until Nick gets back, then it is not only worth every cent, but I would also even carry it in my purse to bring it to my "U.S. pile". 

Now let me ask you. Do you read on an iPad, Kindle, your laptop? Or are you bound to physical books, too?

Have you ever had to move your books for a longer distance? Maybe even across an ocean? How did you do it? (via mail, or in a checked bag on the plane, or via boat?)

If you had to take a pick right now: ice cream or pizza? - ice cream!