Friday, August 14, 2015

Starting the Day Early

Can't sleep. It's 5:45 am, local time.

I slept like crap, in two hour-ish stints. Most of us showered before bed, cooling ourselves off. Xander fell asleep in 10 seconds. Venice, stayed up way later than I though she would, but when she did go to bed, she fell asleep quickly. Chris too. I fell asleep relatively quickly, considering how miserably hot I was.

In the dining room, we have all the doors and windows wide open. We are on the second floor, so keeping doors open seems ok. But, this is apartment living in the city, not suburban living. Which means, if we leave bedroom windows open, about 50 apartments across the way can see us. So, the window itself is open, but the curtains are drawn. Which means less air flow. There are no ceiling fans or stand alone fans. This is a possible item to purchase, although we wonder if fall is around the corner, and this is a heat wave, so is it worth it to buy? For the time being... it's stifling.

We're also in the heart of an active community. Pros: 1-2 block walk to restaurants, bakeries, coffee, market, etc. Cons: it was loud last night. It was a Friday evening, so I'm hoping it won't be that loud throughout the week. Also, with all our windows open, sounds drifted in easily. Perhaps in cooler weather when windows are closed, it won't be so loud. Finally, I'm assuming we'll get used to the unfamiliar noise and local sirens.

I am reminded of my last trip to the Soviet Union. Waking up with the sun on our first day in Moscow, eager to start the day. A few of us got up, dressed, and were in the common area before we realized it was only three in the morning (darn white nights!) Side Note: changing region has now set my spell check to change "z"s into "s"es. Realised, not realized. Not sure what's more likely. I'll be able to ignore all the red lines indicating spelling errors, or it'll be too much so I change to the British spellings.

So, the first time I woke up around 1:30am, it was still stifling hot and people outside were having a good-loud time. Falling back asleep was difficult. Then at 3:30am, it was still stifling hot, but it was nice and quiet, still a little hard to fall asleep. At 5:30am, my sleep was done. Eyes would not close. Irony? It was finally manageable heat and still quiet. But the longer I couldn't sleep, the more I heard other noises (Xander getting up, trolleys, etc.)

Some birds are pigeon-cooers and nice. Others are like what you hear in this video, arguing with the local crow. This is a video from our dining room/kitchen balcony.

Can't fight it. Time to get up.

Going back a few days. The day before we left, I had a dental appointment. My appointment was originally scheduled during our trip, but with my dental history, I knew I had to bump it up. Good thing too. The dentist decided to give me a going away present - a filling! Yay! But seriously, I am suddenly reminded of our honeymoon and eating gelato. It would get onto one of my lower molars and radiating pain would linger for minutes. Turns out it was cracked and I had a root canal upon coming home. So, I'll take my tiny filling and feel confident about my teeth for the rest of the trip. Gelato every day!

Another trip comparison I keep thinking about is how technology has changed so much since the last time I've done a trip of this magnitude. All my journal writings in the Soviet Union, honeymoon, and Australia were with a pen. Now, I get to type it all up.

The last time I traveled big, I think was to Australia with Chris, before kids were born. When we landed, we changed our watches to local time. Done. Now, we're changing all our devices to the local region, changing clocks to be 24-hour clocks (so we can get used to the 24-hour time telling.) I've now changed the blog, so it will represent time where I am. I figured this out after posting last night's post and Venice couldn't find it. I had set it to post at 9pm, and it was after that, so why hadn't it posted? Because my blog was set to PDT time, so it scheduled it for later when PDT reached 9pm. I have now changed this so that everything works in my local time.

More on the apartment and our neighborhood (or neighbourhood).

On our way in from the market, we met Tony, our neighbour who lives below us. He's living here through (or up to, it was unclear) October. He was on his way out, so it was a quick exchange (don't know if he's alone or with family.) Not sure if he's an English speaking German (since they all are, right?) or if he's English. More on that as we get to know him. But, this was one of Venice's Bingo items (meet a neighbour!). Side note: The kids and I made our own Bingo cards, a 5x5 grid of things we'd like to try to do while on this trip. We're all going to see who can get blackout!

After the market, the kids had a snack of cereal. They haven't been big cereal eaters in the past, only dabblers. But it is an easy food to keep on hand so we bought two cereals (comparable Honey Nut Cheerios and Granola) and some milk (1,2 % fett, the 3,5 % fett seemed too close to whole milk?) The kids thoroughly enjoyed their snack of milk and cereal. Score! I only briefly wondered if the milk and dairy products would taste the same here. So far, no complaints. There are, however, complaints about the tap water. Neither kid wants to drink it. Might have to buy a Britta because we can't live on bottled water for three months and these kids are stubborn when it comes to bad tasting water. I get it. It isn't all that great. But I think I'll get used to it. My biggest complaint about the water is that it's luke warm. I'm sure, due to the heat wave, it comes out of the faucet warm. So, if I add ice, it's fine. Of course, the ice tray is tiny, so I can only cool down so much water. So, I need to search for a pitcher to keep cool water at the ready in the refrigerator.

At dinner last night, as I mentioned, Venice almost fell asleep in her chair and Xander couldn't sit upright. So, at one point, I told them they could walk home and Chris and I would finish our dinner. This is Berlin, after all. More free-range style parenting. Plus, we were only 3 blocks from home. Walking on the same side of the street the whole way. Venice was ready to do it. Xander wasn't so sure. So on the way home, we reminded the kids to look around, notice store fronts, and look to see the door to our apartment building (which is indistinguishably sandwiched between other buildings, so you could easily walk right by it.) Maybe next time they'll walk alone!

Last notes while I'm thinking about them. We have a microwave! And a dryer! This is HUGE! We didn't allow Venice to bring her rice-sock because we weren't sure we'd have a microwave. With no way to heat it, a rice-sock would be useless. But we have a microwave! We can heat a rice-sock (we have to go buy one now) AND leftovers! Now that I think about it, the microwave was probably in the on-line photos of the apartment. Oh well, it's working out to our advantage, so no feeling bad.

And, we have a dryer! The washing machine IS the dryer. You put your load in and it will be washed AND dried in the same unit. It is with utmost joy that I report this. I will not have to go to a communal area to dry clothes or have to hang dry (both of which are fine but I wasn't looking forward to three months of spending our time doing that.) And what cool technology. Maybe it's in the US and we just haven't seen it? Sure makes sense for tiny apartments and it must be cheaper than owning two individual units. But we discussed it and decided, we Americans can't be bothered to do only one thing at a time, just not time efficient. We want to be able to wash a second load while the first one is drying. Right?

Well, now it's a more reasonable time in the morning, although still earlier than I'd like. Perhaps now that some thoughts are out of my head, I can relax. Or, it'll be a big coffee day with napping.

1 comment:

  1. Love those "Cheerios" ! Great about the microwave and dryer. Maybe you should get some fans not only for now but for general use !?!?! Earplugs for sleeping ?? HUGS