Monday, September 7, 2015


Today truly was a DO NOTHING day. This blog is pointing out that we need to get over our "rest days" and get back out there.

Cemetery on Bernauer Straße, where I did the "Wall" walk the other day.
I didn't feel I should walk through the cemetery, but I just peaked in.
The grounds are beautiful with all the permanent greenery.
I walked Chris to work, as usual. It's definitely cooler. As much as you heard us talk about the heat, well, now you'll hear us talk about the cooler weather (we're closing windows!) I almost wish I had gloves on this morning's walk. However, half way through, our blood pumping now, we walked on the sunny-side of the street and it was much warmer.

I jogged (for a few blocks), as I try to do on my way home, and decided to go back the way of the "Wall" walk on Bernauer Straße. I had read a lot of the signage the other day. As I meandered a lot, I was very late getting home and so I skipped the last part of the walk. Today, I was able to finish the walk and come home from a different direction (I am getting better and better at understanding the layout of our neighbourhood, memorising street names and directions!)

The same cross I photographed the other day, but today, I went "artistic".
I am drawn to its symbolism (representing the unknown number
of WWII bombing victims suspected to be buried here).
I try to take the information in little bits. I just can't feel all the emotions at once. How it must have been to have your family and community torn in two, separated by a wall. And how, for the younger generations, who knew no life before the Wall, this separation was "normal". I think of how Germany is now allowing thousands upon thousands of refugees (or, immigrants, as some are calling them) into their country, knowing it's going to be a financial (and space?) burden in the short term. How a country with a horrible history is leading the world in being humane.

Poles representing the West side of the Wall (left and middle)
Remnants of the inner East Wall (right)
I am struck by the similarities of the photos I'm seeing of those entering Germany today to the photos around town of people flooding the borders in 1989 when the wall came down.

I have not seen much about the refugee issues here in Berlin. But then again, I can't read the papers or understand the news. Perhaps I can watch the BBC channels and see. The only thing I have seen is a Facebook link a friend posted, that talks about how Berliners can get help (via crowd funding and other ideas) if they have space for a flatmate. This agency will help match a refugee to your profile and help them get settled in your home. They are asking for a year of housing for the refugee (and again, via funding, you are not asked to help with their rent for a year). But other than this, I haven't seen any other news, up here in Berlin.

We are headed to Oktoberfest, in a few weeks, which is in Munich. I am wondering if we'll see anything different then.

Changing subject: The kids and I were LAZY today. I forced us to go to the market after lunch, just so we could say, "they got outside today". Milk, yogurt, meat, and ginger ale (for Venice, not because she's sick, but because I couldn't say, "no"). I joked, before coming to Berlin, that I would be going to the market every day, and I sure feel like I'm fulfilling my part of that deal. It's hard, when your refrigerator is small and you have limited tupperware. Side note: Chris asked his coworkers if they cook? Most of them said that they do cook, but they go out a lot more often because it's so cheap. I wonder how much it's also because they're all single? I remember, before kids (really, I do), that Chris and I went out to eat almost all the time. Our "dining table" served as a "mail-holder" and "storage-shelf". So, I'm not sure his coworkers are the ones to ask about German dining habits.

Also, I did laundry today! But, that's almost a daily activity, just like the market. I try to do one load a day, knowing I'm going to have to hang dry in between loads. If I do too many in a day, our drying rack can't handle enough drying items. I also like to keep up because seeing dirty laundry is icky to me (it's the one thing I do willingly in our house... I can handle a dirty sink or bathroom, but laundry to-be-done just stares at me and NEEDS TO GET DONE NOW!) It might not help that the kids have tiny laundry baskets in their rooms (perfect for the tiny laundry machine) but Chris and I don't have a laundry basket. I'm not sure why the owners didn't see it fit to give us one for the main bedroom? And for a few months, that's not what I want to spend my money on. However, our current solution is to put it into piles (colour sorted of course) in the back corner. So, it's hidden from the hallway, but from my side of the bed, I see it every day, every time I walk to my part of the closet, so... it's starting at me and I must do it.

Chris was supposed to play volleyball with his coworkers this evening. We planned to eat without him. But, do to the change in weather (it's too cold, they said!) his coworkers all decided to bail out. So, Chris is home for dinner (but returning late), so I cooked (wow!) and food was almost ready by the time he stepped into the house (yay, me!)

And, Venice and I worked together for our first attempt at cookies. We eyeballed certain measurements, converted the others (grams into cups and back again). We chopped up the dark chocolate bar (at least that's what I thought I bought, turns out it was a dark chocolate filled with caramel... even better!) for our chocolate chips. And we hand stirred it all (oh yeah, no mixer!) They turned out great! I think I could have put in a little more salt.

Oh, and we "on faith" put Vanilla Aroma into our batter. It's all I could find for vanilla extract. It was in the baking section. It tasted ok, so I confidently told Venice it was NOT oil for burning, but definitely for baking. Turns out, I'm right (phew). I found someone else's blog on how hard it is to find comparable baking ingredients over here and they say vanilla aroma is one of their versions of vanilla extract.

I left them in the oven a little long, so they are crispy (excellent with milk) and we'll try again, for sure.

P.S. Xander was upset with me because I wouldn't let him eat the batter. I don't know how worried (if at all) I need to be about salmonella in the eggs here. From what I understand, it's fine in the US because the eggs in the store have been treated (I guess the salmonella is mostly located on the shell, and it gets in the egg when you crack it?) but the eggs here are straight from the farm and at room temperature (until we Americans put them into our refrigerator), so I just don't know... but I do know... Xander was not pleased with my decision.

1 comment:

  1. Germany is gaining a positive reputation from her willingness to take in so many refugees, who will probably stay. It is good for both groups. Germany, has an aging population and needs young vigorous workers. The refugees, need a home and work to sustain them. Most all of Europe has the issue of an aging population and will be well served by an influx of new young people..