Monday, October 5, 2015

Day 53: Deutsch Post

We are at the point of our travels where there is so much that is familiar, and thus we have to actively introduce new things to shake up a "settled upon" routine. And yet, there is still so much left unexplored.

Today, I walked home a different way, trying to see new things. The main thing I noticed, is that the trees, seemingly overnight, have started to change colours and drop their leaves. The trees where I took the kids' photos are still fairly green, so not ready for a second photo shoot, but other trees have definitely started turning. Vines on buildings have a brilliant red. My biggest fear is that so many leaves are dropping, that the trees will be bare before we get vibrant fall colours.

Mauerpark (top), Humboldthain park (bottom-left)
Gartenstra├če (bottom-middle), Monbijoupark (bottom-right)

When I returned to the apartment, the kids were playing together (on the computers) and I didn't want to interrupt (times like these, you have to understand...  you don't interrupt!)

So, I took this time to head to the market for some needed food items (remember, we didn't get to go over the weekend). I was so proud of myself, getting everything, giving the correct change, etc. That it was a big let down as I was mostly home when I realised I forgot to by meat for dinner. Doh!

After lunch, the kids helped me finish our postcards (we had done a few last week, but needed to finish others) so that we could send them today. Side story: DHL is owned by the Deutsch Post. DHL started in SF, CA and the Deutsch Post began acquiring stock until they had a majority ownership. The Deutsch Post absorbed DHL and grew from there.  I didn't know this. And so, as you're walking through Berlin, you see DHL store fronts all over town. They are somewhat synonymous with the Deutsch Post. That being said... I wanted to go to an actual Deutsch Post to find international stamps for our postcards... just to be sure I was in the right place that would have what I need.

A line, just like home.
(This is only half the line)
Guess what? The Deutsch Post is just like the U.S. Post Offices. Long lines! I heard a lot of groans and exasperated reactions as other patrons walked in the doors to see the long line. Perhaps it's not normally like that? So, we waited for our turn. 20 minutes for us to wait and complete our transaction. Not that different than back home.

I haven't purchased postcard stamps in a long time. I know the U.S has international "Forever" stamps, I've seen them, they're pretty cool. But, I don't know if this is what you'd use for a postcard or if postcards have their own stamp. Here, in Berlin, when I asked for stamps to send postcards internationally, I was given what I was given. I have no idea if they would work for letters too or if they're just for postcards. Again, it's been so long since I've mailed a postcard (other than perhaps handing it to a hotel and asking them to send it), that I don't know if there is a distinction between the two types of mail anymore. So, these stamps from the Deutsch Post... are NOT self sticking. We have to lick them. The woman behind the counter pointed to a table in the corner and indicated that there was a bowl with a wet sponge for us to use. I joked and said I was going to have the "kinder" lick them. She thought I was funny (success!)

However, when we arrived at the table in the corner, a woman was there taping up her package and utilising the entire table. After a few minutes, it was clear that she would not be yielding her position anytime in the near future as she was putting tape over every inch of her package. So, dang it. I licked the stamps. Xander declined to help. Venice did a couple. So, if you get a postcard, it was definitely sealed with love!

By this time, Xander was ready for the promised park and a large-green field to play frisbee. But, Venice and I cajoled him into allowing us to quickly stop into a comic bookstore just a block away. I love children's books in foreign languages, as they're about my speed (ok, not the children's books, but more like the toddler/baby books... cardboard pages... 3-4 words per page...) But, I've realised, I really want a comic book, with comic strips, like Peanuts or such. And I saw a comic bookstore just the other day. And we were so close, so let's just stop in. We promised 15 minutes only. And we mostly kept that promise. I found Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, and Garfield. Perfect. Venice found a graphic novel she's been wanting (the copy in the store was in English). But she read the entire thing while I was browsing. So, she was able to leave it there. Win-win!

Now to get back on the tram to head to the park I've been eyeing for weeks.

Xander was happy. Lots of green grass. We played with the frisbee for a while. The kids explored the new equipment. I read my book while sitting in the grass. We took silly photos with the Fernsehturm (TV Tower) and the park statue (this is what you do to shake up routine... aka what to do when you're bored).

In the ear and up the nose. Eating. Climbing.

Xander, the wrestling champion. And Venice practicing Acro with her partner.

Bode Museum
While at the park, I noticed something moving behind the trees at the back of the park... what was it? It was a boat! Here's where I remind myself that I still don't know everything about this place (I haven't completely memorised the map of Berlin). I had no idea we were that close to the river. So, after the kids were ready to leave, we walked a few feet to the river's bank to watch the tour boats go back and forth. I looked up the building we were looking at (The Bode Museum) only to realise that we were looking at Museum Island. This is on our list of places to visit before we leave. And now, I have a better idea of where it is. I knew where it was... but now I can imagine its location apart from being just a stop on a transit route.

This is when I desperately text Chris if he can pick up "meat" on his way home. He said, "yes!" I feel like I've won the lottery. I will not have to go back to the market.

It was a lovely home cooked meal with fresh salad. A nice way to begin the week after a weekend of big meals from restaurants and fast food from the faire.

And now I'll leave you with this side note: We have been seeing the word, "Zander" on a lot of menus and sandwich boards. I finally remembered to look it up. Zander means "pike-perch". So, I wonder how it sounds to the locals as we tell, "Xander!" all about town.

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