Friday, October 28, 2005

Friedrichschain Tanka

Waiting for subway
Ukulele lady drinks beer
Little freaked, cool vibe
Homeless guy does graffiti
Meowing guy stops, train gone

Here's another little tidbit, if you want to waste time at work... visit to see an entertaining, if slightly horrifying Germany information site.

have a great weekend

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Media Analyst at work again

Though I am no longer scanning the newspapers at the embassy, I have resumed this daily ritual at the Adenauer Foundation. This time I am looking for articles about the Middle East and public diplomacy. But as in Washington, I also enjoy perusing the papers for fun and odd stories that make the news. Two articles caught my eye in the last week:

1. It was announced recently that the TV Tower, which is located at Alexanderplatz in downtown Berlin will be decorated as a huge soccer ball to celebrate the soccer world championship, which will take place in Germany this summer. I hope the energy surrounding the games only continues to grow as the championship gets closer!

I would like to propose an addition to the festivities. Just as the Ben Franklin statue in Philadelphia is given a sports jersey or hat if a local professional sports team makes it to the championships, I think Quadriga, the statue on top of the Brandenberg Gate, should be given a soccer jersey and a pair of Adidas soccer cleats.

2. In other news, Berlin has been given the honor of "Germany's Dirtiest City" by a national research institute. The mayor's response to the survey: "that's crap!" Another story that was making news in Berlin last month was talking garbage cans, which had been installed around the city. They say "vielen dank" when something is thrown away. I haven't actually found one yet, but I love the idea. I don't think that would work in DC though. I can just see the Secret Service being sent out with the bomb squad because people think there are electric devices in the trash cans around the city.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Two Months in Germany

It has been brought to my attention by a number of friends that this blog is not what they expected. It's not juicy enough, it's being censored, the real story is hidden. Some people have suggested that I create a password-protected blog where people could get "the real scoop." Others have suggested special code words to describe my more fun (if slightly questionable) adventures. Just yesterday I was presented with, "it's great that you bought German shoes, the real question is where did you go in those shoes, what did you do and with whom did you do it?"

HELLO, did you know me before I left for Berlin? Was I dancing on tables, drinking and kissing random people before!? ;-) Were you expecting the Washingtonienne goes to Europe?

No, seriously, thanks for reading and commenting. I have been in Germany for two months today! What an awesome two months it has been! I will continue to post my thoughts and stories about living in Europe. As for juicy details, you never know when they might pop up...stay tuned.

Monday, October 24, 2005

"Bitte nicht"

Upon returning to my apartment after meeting Carl for a coffee yesterday, I ran out to get falafel sandwich before Noelle was supposed to call from the States. I grabbed my umbrella, $2.50 for the sandwich and headed out the door.

Stop. think fast: What did Erin forget?
Answer: her keys!
Ah, nuts!

But this should not be a problem because the hausmeister has an extra set. Wrong! Frau Blinde obviously has a more exciting social life than I do because she was not home at 7:30pm last night. But this still shouldn't be a problem because the "nice" old lady next door will let me use her phone to call my landlady, right? Wrong! When she came to the door, I explained my predicament and asked if I could use her phone. Her answer: "bitte nicht" ("sorry no") and she shut the door. She is now on "the list" and will not be receiving Christmas cookies from me this year!

Though I did momentarily see visions of me sleeping on the street like I did in Amsterdam, thankfully the story gets better from here... I rode the subway without a ticket to a friend's house in Kreuzberg (and didn't get caught.) She was home and we found my landlady's phone number. The landlady was home and had a spare key! (She will be getting the extra cookies that were meant for my neighbor!) I took the subway back across town, picked up the key and was happily home 2 hours after my little adventure began.

Fast forward to today... upon returning back from lunch, I found the department locked and no one was inside.

What is going on?! Conspiracy or stupidity and bad luck, you be the judge:-)

I took today's lockout as a sign that I should get a hot chocolate at the cafe down the street;-)

Lesson learned: a spare set of keys is only effective if it is located outside the apartment.

Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Chapel of Love (in Caputh)

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending Christina and Niels wedding in Caputh, a village outside of Potsdam, which is a town outside Berlin. Caputh is filled with cobblestone streets, picturesque houses and small local restaurants. The town's claim to fame is Einstein's summer house (think Jolli Lodge), which he used until right before he left for Princeton. Caputh is also known for the Caputh Castle. Christina and Niels got married in the church on the property and the reception was in another building overlooking Lake Templin.

The service was a good mix of Christina and Niels and German, American and Catholic (which really throughs a good Presbyterian for a loop) traditions. The pews were decorated with boxwood wreaths hung with orange ribbons. The alter (and Christina's bouquet) was decorated with a gorgeous mix of flowers and berries in fall tones. The happy couple walked down the aisle together (this may have been because they were married in a civil service in Denmark last year.) Christina is German and Niels is American so the service was conducted by a priest that spoke a bit of both. Family members read Bible passages, though there were not numerous bridesmaids and groomsmen as you would see at an American wedding. I thought one of most special touches to the service was that the priest asked Niels (and he responded) in German whether he would "love, honor and obey Christina..." The priest then spoke to Christina (and she answered) in English to the same. I am sure that was very meaningful to the respective families.

It was pouring rain after the service, so everyone walked briskly to the Cavalier House for the champagne reception (German tradition.) The bride and groom had a receiving line and everyone could enjoy a glass of bubbly and chat. To my pleasant surprise, Katheryne, a colleague from Washington, was at the wedding. It was wonderful to catch up with her (and maybe gossip a bit about work!) Since neither one of us knew anyone else at the wedding, it was also nice to have a buddy for the evening.

Dinner began at 6 (a bit early because of the rain.) After pumpkin soup for the first course, Christina's father gave a wonderful toast, which included a priceless description of his first impression of Niels: "Christina's boyfriend the viking." A wonderful buffet dinner followed. Afterwards, there was cake and dancing. The groom's cake (southern US tradition,) was red velvet and decorated with Elvis to reflect Niels' southern roots and love of "The King." The wedding cake, was decorated with flowers that matched Christina's bouquet. Dancing seemed to be more of an American thing. Christina's relatives seemed intrigued by the loud Americans dancing to Greece songs, but did not really participate:-)

I caught a train from Potsdam back to Berlin at 1am, but the party was still going strong. Soup had just been served so people could keep on celebrating. There will probably be sleepy people at brunch this morning! What a special evening!