Monday, December 24, 2012

The Best Christmas Market in Germany?

Having just been to Dresden this summer, even we were surprised to be back after 4 short months. But as the site of one of Germany's - thus the world's - best Christmas markets it was just that time of year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Creating a Crazy Ass Photo Advent Calendar- Week 2

In our continuing odyssey of  weird, we share more pictures of our photo advent calendar toward Christmas. Christmas markets, presents, and general madness - that's how we do.

December 8th

Somehow, 4 months after we first visited Dresden - we were back. One of the most beautiful markets in Germany - thus one of the most beautiful markets in the world - this place was pure magic. As much as we enjoyed it in summer, winter is Dresden's time to shine. 


German Christmas Market

Friday, December 7, 2012

Creating a Crazy Ass Photo Advent Calendar- Week 1

Last year, we were missing our family & friends. No longer our first Christmas in Germany, we glumly drank our glühwein , shuffled through the numerous Weihnachtsmarkt and sighed through carols of Stille Nacht. (Ok - maybe Christmas in Germany isn't so bad).

Then I had an idea. An awful idea. The Grinch - ahem! me - got a wonderful, *awful* idea! What if we sent the parents a photo everyday in a photo advent calendar? And not just any photo. An instant classic PorterBalls shot. Like this one:

Christmas Advent Portrait
Crazy Sears Christmas Picture (with adorable bunny)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

22 Things I am Thankful For & 29 before I'm 30

Have you seen the posts about "Things I'm Thankful For" & "29 things to do before I'm 30"? So sappy and sentimental amirite? Yeah,'s Thanksgiving and almost my birthday - I'm doing it. Basically, it's my blog and I can write what I want to.

22 Experiences I am Thankful For

Monday, November 12, 2012

Learning to Love in the Land of Whiskey, Whisky & Bourbon

liquor store Germany
Whisky Kaninett - Berlin

When a friend asked if we wanted to join a private tasting of bourbons and whiskeys at a shop in Berlin, there was only one right answer:


The Plan

As frequent drinkers of the cheap stuff, whatever that may be, I am not all that familiar with anything as tasty as whiskeys and bourbon. Despite my sketchy knowledge, we looked forward to a night of fine drinking. Six of us arranged to meet at the shop in Steglitz and drink to our hearts content. What we got was so much more. From 7:30 to about 11 we were inundated with fascinating facts about whiskey, whisky & Bourbon. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I could Never Run the Berlin Marathon

running in Germany Today was supposed to be the running of the New York Marathon. The last of the 5 big races making up the World Marathon Majors series,  it is also one of the largest in the world with usually over 40,000 finishers. But then a little storm called Hurricane Sandy (aka Frankenstorm) rolled in as the largest Atlantic hurricane on record with winds spanning 1,100 miles (1,800 km) and early calculations of a minimum of $20 to $25 billion dollars in damage. Not a good time for a run.

Luckily, this was not the case a few weeks ago when we went to cheer on our Irish friend in the Berlin Marathon. Dave & Ger had made their home in Neukölln for several years before repatriating back to Ireland. After a year away, they were back for the weekend to re-connect with the city and friends like us. It was bitter-sweet to see them back in the city we all love. It's not quite a vacation going back to a place you once called home, and in such a fast paced city that is constantly changing, they were at once familiar and estranged. This is just part of the pain of expat life, your friends may periodically leave (but if they're like us - maybe they'll come back).

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Helpy McHelperson: My advice on Moving to Berlin

Here I am again, eagerly badgering some poor soul asking questions about Berlin. Take it away Dear ebe!

Amtsgericht Wedding Berlin

Friday, October 12, 2012

On the Hunt for Mexican Ingredients in Berlin

While we were excited to see our favorite German, Mr. Thomas, back in Berlin, we were a bit stumped on exactly what we should do with him. He has visited us in Berlin a few times now (& we visited him in Cologne) and while the city continues to amaze, we want each visit to be spectacular.

Luckily, Thomas came with built-in interest. After a year living with my burrito-loving family and just off another year in Mexico City, he was as crazy for Mexican food as most of us expats. It was decided. We were going to climb our mount Everest. We were going to attempt the impossible. We were going to find real Mexican ingredients in Berlin. Hopefully the hunt wouldn't kill us.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

What NOT To Do at Oktoberfest

Opening weekend of the greatest beer festival in the world was last weekend and it seems everyone we know just got back or is on their way. We have been twice before, beginning and ending our year abroad in 2007-2008, but we didn't even talk about going this year. As amazing as the festival is, we are hesitant to make our way back.

Let's start with the amazing:

Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest
Oktoberfest 2008

Saturday, September 15, 2012

East German Loving: Dresden

Wanting to simply go anywhere, but lacking the important element of money, we stumbled on neighboring city Dresden. It's always been a bit embarrassing that we haven't gotten there, and what better time than now.

Dresden, capital of Saxony and home to many of it's princes and kings, is famous for its picture-perfect riverfront and majestic Old Town (Altstadt). Most public buildings have been impeccably rebuilt following the annihilation of the 1945 bombings. It is estimated that 75% of the historic center was destroyed during WWII and about 30,000 people died in the bombing.

A former city of Eastern Germany, it's unique geography once totally isolated it from the outside world, creating an unusually insular community. Today the city hosts around 10 million visitors a year and has a growing reputation as a must-see. What follows are observations form our visit.

daytrip from Berlin

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Seattle Brewery Tour - Love from Afar

In yet another of this-would-never-happen-in-Seattle moments, Ian has formed a friendship with one of the parent's at the Kita over his first love - no, not me - BEER. After receiving the gift of a nice ale, there has formed a reciprocal relationship of beer love.

Monday, August 27, 2012

How does Youtube work?

Deep thoughts I have while eating pizza on the Ubahn
We have a YouTube channel that we mostly just abuse. We toss "dad videos" up (just like dad's where he would film events for far too long with random narrative and then proudly show the unedited version) whenever we have time. So the quality is....not so hot.

Somehow, one video has rated a favorite among all the others.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

A Day Without the Internet

Because of stupid reasons, the internet company needed to turn off our service yesterday to switch over the contract. I was mostly prepared, or as prepared as you could be to have a long day home alone without internet, like in the bad old days.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Berlin: By Foot, By BVG, By Bike, By Car, By Boat, By Train, By Plane

I've talked so much about our adventures outside of the city lately (like new favorite Naples), I haven't been giving Berlin it's due.

One of the reasons it's one of the greatest cities in the world is transportation. Much of our problems with life in Seattle revolved around the mundane issues of how to get around. The city is surrounded by water as it is sandwiched between the Puget Sound and Lake Washington (among other bodies of water). Everyone has to funnel through certain areas, navigating the crisscrossing bridges. Gorgeous, but also capable of creating volcanic fury-inducing traffic jams.

And it's not like there is great - or even decent - public transit to rely on. A light rail system is being implemented, and we do have the laughable monorail from the world's fair, but buses are the main mode of public transport. They come in about 20 minute windows (if you're lucky), and are often crowded with the unwashed, the mentally ill, and the clinically dangerous (just check out The Stranger's frequent articles). We laugh (cuz if we didn't we'd cry) about our fancy neighborhood of Queen Anne having a higher crime than our "ghetto" kiez in Wedding.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Escape from Naples ~ Island of Procida

As excited as we were to be going to Naples and Pompeii, I was not pleased that our summer vacation would consist solely of hot & dusty sites. I love swimming and neither of these places were conducive for a dip. I've posted a bit about our successes (and failures) in this arena, but despite any setbacks - I really love a good swim. When I hear about expats in exotic lands with palm trees and turquoise water I have to fight the intense feelings of jealousy, no matter how awesome Berlin is.

So the whisper of islands off of Naples was intoxicating to me. I had heard of Capri (and it's epic tourist hordes), but the words Ischia and Procida were totally alien. At first we were leaning toward Ischia.
Ischia is a volcanic island in the Tyrrhenian Sea. It lies at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples, about 30 km from the city of Naples. It is the largest of the Phlegrean Islands. The Aragonese Castle was built on a rock near the island in 474 BC, by Hiero I of Syracuse.
Mmmm...sounded intriguing. Especially since the castle appears straight out of Game of Thrones.
The main industry is tourism, centering on thermal spas that cater mostly to European (especially German) and Asian tourists eager to enjoy the fruits of the island's natural volcanic activity, its thermal hot springs, and its volcanic mud. For many of the inhabitants on the Italian-speaking island, German and English are second languages. The  Aragonese Castle is owned by a hotel and thought the exterior is accessible, you cannot enter the castle. 
Hrm. That doesn't.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Visiting the Site of Gruesome Demise: Pompeii

Ian & Steves
On our trip to Naples, I'm going to be honest and say I didn't want to go to Pompeii. Something about it "being too touristy", "just ruins", and "taking time away from pizza eating in Naples" crossed my lips. But for once - Ian was adamant and Kyle was on his side (traitor).

We went & I take it back. Pompeii is filled with tourists, some armed with Rick Steves guidebook like Ian, but that's because it is a MUST SEE. Much more than just ruins, the site is impeccably set-up for awe inspiring history. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Our Berlin Orgin Story

A certain question has been coming up a lot lately. How the hell did we end up in Berlin? Meeting new people, chatting on that crazy interconnect known as the internet, and in a recent random e-mail:
Hey ebe/Ian,
Saw your blog/tweet, how did you guys manage to survive without job/housing in Berlin? I am back in Berlin, from Singapore and currently trying to see if I can 'survive' here. I was here in April and loved it thus I am back here now, 2nd day actually!
ebe & Ian in our first month in Berlin 2007

Look at these fools. How did we end up here?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Naples - When the Moon Hits Your Eye

As Berlin summer weather continues to prevail, (RAIN...lots of rain) we are brought back to a sunnier time, just a month ago, when we were in Naples with my nephew.

Naples & Vesuvious
Ian suggested titles for this post that were both apt and ridiculous.

*Naples, a lovely place to wa- WATCH out for the vespa!*
*Rome wasn't dirty enough for you? Ben venuto a Nopli*
*Buffalo Mozzerella and the Mystery of the Stolen Passports*
*Dr. Palm Tree - or How I Stopped Worrying about the Heat and Love the Camora*
*Naples - We came for the pizza, we stayed for the dirty-ass fountain*
*Don't want to siesta? Go for a walk with the tourists and Indians*
 *Naples - where the majority of people are Fat*

Friday, July 13, 2012

Venturing into Marzahn & Gärten der Welt

So this is Marzahn
You hear bad things about Marzahn. A neighborhood of Berlin, this is the far east. Straight black hair on "Sexy Braun" tans, wiggas thug about, plattenbaus tower, and occasional Nazi sightings go down here. Foreigners, particularly people of color, were once warned not to visit*.

But that's not all it is. More and more people flee the "cool" neighborhoods of Berlin as rents go up, creating pockets of hip in the outskirts of the city. This is leading to a rediscovery of places that were once written off. We're hoping our area of Wedding undergoes a bit of this transformation, (although gentrification is always contentious in Berlin). We would simply be happy with less drug deals in the entry to our building.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Back to Berlin on House Hunters International

Get on Reality TV
When we received an e-mail about being on House Hunters International, we thought it was spam. That's kind of a big deal and how would they have found our little blog among so many wonderful expats? But they did and yes, YES, we did want to be on it. And so we were.

Our Berlin Apartment Priorities 

  • Price - I am tough about our budget. When we first moved to Berlin in 2007, we generally found studio sublets (aka 1 room in Berlin) for around 400 euro warm (meaning total costs including electricity/water & in our case, internet and TV). We had now upped the budget to below 600 warm.
  • Neighborhood - We prefer Friedrichshain and the former east, but fierce competition had us searching further afield. In addition, Ian works at a kita in Pankow so somewhere close to the school was a plus.
  • Transportation - Berlin is big so a U-Bahn or S-Bahn station close to the house was mandatory.
  • Length of sublet - We're straight up tired of moving so the longer the better.
  • Internet & Amenities - We aren't fancy, but we need that internet.
  • Light & Airy - We like places that are light & bright and we don't have to look into our neighbors window. Balconies are my drug of choice.
  • Accepts pets - At this point we are packing a bunny and a cat. I'd be happy to turn our home into an animal farm. Ian is resisting.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Getting Down with Nature just Outside Berlin

canoe in GermanyIt's funny, I have already spent 10 years driving practically everyday. This is common as an American. It is not common in Berlin

I loved driving when I started at 16, taking my Bronco II - named Charlie - too fast around turns. Some of my best teenage memories are just driving with Charlie. It was my first love affair. But eventually, Charlie had to be put down and driving just got old. I relied on Ian for driving once we lived together, but still had to commute to work, waiting for the Ballard bridge to come down and Seattle traffic to unjam. I was pleased to switch to U-Bahn, S-Bahn, tram, bus, bike, and leg in Berlin. I hardly miss the car. 

BUT (of course there's a but) we have some amazing friends with a car. The best of both worlds! They suggested a camping trip in the Spreewald. Camping is one thing I do miss like mad and so we eagerly utilized Ian's German skills to call & see if any sites were available.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Badeschiff : Swimming in a barge in the Spree

Badeschiff is one of my favorite things in the city. I can't NOT swim as soon as the temperature raises above 50 degrees F (many a chilly swims in the Seattle Sound). And Berlin actually gets hot!....sometimes. While there are a plethora of lakes, this is the only way to swim in the river Spree.

swim pool in Berlin

Friday, June 15, 2012

Just another Karneval der Kulturen

When I posted about the May Day festivities in Berlin, I realized something. Everyone had already posted amazing pictures, info, etc. That's great, because these events are pretty seriously awesome - but doesn't make my posts unique little snow flakes. Thus, only a brief recap and pics of another great day in Berlin.

"The Carnival of Cultures presents the cultural and ethnic diversity of Berlin." For us, this means sun, food, beers, and one tiny red hat.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Where to take Your Texan Nephew in Berlin

Do you know what 18-year-olds like? I've got no idea. And I've got one coming to our house in Berlin tomorrow, straight off the plane from Texas.

My sister, Brandy, is almost exactly 10 years older than me. My elder nephew is 10 years younger. We're like those Russian nesting dolls. Brandy has trusted us to guide her first-born, Kyle, on his first trip to Europe before he enrolls in the Navy. This kind of trust - I simply don't know what to do with myself/him/etc. I am hoping my Berlin favs will stand up to test and we will have an amazing time. Press your thumbs for all of us....

To document how it all goes down, I am going to track our progress. I am expecting a lot of "okays" and mumbles in response from Kyle. That's how teens communicate, right?  We pick him up tomorrow.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

A Somber Visit to Hohenschönhausen

East German Prison
I took a Facebook poll of what I should post about next (Like our page - pretty please. We need affirmation.) and people actually answered! Pleasantly surprised, I went with the vote of the people and finished this half-done post about Hohenschönhausen.

A truly thought-provoking spot, I was moved and intrigued by our visit. So why did this post sit half done? Berlin is beyond being "discovered" at this point, and almost everything I want to blog about has been done before, and better. (Check out Chasing Heartbeats beautiful coverage). But by that logic, why should we do anything that has been done before? Why'd I even come to Berlin (twice) if it had already been "done" by other expats? Therefore, post I shall.

Whew. Enough boring introspection and a little more about a place you should want to get to know better....

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Holy Trinity of Mexican Food in Berlin

One of the greatest tragedies in German cooking is the absence of Mexican food.We practically live on taco trucks, hole-in-the-wall taquerís, and homemade tex-mex in Seattle. We were aghast to find poor man's Spanish food standing in for our beloved Mexican in Berlin when we arrived in 2007. Toto - we're not in Kansas anymore.

While it may seem strange for a couple of Seattleites to be talking up Mexican food, Ian has a mysterious past. He is actually from Eastern Washington. GASPPPPPPP!!! Oh - you have no idea why that's a big deal? Let me explain a little something about Washington state....

Monday, May 21, 2012

Why did you move back to Berlin?

"Because Berlin is one of the most exciting cities in the world."
"Because we weren't ready to be settled in Seattle. "
"Because we love being expats."

We got asked this question (and many more) over & over during the filming of our episode of House Hunters International. Set to air this Wednesday,
May 23, 2012 at 7:30 & 10:30 PM (West Coast time)
we are pretty sure we are going to look like smiling idiots that say things like "Wow!", "rain shower", and one really awkward "I love you". That doesn't mean we aren't excited.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Gorki Park - Russian in Berlin

Russian Food Berlin
Gorki Park in Berlin
We sat down outside Gorki Park a few weeks ago on a steamy day...only to have a burst of rain shower chase us inside. I am so glad it did. The area on the left is more of the restaurant side with the right bar side holding USSR gems. Posters, memorabilia - it was a really quirky setting. 

We had a Russian beer, Moskwa, and it came in a bad-ass glass. We asked how much the glasses were, but 6.50 was a little spendy (I know, our thriftiness is impressive). The beer itself was serviceable and added to the experience, but nothing that special.
Russian beer  

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Life by Bike in Berlin

Riding a bicycle in Berlin, Germany
Ian's Bike: Stray Bullet
We aren't what you'd call "serious bikers". A German friend that commutes by bike bemoans this time of year when the weather turns glorious and the lack of hills lulls the most amateur of amateurs into thinking they're a pro. "That's us!" I said proudly. We buy our bikes at flea markets for under 50 euro and the sole deciding process is:
  • price
  • can they hold our weight?
That 's how we ended up with 2 ladies purple bikes. We're quite  a sight to behold.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Gritty & Glorious - Erster Mai

May Day is one of the premiere events in Berlin. Though I had little idea it even existed in the United States, I now eagerly look forward to this kick-off of summer festivities.

This year we took on another part of the celebration we were similarly ignorant of. Have you heard of Walpurgisnacht? I didn't even know how to say it. This day falls exactly half a year from November 1 and has roots in European pagan rituals. A time of bonfires, witchery, and spookiness - I was in.

Arena Berlin

The traditional place to go in Berlin is Mauerpark and I had full intention of going. Friends had intentions of going to Badeschiff. Only half-reluctantly, I changed plans and headed to one of my favorite places in Berlin. After a recent facelift to the surroundings, the open-air club was looking even more magical than usual.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Apartment #7 in Berlin

We finally found it.  The apartment to show on House Hunters International. The place we might really call a home after move after move. The apartment we could love in Berlin.

The problem?

There was a gap of a week from when we had to be out of the last place, and into the new one. Shit

Luckily, we found an affordable short term lease that was even convenient to move between the 2 places - sold!...or leased, rather. Here is the apartment tour #7 of our short term in Neukölln.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hometown Love

Before I wax too poetic about Berlin (because we've had some pretty unbelievably good weekends of late), it's important to look at our recent trip to the States and our favorite corner - Seattle.

Seattle sights
Space Needle

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Real Berlin Bears

I never even knew how to say Berlin properly till I visited Ian's class of adorable pre-schoolers.

"Where do you live?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

April, April, der weiss nicht, was er will...

You know, considering all German months are masculine (der Dezember, der Januar, der Februar...), April sure is a bitch.  It's a common saying here in Germany (and Berlin in particular) that April has no idea what it wants.  One minute the sun is shining and you’re singing praises to the gods, and the next moment you're freezing your balls off.  Such was Ebe's and my experience just this past Saturday...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Hühnerhaus - Kreuzberg

Kreuzberg was the first kiez (neighborhod) we lived in this time around. The apartment was a really lovely, if awkwardly arranged one bedroom with crazy high ceilings and a great view of street life out front. We moved there in November (always practical) and it was one of the snowiest winters Berlin had ever seen. Tromping 5 minutes to the Netto filled your boots with snow and made you really question if you needed that tube of toothpaste today.
Berlin winter

Friday, March 23, 2012

Favorite Part of My Job

After weeks of trying to hang on to a work schedule amid travels (NYC, West Side & East Side of WA), family reunions, and meet-up with friends in Seattle, we returned to Berlin and I, for one, was ready to work. Our internet connection, however, had other ideas.

We flew Seattle-NYC Sunday March 18th, the day after St. Patrick's Day. Strategically, we planned an evening flight. This turned out to be unnecessary as a stomach flu made swift work of the Porter family on Thursday and we were still a bit weak on Saturday. We were only able to handle a few tiny American beers for St. Patty - a sad send off of debauchery. No matter. We said good-bye to family, then friends, only to be dropped off at the airport and note a 6 hour delay. Shit.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Escape to New York

What is there to say about New York that hasn't been said before? We LOVED our 4 night detour in the city on our way home to Seattle. They say a picture says a thousand words, so in my typical unable to edit fashion....

New York City buildings
We've had a lot of success renting rooms/apartments from AirBnB & did so again in New York. The room we stayed in was in a 3-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. The two guys were great, and the room was just as advertised - private, access to rooftop deck with view of Manhattan, wifi, etc.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Re-acquainted with "Home"

You can always tell when real life is is much too fun because your internet world suffers. Sorry Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, work, and -yes- even you dear blog. Being back home in the USA has proved to be all-consuming. Going on art walks with friends we haven't seen in over a year, playing Taboo with family (guess what my Father-in-Law was trying to get me to say with "cum fish"), eating steaks the size of our's been Americana. We hadn't realized how much we'd missed it.

Trip at Warp Speed

Saturday, February 25, 2012

USA, USA, USA - An Expat Return home

We're back!

Back in the land of big coffees, big American breakfasts, big cars, vast lands, Mexican food, livestock, childhood friends, homesteads, driving, BBQs, Oscars, TV, and FREEDOM. We are back in American & couldn't be happier.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Our visit to the Museums of Paris

During our trip to Paris in December, we got all cultured. We did this (primarily) through buying the Museum Pass and going museum crazy.

We are museum lovers and prefer to visit a museum over & over, slowly absorbing the incomprehensible displays of grace and beauty BUT a week long trip to Paris only affords a precious hour or two in each place. Even then we missed some must-sees. We're sorry. This action packed museum itinerary was exhaustively carried out over 2 days and was so incredibly worth it.
Foucault pendulum

A glimpse at some greatness.

First stop:


This was the major landmark by our airbnb apartment. Located in the Latin Quarter in Paris, it is a secular mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens such as Marie Curie, Victor Hugo, Voltaire, Rousseau, etc. Modeled on the Pantheon in Rome, the building is known for Foucault's pendulum a simple device conceived as an experiment to demonstrate the rotation of the Earth. While it had long been known that the Earth rotated, the introduction of the Foucault pendulum in 1851 was the first simple proof of the rotation in an easy-to-see experiment.

Friday, February 3, 2012

"Germans sure know how to Blow Shit Up"

My dad recently joined Facebook (which is all kinds of funny) and the title of this post is the comment he left on this video of Berlin's New Years. Well played Daddio.

It's true, Berlin's Silvester celebration is not only like nothing I've ever seen before, but like nothing I've ever even seen in my dreams. It's madness. It's excitement incarnate. It's magic. I've written about it 1, 2, 3 times before, but this year was the best of them all.

This year we hurried back from Paris on December 31st to enjoy our 3rd New Years in Berlin, this time with our Berlin friends that actually stayed in town. We ended up on a rooftop for midnight and I can say - without hesitation - this was the best New Years celebration I have ever enjoyed.

Monday, January 30, 2012

We're Going Home!

We have been teasing our friends & family with plans for a Seattle visit for months now. Now the rumors can die as we have something even better:

Plane tickets!

We are flying to NYC for the first time and will fit in as much hot dog/pizza/bagel/deli eating, Broadway shows, comedy, art and pictures as possible. I've got a happy little NYC Pinterest board together gathering all the info of things I want to see & do (please feel free to give us tips, we're flying blind). No joke, we're excited

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Egads - We're Moving Again

I've always liked moving. I guess that makes me a bit of an anomaly. But I like getting rid of all the old things, re-organizing, and making a new Home.

What I do not like, what I am completely and totally over, is looking for a new place. When we moved to Berlin in 2007, we stayed in a total of 2 sublets. It was a relatively inexpensive and pain free experience, so when we returned to Berlin in 2009 it made sense for us to look for sublets again. We have now lived in 6 apartments, been ripped off, and been rejected in our application for our own apartment because we are foreigners. We're tired, so very tired, of this whole apartment debacle. I loathe thinking about how much time, energy, stress, and money we have spent on it.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

10 Things we Didn't Know about Paris

Rocking some 'stache for France
 1. People smiled! I can't even explain how this lightened our already luminous moods. While the stereotype of Germans being cold and humorless is far from totally true, they don't smile much, especially in the blustery NE corner. The first time we went to London was after a month in Berlin and there too we felt the friendly vibe we didn't realize was missing in our Berlin lives. Obviously this is just our experience, but we always laugh when people talk about how unfriendly the Londoners are or about the rudeness of the French. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Vienna: Much more than a little Sausage

Ian & I were excited to return to Vienna as we have been there several time and indulged in the cafe culture, oohhhed & ahhed at Stephansdom, and ate and ate and ate. But returning with the parents this time, we realized we actually hadn't spent much time in this Austrian wonder. In our usual whirlwind fashion of travel we had been here on our way elsewhere, but only actually stayed for 1 or 2 nights. This was an egregious error that needed correcting and we couldn't have been happier with our latest experience.

As always, what follows are our highly unscientific, capricious ratings of "The City of Dreams" (home to Sigmund Freud).

Vienna Ratings:

 lantern Europe

Saturday, January 7, 2012

It's just not quite Christmas without Family

Doesn't it always seem like warp speed toward Christmas, followed by an utter melt down in January? With our trip to Paris, harrowing apartment hunt, and plans to return home, it's easy to forget about the German Christmas magic that swept us off our feet not so long ago.

Here are the pictures of Christmas I didn't share in our Christmas Advent Calendar Count - Down


Tuesday, January 3, 2012 Paris!

We had an epic time the last time we went to Disneyland in California. Both of us had been as kids (Ian went many times as his family is Disney obsessed) but our first trip together was during our 1 year anniversary (Married - yea!). We road tripped all the way to SoCal- visiting fam AND to visit the "Happiest Place on Earth". And we were deliriously happy. A week before Halloween, the place was decorated like never before and lines were almost non-existent. We rode every ride in the place in one day and rode some of our favorites back-to-back, gleefully getting off a ride only to run right back on.  Best. Disney. Trip. Ever!

We're Back in Berlin Ja!

We're Back in Berlin Ja!
ebe & ian at Yak-toberfest 2008