Sunday, October 18, 2009

approximately new material

well, it has been quite some time.

that is for not writing any messages about my life for quite some time now. mostly i just sort of got sidetracked.

news: i have mostly sewn my halloween costume together. i am not really one for halloween costumes in normal years but i expect 2009 to be a good year for halloween. i am excited about our party, which will be on the 31st at supersonic in neukolln.

other news: quile is coming! hopefully; also sarah and rene will come and visit our berlin house. i am generally excited.

this is the view from my couch to outside the window, where it is cold cold cold cold and autumn and windy windy windy

it is not the best sort of picture but it looked so gloomy: i am not sure why it is so difficult to take picture of exactly what i see

i fixed my website, & although it has nothing important on it i think it might be pretty.

i made a really lovely lunch today.

mostly it also looked pretty, which i liked. i am not sure how healthy it was, because i used all of this oil to do all of this frying because it was a vegetable-frying sort of sunday.

Monday, May 25, 2009


things at the kita are still going really well. the kids are super cute, and despite some staffchanges and some minor parent drama, it's fascinating. and i get so many hugs!
the weekend before last we went to amsterdam. we had planned to meet steph and her mom there for awhile, but i sort of forgot about it until the last minute with all the trial stuff and general lifebusiness. anyway, we ended up flying, because it turned out that flights and traintickets were approximately the same price when you book the trip a month or so in advance. it was nice to fly; the train trip is around six hours, and the flight is less than two, which is buena-buena when you only have a three day weekend. aside from phil taking the wrong bus to meet me at the airport & therefore being around 45 minutes late, the flight was uneventful. we got to amsterdam in the evening, walked around a little bit, and went to check in to our hotel, which ended up being super far from the center of the city: we took one of the metro lines (amsterdam only has a few metro lines, and they mostly go from the center of the city to the suburbs. ahoy, light rail!) to the last stop and then walked along the highway through lots of what smelled like cowfields, past a horse-riding-farm, and into a pretty parking lot with our (nautical-themed) "riverside" hotel. it was actually kind of nice. it was less expensive then staying in a hostel in town, and i thought it might be fun to be able to leave our stuff in our room without lockers and to come in late without worrying about waking up other hostelpeople. or being woken up by hostelpeople.
i did some preliminary research (in the internet!) before we left, because although we both like openended cityexploring, we spent a lot of our completely unresearched and unplanned trip to london wondering what exactly we were looking at.
we got up super early to go to the anne frank house. i really wanted to see it, and i got tickets online ahead of time to be extraorganized. i read that it was better to go in the early morning or right before closing to avoid millions of schoolchildren (there were still quite a lot of schoolchildren) so we went when it opened (around ninethirtyish). it was eerie being in the actual rooms that anne frank & family hid in. i cannot imagine staying quiet inside rooms that tiny all day everyday for years. it seems impossible. it made the entire story much more unavoidably real, and it had a very different feel from places like dachau or museums.
we did a lot of walking arould the city, and we went to see a bunch of neat places, like the rijksmuseum, which is the national art museum (lots of ship art and rembrants).
while we were walking around, we met a lovely lady named elsa who was german, and we ended up having tea with her in a cafe while we talked about germany and all sorts of things (in german!). she was very nice, and we hope to keep in touch.
the buildings in amsterdam are all very interesting- very beautiful and old. they all lean slightly to one side or the other; i suppose this is due to the fact that amsterdam is built on reclaimed land. also, all of the houses have excellent hooks on the front for hoisting things in and out of the windows. this city is wellknown for having Very Narrow Staircases. they are also very steep, and dangerousfeeling. the canals and scenery were lovely, and all the people we met spoke absolutely flawless english- even the man cleaning the train at night! how incredible.
we met stephanie and her mom and some of her mom's friends, who were all very nice, and we ate at a cute restaurant, got to hang out a lot, although unfortunately steph got a little bit very sick and we had to have a crazy taxi adventure to get her back to her hotel and then up the stairs.
all in all, it was a very beautiful city, and i cannot wait to return.

Monday, April 27, 2009

tegeler seefront property! and stuff.

this is what i want for my birthdae.
well, mostly just the orange one.
actually, i really don't want that at all, but i do think it is funny and also awesome. well, maybe i do want it. anyway:
things are going really well. i had brunch with my coworkers today. the weather was fantastic! we were supposed to meet at 11; however, i forgot that the trains run slow on sundays, and i realised i was going to be about 30 minutes late. i had left the cellphone with phil, because he was meeting someone that afternoon, so i couldn't call- i was worried that they'd think i wasn't coming. when i got there, i realised i wasn't even the last person- we still had to wait for two more people! i felt much better. it was a mexican restuarant, but other than cheese quesadillas, scrambled eggs and some kind of potato-vegetable type thing, it was mostly european breakfast food. still, it was awesome. after we ate, we sat outside for awhile in the very beautiful sunshine!
i'm still really enjoying my job: it's great. at first i was a little worried that it would be too much like babysitting, but it's actually very rewarding. the method that we use encourages the kids to be self-sufficient as much as possible, and it's surprising how much a two-year-old can accomplish if they're allowed to try to do things themselves. and it's really nice to have a job that i'm actually excited about every morning. my coworkers are all really wonderful, too, which makes it even better.
yesterday we went for a walk around tegel (our neighborhood) and realised that it's actually a very pretty and quaint area. there are a lot of beautiful churches, and some really pretty old buildings. we found some nice parks, a playground with a really cool spinny-climby tower (phil was too big) (german playgrounds are way cooler than american ones! the one in solingen by sarah's house has a wheel that you can stand/walk/run in, kind of like this. i tried to brace my hands and feet and spin all the way around in it but i fell out when i went upside down), and we went down to the Tegler See, which is a really big lake & suprisingly close to our apartment. it's about 1.2 kilometers, or 15 minutes walk, according to google maps. i'm getting more and more excited about tegel. it is still really far out from the city, and i would like a balcony and wood floors, but i do like our neighborhood a lot more now then i thought i was going to at first.
about five minutes walk from our house is the borsigturm, which i may have already written about. it's a shopping mall with clothing stores and restaurants and ice cream and a branch of our bank (berliner sparkasse). another five or ten minutes walk along the same street and you are in old tegel. most of the neighborhoods of berlin used to be individual cities, and tegel is one of them. the old tegel downtown is a little like a small town, with local stores, shops, and the alt-tegel u-bahn station (it's only one stop from our station, borsigwerke). there's a few art stores, which i like, and i found a copy shop that will scan things for me and a secret asian store run by a lady from vietnam down a back street a few days ago. i bought jasmine tea and dried mushrooms. they have fresh tofu, which is exciting, and really pretty chopsticks.
well, i have to go to bed: i have to get up kind of early to take the train to work. it takes me about 45 minutes to get there on weekdays, and it is never good to be sleepy when you have so many littlekids to play with.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

yay! it's april!

clearly, i'm not good at blogwriting.

apologies all around. i've been so busy being excited about spring that i forgot to post things. phil has done a much better job and you can read his blog here.

so: new developments: it's finally not winter anymore, which is beautiful. it's about 60-70 out and sunny most of the time, although it does (occasionally) rain. the trees are green, flowers are out, and people have appeared all over the city! the parks are all full of people sitting on blankets and towels and having picnics and reading books and relaxing, and the outdoor tables at cafes and restaurants are full of people!

last week was easter break from the kita, and phil and i went back to the us so that i could testify in the sentencing hearing for the kidnapper. he was sentenced to 59 years with no option for parole. this is good. i got to see aunt maureen, uncle larry, my dad!, allie & dana, and of course quile (& co.) alas, it was such a short visit!

things at the kindergarten are going fantastically! the kids are so awesome. it's really interesting to watch them learn- you can actually see it happening with kids that are this little. one of our kids just started talking last week, and she already knows so many words (even some in english!). it's amazing. and fun! i get to take naps and play legos and pretend to be animals and dig in the sandbox.

we have some furniture now, which is good. i helped a friend of mine move and she gave us a desk with shelves, a little table with drawers, a computerdesk, two wardrobes (german apartments don't have closets, which is weird), and two tall thin bookshelves.

future plans: hopefully, we'll be going to amsterdam for the weekend in the middle of may to see stephanie! also, everyone should come and visit us.


Saturday, February 7, 2009

new developments.

hello everyone!

we just returned to berlin from our exciting three week stay in the united states, courtesy of the united states justice department. i testified against the man who kidnapped me last january, which was a little bit terrible, but thanks to the excellent support of my family, phil, quile, and friends, the guy was convicted on all counts and will more than likely spend the rest of his life in federal prison. you can read the federal press release here. once again, the local news got the story completely wrong. everyone wants me to write a book about it, which i am considering. i think i should start by writing about the whole thing and sort of seeing where that goes. i'll keep everyone posted.

anyway, we flew in to raleigh, went right to charlotte to do pretrial things (reviewing & practicing my testimony, basically) and spent a few days there in between mostly sitting and waiting on court things in charlotte. we got to come back to raleigh on the weekends, which was nice. while we were in raleigh, we got to see allie & joe and stephanie (who came over to my parents' house, made gingerbread fema trailers and ate cookies with me in the middle of the night). in charlotte, we mostly hung out at my aunt & uncle's house, in the courthouse, or with kyle s. cameron.

it would have been so bien to see more people but it was wholly chaotic and stressful and so i am completely sorry for not seeing all the people!


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

polar bear!

ahoy, friends and family!
news #1: i finally (after much waiting and some panicking) have a job!
i went to an interview about two weeks ago for a job in a bilingual kindergarten (which translates to something more like a preschool/kindergarten- german public schools start at 1st grade). i was invited to be a hospitant (trial teacher) for three days at the kindergarten (this is what they do here to see if you are good). this particular kindergarten is actually divided into two groups in two different buildings in the same neighborhood. the first group is small kids (aged 1-3) and the other group is the 3-6 year olds. the group i visited first was the younger group. all of the kids were so cute! they are all very good and everyone that works there is very nice. i did two days in the younger group, and on friday i went to the older kindergarten. however, after about thirty minutes, the younger kindergarten called and asked if i could come back (they had a few teachers out sick). this was buena-buena for me, because i liked the smaller kids, and the older group was a little more disorganized (the group i was with there is missing their lead teacher (she is really sick and has been for quite some time) so they are sort of mixed up a little at the moment. i went back to the small kids and at the end of the day, i spoke to the lady who owns the kindergarten, and she offered me a job!

the group i am with has a really wonderful lead teacher (who is german), a very good second teacher (also german), and two pratikants, which are sort of like interns- people who are studying to be kindergarten teachers have to do three or four internships before they can recieve their certification. there are fifteen kids in the group, although a lot of them are out sick this week (it is cold and rainy again, which is perfect sick weather). they are all between one and a half and not-quite-three. i will be working as a paid intern until the first of march, and then i will be paid normally. it isn't a lot of money (well, in dollars it is about as much as i made when i first started teaching in charlotte) but it is nice to know that i have a job!

other news: we have internet at home!!! eventually we'll also get a telephone, although i am sort of sad that we still won't be able to talk to people with cell phones in the states (ridiculously expensive). we actually have the service, but we have to find a telephone. we might go to a flea market this weekend and see what we can find. i should be back in the states next week (mondaeish?) for the Trial, which is part awesome and part not really that neat, but we will see. we still haven't received any flight info yet, so i am not sure exactly what is going to happen.

well, that is all for now!!! pictures soon!!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy New Year!

happy new year, everyone!

news: 1. our apartment got much warmer after the first few days. it was just a matter of heating up the high celings, i think. we went out and got some awesome blankets, and were given some kitchen stuff by some friends, which definitely made the place more homelike until we left for xmas.
2. the holiday season was more or less fantastic.
on xmas eve, we got on the train and went to Solingen. sarah and anna and fred and regine were there, and we had a really lovely ‘traditional german christmas’. Julie and Johannes also arrived on xmas eve with their huge dog Os. at exactly 6:30pm (anna is punctual) we met in the living room, and we sang songs- anna made us all songbooks- and lit the christmas tree (real candles!!!) and had presents. phil and i got really small things for everyone: mostly chocolate, which is more or less good for people, i think. we tried to get everyone their favorite. we received some really wonderful objects, like glasses and silverware (the silverware pieces are all different colors, which is le bien le bien le bien) for our new house and books and tea! next: we all progressed to the dining room, where we ate lots of food- we had a delicious targine? (maybe i have spelled this wrong) which is a very tasty vegetable dish, while everyone else ate some kind of meat with gravy. the whole house smelled good, although i missed our traditional xmas dinner: pierogies, pierogies. (i tried to convince nick via telephone to freeze some for me, but he just laughed.)
after the First day of christmas (because there is more than one day in germany), we didn’t do much- we went on a really long walk, and rene arrived after dinner (from his family’s house). the walk was beautiful: everything is all wintery and crisp, and the sun finally came out, which means the skies are blue, blue, blue.
the following day, we all went to peter’s house (sarah’s uncle) to have a very big dinner. they had three huge geese and lots of rotkohl (cooked red cabbage) and potato dumplings and homemade applesauce. we got special vegetarian-friendly food- which was super nice. we definitely didn’t expect our own food! they even made this really great vegetarian sauce: and i got to eat broccoli, which is buena-buena. i love broccoli. all of sarah’s dad’s family was there- sarah’s aunt (fred’s sister) hannah gave us tea for xmas! now i have all kinds of tea. this tea even came with rock candy (here, rock candy is for tea-sweetening, not for eating, which i find slightly boring, although fun. it makes a great crackling noise when you drop it in the tea, and sometimes you have rock candy sticks to stir your tea with. very classy. unless you are like me, and you eat them. which everyone else seems to find super strange. alas, alas.)
and so: we ate and ate and ate for a few days! which made me feel very much at home, because that is an essential part of xmas in the states for my family. we didn’t do very much more. sarah and i had coffee (tea, actually) with a friend of hers who lives in berlin, which was buena. it is always good to meet more people who live in berlin. and then it was new year’s eve: we had a really good dinner, mostly of appetizer-type things, and then we all (sarah, rene, anna, fred, and regina) sat around and played yahtzee in the living room. everyone but me had drinks, which was ok. and finally it was midnight: first we had a champagne toast, and then we all went out into the Scary War Zone. apparently, everyone in germany likes fireworks. practically the entire neighborhood was shooting off fireworks everywhere. it was marginally horrifying and also very cool. the sky was pink and green and smoky. there were hundreds of explosions. the whole thing lasted for about 10 minutes. we set off a few fireworks and lit lots of sparklers. zzzzszzzzszzzszz! i kept thinking that someone was going to be in flames, or set a house-roof on fire. apparently new years is one of the only times that you can set off fireworks without getting a permit. after the firework experience, i definitely feel like it is officially a new year.
while we were staying in solingen, regine was going through the house looking for stuff that she no longer needed, which she then gave to us- we had a huge pile in the cellar, where we were sleeping (in a wonderful sauna apartment!). one of sarah’s friends had some additional house stuff and gave us a few small cabinets and about a million glasses and plates! lovely. while we were in solingen, phil took some german driving lessons from fred- we wanted to rent a car to drive the stuff back to berlin. however, in the end, fred decided that we would be safer if he drove the car to berlin with phil as a passenger. i took the train (i didn’t fit in the car with all the stuff). the whole experience ended up being a little more expensive than we had hoped, but it was definitely wonderful to have a professional driver: the weather was all icy, snow was falling, there was a lot of traffic, and german autobahns are fast. anyway, we are still SO appreciative and thankful to have had so much assistance: our apartment is now much more homelike! we have lamps and a cute sort of wicker couch thing and a table and area rugs and a little cabinet (which i have painted) and two mattresses!!!!!! and all kinds of kitchen things! we will work on getting more things over the next few weeks, but it is finally more than just some very big empty rooms.
it is very cold in berlin. it snowed quite a lot and it hasn’t melted- most of the sidewalks are completely iced over, and the street slush keeps freezing and refreezing at night. phil’s teacher said this is not typical: that it is cold here in the winter, but usually not this cold.
job search: i have an interview tomorrow and another one on mondae. we shall see what happens. i really hope to start working soon. i went to hang up fliers all around the city saying that i would teach private English lessons. however, it’s too cold to hang up fliers. my hands kept freezing freezing freezing. it was unpleasant.
otherwise, everything else is buena-buena. this weekend we are going to the zoo! (thanks to my young and beautiful cousin and my young and beautiful mother) and i think we might try to see some of the city on sunday, if it is not prohibitively cold outside. at some point we will need to find a waschsalon, which is what they call laundromats, which will be nice.
well, that is all for the moment: photos of xmas and apartment to come as soon as i can manage to put them on the internet- we still don’t have internet at home, so it might take a while.
adios, xoxoxo!