Sunday, August 28, 2011

Adopting a Pet in Berlin

We recently got our first pet in Berlin. I've never been one for pet shops or breeders so the first step was finding the animal shelter. Actually- the step before that was finding the word for animal shelter. Ah, "Tierheim". We're off.

The place is out there. Berlin is a large sprawling city that people complain if they have to come from 2 neighborhoods away. This place would take an hour to get to. Shit.

Berlin Ian and ebe in German countryside

Monday, August 22, 2011

Observations from the Kita

Ian recently returned to school...not for himself, but to teach (lord help those kids). Everyday, he comes home with hilarious stories from the Kita.

The class has started visiting each of the kid's houses. I don't know why you would want 18 2-3 year olds and their teachers in your house, but apparently it has been nice. On the latest visit, they visited a regenbogenfamilie (I can't get enough of that term- "rainbow family"). An unusual feature of the house is that they had a small pond within their deck, just begging for a kid to fall in. One of Ian's favorites, a somewhat tubby boy named Toby, obliged.

Ian has started napping with the children. They strip down to their undies and lay down for a nap several times a day, and Ian is able to catch some Zzzzs with them. However, they aren't always such good little sleepers. Ian's size & hairiness has proved alarming for children unfamiliar with him and he has startled a few kids trying to sleep. There is also the inevitable acrobatics instead of sleep, and already one who peed her pants... and then reached for Ian to pick her up. Ewww.

It's not just the kids who give Ian great stories. The head teacher of his class has really been a great supporter of Ian in the school, but her antics can make for ridiculous stories. She's a fan of the adult romper (for men- see picture), which is a tough look to pull off, especially for a plump middle-aged women crawling around on the floor with the kids. This week, she's been sick, which has made lunch a little less appetizing. Not exactly fussy themselves, the kids don't mind when she serves fish by picking it up with her hands before tearing it apart and throwing it in a bowl. Ian does. Ian's hungry.

Some stories, however, are heart-warming. Darius came over to Ian today and told him
"I love you so much Ian!"

Cue ovaries.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Good of the Germans

I just did one of the stupidest things I have ever done. The cost was low, but the stupidity was high.

I was rushing down the stairs to the U-Bahn as I saw the dreaded wave coming up to me- my train was here! Struggling through the crowd with my bags I pushed through and got one bag half in the compartment as the doors slid solidly closed. I had the straps, but the goods were firmly trapped inside. Two guys tried to force it open from the inside as I frantically hit pulled the lever. But with a huff, the U-Bahn started to pull away and I threw up my hands & watched helplessly as half my groceries glided away.

As I waited for the next train, I felt enormously stupid. The next train was coming in 4 minutes- what was my rush? Pacing, I tried to remember what was in the bag. Ground beef, chocolate ice cream, and cherry tomatoes. At least it wasn't the beer.....

I jumped on the next train and sweated it out the wait to the next stop. As we rolled through the station, I saw the two guys who had tried to help with my Kaiser bag, holding it up to the passing train. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

I thanked them ineptly in German, and received a short lecture about not doing it again. "Never!" I promised.

Soaking in sweat and laughing like a madwoman, I made it home with all the groceries. As I re-counted the story to Ian, I couldn't believe that I could believe my luck. As much shit as we talk about the Germans, and the one extremely notable instance of us getting scammed, Germans are decent, honest, straight-forward people. While this may result in the blunt assertion, that "Yes, that dress does make you look fat", it also means there isn't as much worrying about hidden fees or getting ripped off. Most of the time- you can trust that things are as they seem. In a city as big and cosmopolitan and turbulent as Berlin, I have never felt ill-at-ease or in danger.

A Prost to the guys that stopped to help, and to all you other wonderful Germans.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Video Trip: Copenhagen

Along with the missing photos, we have just recently discovered some missing videos! (More like Ian take the video & promptly forgets about it.) Nevertheless, here are a few videos of our travels.


Tivoli Gardens
Lovely, small, and expensive

(Post where we Rate the Danes & describe our adventures)



Best pics & ratings of Venice


Ratings for Bologna

Cinque Terre

More pics of Cinque Terre

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Summer in the City

Between our bouts of travelitis we have managed to eek out a little bit of fun in Berlin. It's not  a bad life

Pics of "Sommer in der Stadt"

Our U-Bahn stop for our place in Wedding

Enjoyed a wet but wonderful 4th of July with Greg, Americans, and an Irishman. We even got Greg to drink a beer!
I'm apparently working on perfecting the "Boo the night is over" Look

One of my favorite things on earth - marking with a red star where we've been on our Europe map.
Thomas visited with his friends from Brazil
We took them to Kunsthaus Tacheles. Built as a department store in the Jewish quarter, served as a Nazi prison, was partially demolished, and is now occupied by an artists collective. Continually threatened with eviction, you can now just wander in on a week night to live music, independent shops, and wild art. .​ms/

They liked it.
Also showed them around the lovely city...well they were good enough to do some self-touring too
Making an effort to take as good of photos of the city we live in as the cities we tour
Living in Wedding, we've been spending a lot more time in the more touristed downtown. It's actually kinda badass...for the West
Love the U-Bahn windows
I've taken pics of the Memorial for Murdered Jews so many times and finally have one I really like.
The Fernsehturm, Brandenburgor Tor, & Caller.
After all that Berlining, Tiergarten Quelle was in order. Visit us & we will do our best to take you here.
Dave's first going away night we ended up in the basement of a gallery where we sweatily danced as the ceiling dripped. Sounds gross, but it wasn't.
I've been bugging Ian about this for a while. I simply cannot live without an animal- and even though Bellatrix the skank cat is on her way with my parents in October, we were off to the Tierheim. Way off- this place is on the outskirts of outskirts for Berlin.
But so worth it! We got a bun. He was kind enough to carry some bottle home for us as we ran out of hands.
Prost to the new addition - Herr Schmidt
Sadly, one of the latest changes is that our Irish friends have now officially left the mainland and are back in Ireland. At least they are just a RyanAir flight away. And why is he wearing that Holocaust victim/prisoner outfit? Nice enough to give us a few of their things before leaving. I'm afraid we did not take the costume.
Bye to the Irish...until next time
As always, there are more pictures of debauchery here.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Airport Goodbyes

Oh man I love the airport. Always a bit of tension, but you know you are on your way to somewhere new. I guess that's easy for me to say as I am usually the one leaving.

My mum & dad are visiting my Aunt & Uncle in Northern California and it was so good to see them all. Video chat can often seem so intimate, regular voice chat is the route we usually take. Kinda makes days like today when I do try to look more presentable for our chat more special.

Plus- my mum reminded me to look at some shots she had posted from my nephew's visit.

Look at that handsome family! My dad, Gavin, & Kyle

Becoming One with the Tourist Hordes in Cinque Terre

We knew it was going to be bad. Italy in June-July. But Greg is a schoolteacher & Italy was his #1 destination. So we took a deep breath, loads of planning, and became one with the mass of tourists.

And it wasn't as bad as we feared. Lots of it was unbelievably awesome. And Cinque Terre, where we've been a few times before, wasn't the mass of old people and blank eyed tourists we thought it would be...ok it actually kinda was. But it is STILL so awesome we loved it. And got burnt to a crisp. A good time was had by all.

Cinque Terre
Corniglia - the unpopular village on the hill that treated us very well

harbor Vernazza Italy
Vernazza - site of our first swim

Dinner in Cinque Terre
Dinner of muscles, clams, squid, and fish

sea Manarola
Manarola - 2nd swim

Cinque Terre cat
Lazy cat!

Vernazza tourist
Vernazza night

Manarola Italy

Cinque Terre Italy
Love Lock

Cinque Terre 5 fishing villages
Rio Maggiore


sea Rio Maggiore
Rio Maggiore boats
Italy coast
Ferry ride through Cinque Terre
Feeling happy, but burnt. Weak English skin

Porter power!

Yes. Very burned

tortellini Italy
Meal with tortellini from Bologna, pesto from Cinque Terre

In-n-out shirt out of our window

Corniglia vista


Corniglia Italy
Beautiful wine bar Greg found in Corniglia

Cinque Terre
Sweet hound sends us off

Friday, August 5, 2011

Ferries, Trams, but mostly an Automobile

We're back! I don't know about a triumphant return, but an epic trip was had. And (so far) no issues with the car rental! That is true success (a little skittish after car rental in Iceland).

Truly- this no-planning vacation exceeded our expectations and proved that throwing a little money at travel really does make things easier. Who knew!? Oh...everyone? Ok, well we didn't.

We will post in-depth soon with plenty of pics & video, but as for now we have had several stressful days of driving (actually only Ian, I was a happy  passenger), lots of drinking (don't worry mum- not at the same time), and we have a Wii and bunny to attend to.

BUT if you are really curious, here are ten pics at random of our (tiny) European roadtrip.

ok- not really from the trip. But Herr Schmidt is one cute bun amiright?
No sooner had we got in the car then we took a wrong turn. Luckily, we got a unique view of the Siegessaule
Golden Stag at Schloss Drachenberg in Germany

Dinant, Belgium
Literally 5 min too late to make this brewery tour. Gr#$^^%&^! Luckily, we were able to drink some of their beer a stone's throw away and bought some beer & a glass in the shop after the tour
After finding out that Belgium's southern "cities" are literally little more than villages, we finally settled on a very pleasant hotel just outside of Chimay and drank some of it's beer to celebrate.

Colmar, France. Just south of Strousberg, this city has shared French & Germany history and is phenominal

Bamburg, Germany. More like "Damn city! You're beautiful"
Bamburg's old square hosted a beautiful cathedral
Back in Berlin! Enjoying some pils, doener, and salad with scharf sauce. Du bist so wunderbar Berlin....

We're Back in Berlin Ja!

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