New Exposure
30 Jun 2014

New Exposure

Wake up, it’s summer. The ability of life to rush by with alarming acceleration is hard to ignore. Turn the calendar page again. The dates on the pages remain empty, who actually has time to write on a calendar these days? Actually, I’ll add a date now. Mid-December 2014. Return to New Zealand for the first time, by then, for close to three years.  Can’t wait to meet… Oh yeah. *Flips back to June* My new nephew. Funny, I never...

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Tag der Arbeit
5 May 2014

Tag der Arbeit

Last week I ‘experienced’ my first Berlin Tag der Arbeit, or in English, Labour Day. Back in New Zealand we also have Labour Day – a public holiday now noted primarily for the three-day weekend it allows, rather than the struggle that led NZ workers to be among the first in the world to claim the right to an eight-hour working day. Assuming the same here, I was busy booking May 1 flights to Oslo when my flatmate exclaimed, “Digga,...

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German: The relatively beautiful language

Of late I’ve been rather remiss in publishing for one main reason: I’ve been tangling with that most formidable of foes — the German language. German cops a fair lot of flak from non-Deutsch-speakers of all denominations. Jokes about its guttural harshness abound, notably surfacing in that video everyone’s seen and riffed on in heavy metal band Tool’s German lyric song “Die Eier von Satan”, which, despite its menacing tone, is actually a recipe for cookies. Confusion reigns when the German word for girl (Mädchen)...

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Meet Heinrich
20 Feb 2014

Meet Heinrich

Meet Heinrich. Heinrich is dead. Paradoxically, Heinrich is also rather alive, especially in rush hours and in the early hours of Sunday morning. He was a writer of poetry and controversial texts, yet also boasts one LIDL, a Kaisers and a bunch of Spätis. I met him a few months ago when I moved to my current Kiez (a delightful local word describing one’s immediate neighbourhood) in Berlin Mitte and we’ve been crossing paths regularly ever since. Heinrich (technically, Christian Johann...

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Kohlfahrt in seven easy steps
5 Feb 2014

Kohlfahrt in seven easy steps

What is a Kohlfahrt? That, my friend, is a good question. Unless you are from north-west Germany, chances are you will never have heard of this flatulently-suggestive German word. It was the same question I had several weeks prior, when some friends invited me “to go on” one. This further deepened the intrigue… What does one do on a Kohlfahrt? We can try to break it down. Kohl = Cabbage. Fahrt = Trip. Cabbage trip. Great. Let’s have a quick...

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Arrival of Arschkalt
26 Jan 2014

Arrival of Arschkalt

The until-recently benevolent weather gods have relented in their delay of winter and have over the last week well and truly opened the fridge door. Herren and Frauen, I give you the arrival of Arschkalt. For those of you pondering the meaning of this lovely German phrase, I would invite you to divide it into its constituent parts – ‘Arsch’ and ‘Kalt’ . Proclaim them loudly  in your best German accent and you should grasp it, or at least startle...

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Switzerland: Scenes from a dream
13 Jan 2014

Switzerland: Scenes from a dream

I’d always dreamed of going to Switzerland. Growing up I’d spent a lot of time with some dear childhood friends/family who are half Swiss and this year I was ecstatic after being invited to spend a white Christmas with them in Switzerland. As with many dreams, they are so vivid and yet… Try to describe one to someone and you just can’t do it justice. In this case I think I could do a better job with  photos.  

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An open Christmas card
24 Dec 2013

An open Christmas card

Writing Christmas cards is a personal tradition I’m attempting to forge. It started off with such promise at primary school where, covered in green and red glitter, clothing blotched with PVA glue, we would proudly take self-made cards home to our parents. It died off somewhere between then and the point where we began to SMS our buddies “Merry Xmas!” on our indestructable Nokia 2280s. It took the Dutch December of my first Christmas outside of NZ for me to...

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Travel Guide: A Swedish Affair
14 Nov 2013

Travel Guide: A Swedish Affair

My latest travels have taken me to a destination some talk about in the whispered, reverent tones normally reserved for tales of El Dorado or the worship of ‘Cronuts’. It’s currently  in vogue and certain people back in New Zealand will no doubt be rather jealous. Others will probably ask if I tried the meatballs. As I left german soil and arrived in the grandoise atrium of my Scandinavian destination, I couldn’t help but be impressed. IKEA takes itself very seriously....

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Green to Gold
29 Oct 2013

Green to Gold

Outside, the wind is whipping leaves past the window in damp and frenzied flight as I write. Or so I imagine; I can’t see so much on account of the clocks being turned back for winter. But I really don’t mind the nights closing in. The summer had its fun, no matter how soon we may lament its passing and in its place lies space to breathe, cosy evenings and the not-so-far-away aroma of glühwein. That and there has been far...

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