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Christkindlesmarkt: An expat pilgrimage

It was inevitable that eventually, like a moth to the Feuerzangenbowle flame,  this expat would be unable to resist the temptations of the Nuremberg Christkindlesmarkt. And why would I? As one of the biggest and most tradition-steeped Christmas markets in Germany, if not the world, the Christkindlesmarkt is the epitome of everything us summer-Christmas southerners yearn for in the festive season. Glühwein to ward off the cold nights, warmly-lit wooden stalls filled with Lebkuchen (next-level Gingerbread), Bratwurst, artisan-crafted wooden gifts and the excuse...

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Mauerfall
16 Nov 2014

Mauerfall

If there was any place I expected to experience an emotional connection to the long-distant confusion and euphoria of the fall of the Berlin Wall, it  was definitely not Checkpoint Charlie. Yet, last weekend I stood at the intersection of Friedrichstrasse and Zimmerstrasse, wiping away an unexpected tear of awe and thankfulness at being part of the celebration of such a monumental event… and dumbfoundedness at the human cruelty of building a wall between friends and family in the first...

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Weekend escape artists
30 Oct 2014

Weekend escape artists

2014 shall be known as the year (to few but myself) when I became an escape artist. I was always a connessieur and ardent admirer of the weekend, in all its forms, and with all of my holiday time this year being saved up for New Zealand in December, by necessity I had to adapt to weekend travels. This is not something to be taken lightly; one does not simply become a weekend escape artist overnight (nor over two adjadent...

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Something like summer
14 Sep 2014

Something like summer

Summer comes and summer goes in the blink of an eye. Below’s a little photographic evidence that it did, in fact, happen (this photopost comes at least partly to confirm this to myself). Having left with a neat little parting wave of its sombrero, its afterglow still lingers with me in the fog descending on Berlin,  largely thanks to the shiny freelance working visa now at home in my passport. Bis nächste mal. Hallo Herbst.    

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Jahrestag
25 Jul 2014

Jahrestag

Jahrestag. Year day. Or, as we might say in English, anniversary. One year to the day another expat fell into the arms and irresistible charms of this ‘poor, but sexy’ bohemian capital. To say that today was one year ago to the date, to the  day a kindly, middle-aged banker dropped her hitch-hiking charge in the scruffy Berlin suburb of Wedding, would be too neat. In fact, my Berlin Jahrestag was a week or two earlier. Little did I expect,...

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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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