Saturday, May 30, 2009

Berlin Diary Number Seven: Tasty Cake for Shruggers

When I first moved to Slovenia, I was determined for the country to get "on the map". Almost every person I spoke to was completely baffled about Slovenia, they had no idea where it was, what language was spoken, or why I would want to live there.  I was frustrated and angry, but when I shared this with Slovenian people they just shrugged. I couldn't get it....until now. 

Being here in Berlin has made me realize what a burden it can be when people know about you. I walk down streets and sometimes hear more American accents than German ones, and frankly the quality of people that gravitate here to live runs the gamut from genius to the other dredges. I adore Berlin, but I feel like a person could live here for a long time and barely get any sense that they were in Germany. I also am getting rather agitated by the lack of actual WORK (i've scarcely met anyone with an actual job) that seems to be getting done here...Oh and the congestion and the pretenstion and I don't even wanna mention what a bother the tourists can be....

So, the other day it just clicked for me. 

Who cares if no one knows where Slovenia is? Not I! There is so much just purely special about the country that anyone who dared to care would and could know about it.  I am happy to live in a mysterious land that only more discerning people can find on a map.  

Slovenia is like a wildly tasty cake; while we who live there are willing to share, if you don't know about it or do know and don't want a slice, then it just leaves more for those of us with good taste!

Dober tek!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Berlin Diary Number Six: It's Some Pics!

Here are some newer images from here.

he insisted on this photo

Monday, May 25, 2009

Berlin Diary Entry Number Five: An Apology

I woke up about an hour ago because I heard some commotion outside the window. Emerging from my lair, I began to to see emergency lights and smell burning rubber. The dog and I drifted outside where we saw firemen hosing off the last bit of a car on the sidewalk in front of the building two doors down. Needless to say, the car was burnt to a crisp. Berlin is crazy.

Anyway, sorry I haven't posted. I haven't been neglecting the blog. I've been collecting material.

Last night on the way back home from a punk concert, I saw a group of young men walking a baby lamb down the street and laughing their heads off. I wondered where they could get a live lamb. In the city. At such an hour. Then I went home and drifted to bed. I think this place is kinda crazier than New York.

OK, well I have more to report....but not right now.
But soon.
I promise.

If you need more to read, here is a NY Times blog post about how "Slovenians like to party".
The post doesn't even have the dignity to be in the fiction section*.

*Please note: if you are a Ljubljanacan/ka, who wants to write in and argue with me that Ljubljana is indeed a legitimate party town, please ensure that you have been and partied in three or more of the following cities first, then we can talk:

New York
Los Angeles

I'll even accept Belgrade since I've heard (and believe) that they truly know how to party there.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Berlin Diary Entry Number Four: An American Hairwolf in Berlin

The other day as I was noodling around a memorial at Potsdamer Platz set up with a few old slabs from the Berlin Wall, I ran into a group of Polish tourists (cue Polish jokes here). One of the women gestured at me with her camera and I went to grab it thinking she wanted me to take a picture of she and her friend, but noooo. She wanted me to take a picture where I was standing with her and a friend. Apparently despite standing there in Berlin with an authentic piece of Berlin history, taking a picture with me would be a greater reflection to everyone back home that they'd actually been somewheres. I explained to them in the "Pan Slavic dialect" of just yelling out simple words in Slovenian til I saw some recognition in their eyes and explained that I didn't live in Berlin, but it didn't matter to them. Another one went in and grabbed a handful of my hair and her friend leaned in to snap one more photo for the road.

They were right on the money by picking me. I am impervious to stupidity. I just use it for blog fodder.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Berlin Diary Entry 3: Coming Through

Another reason why Berlin is great is because people pass through here. I have overlapped with so many people coming from Western Europe, leaving back to the states, here and there. They fly into my life and then back out, but I am the better for all those long or short encounters. Sadly the trade winds almost never blow through Slovenia. I am hoping my being in Slovenia will produce an adequate magnetic force to pull more interesting and fun people from around the world in and around...I need them, Slovenia needs them.

Here are some of my latest photos.

Hackescher Markt

Weinmeister Strasse

beautiful food at the Brazilian restaurant

the place to go for the best of the wurst (curry wurst is wretched, one of the worst things to ever cross my lips)

Charlottenburg is garden-y and bourgeois. Like the Park Slope of Berlin

a mysterious installation at rosa luxembourg platz

international vat of mystery at the Kreukolln Turkish market

it's been coming up fluffy Simpsons clouds like every day

quite possibly the best doner in town. yum!

this is criminal

Potsdamer Platz

P.S. In an effort to minimize my tinges of homesickness, I've been listening to Radio Student all morning. Thank God for internet radio!

P.P.S. This place is incredible but I kinda feel like my eyes and brain need a break. Trying to cultivate a napping habit.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Berlin Diary Entry Number Two: Karma Chameleon

Of all the nicknames I had as a child, Berlin is really bringing one to mind: chameleon.

The other day a friend was in town and I met up with him and gave him a tour of a few neighborhoods I'd visited. We also went to lunch where -- despite any formal German training -- I was able to order my meal in German. As we were padding through Kreuzberg, my friend exclaimed, "It's like you live here!" and in fact he couldn't believe this was my first visit and that I'd only been here about a week. I don't know what it is when words, languages, directions, geographies come to you fast and easy. Is it absorption? Adaptability? Confidence? I'm not certain. What I do know is that I am done being modest about this talent.

While I may not speak Slovenian perfectly (and honestly, who does?), I think I can confidently navigate through situations I find myself in in Slovenian (and Slovenia), and this is only after about a year and a half and only one week of formal education in the (very difficult) language. So, yes, I admit I have a knack for these things. That said, today, I start my first day of German language instruction. It will be a month-long course and I am setting my sights high. I have a strength and a willingness, and there is no reason why I can't be an ace number-one casual German conversationalist by the end of this month. No more denials of what I'm good at, now I'm shooting for the stars*!

*Sidenote: Star Trek movie was AWESOME. A+++

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Berlin Diary #1: Berlin So Far

So, as previously mentioned, The Captain drove me up here and we got to hang out for a few days before the fleet called him back. We first went to the zoo, and then we wandered. The zoo was a mix of joy and sadness. I hadn't been to the zoo in probably 20 years, and while it was great to be so near to these animals it was also saddening to see their prison conditions. Maybe I'll just stick to seeing animals on safaris and stuff....

Anyway, here are some images from our trek through the wilds of Berlin.

I got to go on a tour of a massive, state-supported artist workshop. Berlin loves the arts!

then i got to eat lovely food that i'd helped cook

little me, big tv tower

museum island

lots of great street markets here!

Brandenburg Gate

May Day rally

Potsdamer Platz

as you can tell, the Captain likes these low angle shots

Lego World!


selecting a tasty thai dish at Pagode in Kreuzberg

Obama and German Spiderman in Kreuzberg (Spidey is asking if can get his face on a US banknote since he put Obama's face on the comic book cover)

this was organized by one of my new friends

i went to one of the last days of the exhibition

and to the reading of conceptual writers. this guy Robert Fitterman was great, you can read part of one of his pieces here. very good!

The Captain and I having the worst burgers ever

So far, Berlin gets two exuberant thumbs up from me, and I wish the people who ran Slovenia would come here and take detailed notes.