Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Steering My Life

Since coming back from Berlin, I've been very frustrated with Slovenia and Slovenian people for all myriad of valid and invalid reasons.

I am having a breakthrough here now. A breakthrough that I've had many times before in other situations, but always forget to re-apply:

You get out what you put in.

I need to open myself up to this place more. I am not sure what that is going to mean, but I hope that putting that intention out there will make it more clear.

What you plug into your inner GPS is where you will arrive in your life.
- Ian Lawton

I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Andrea Lee: Today's Summer Reading, Tomorrow's Lifestyle?

Andrea looking gorgeous, probably in some fabulous villa

A friend recently told me about the Black American expat writer, Andrea Lee, who moved first to Moscow many years ago and now lives in Torino, Italy where she is married to an Italian count(!). She has written a number of books (both fiction and non-fiction, which seem to range from classy to trashy) about expat women, and she has also been a contributing writer at places such as New York Times and Vogue. My friend told me that this might be something for me to aspire to and it all sounds good to me!

Check out this interview with her here on NPR, while I hunt down her books for some good summer reading and a little inspiration.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Happy Indendence Slovak --erm, I mean Slovenia

Happy Dan Državnosti (I'm sure Pengovsky has a suitable explanation over here).

But, Slovenia, now is the time for the real hard work!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

This Way In

"Top ten emerging markets - A.T. Kearney

According to the latest Global Retail Development Index from management consultants A.T. Kearney, the economic downturn has made emerging markets increasingly relevant to global retailers."

I read this on the Just-Food Daily Food News feed yesterday and thought to myself "Wouldn't it be great if Slovenia was in that top 10?" Then I shrugged it off, thinking there was just no way.

But today, something dragged me over to have a glance at the report and LO and BEHOLD, there is Slovenia at number 9. While I don't want the country to turn into an awful free-for-all, I can only hope that this means that Ben & Jerry's pints, foreign language bookstores, reasonably priced eyeglass retailers, better stocked grocery stores, and more cheap (but good) clothing outlets are on their way.

I am happy to oversee any Gorenjska branches.

P.S. I am no snobby expat. I am American, see me shop!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Being Back

I'm slowly getting used to being back in the wilderness.
We had some friends visit this weekend. It made me re-appreciate the place.

wild strawberry picking at draga

at Peričnik Waterfall

don't i look super fit here? he he

at Vrata

at Mostnice

at Vrata


at Bohinj

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Berlin Diary #Final (for now): Wheelville Guide to Berlin

For your travelling pleasure (and so I don't forget), I'm posting a guide to my absolute favorite places in Berlin. I will keep updating as I remember stuff.


Another Country - Riemanstr. 7 (Kreuzberg -U7 to Gneisenaustr or U6-7 to Mehringdamm)
It's kinda the best place in the world ever. Do go there for Friday night dinner party, yum!
Motto - (Kreuzberg - U1 to Gorlitzer Banhof) actually more of a magazine shop. but full of interesting reads


Garage - clothes by the kilo, Ahornstr. 2 (U1-4 to Nollendorf)
Mauer Park Flohmarkt(Prenzlauerberg, U8 to Bernauer)
Razzo's Second Hand, Sybelstraße 25 (Charlottenburg, S to Charlottenburg, U7 to Adenauerplatz), also just wander around this hood it is FULL of second hand shops
Think Shoes, Kantstr. (Charlottenburg, U7 to Wilmersdorf or S to Charlottenburg)
Vamp Star - Schwedterstr. 22 ( -Prenzlauerberg) - run by real cool Japanese dudes with great designs for a good price. they also have a booth at Mauer Park every Sunday
Second Hemd, super cheap- Prinzenallee at Bellermanstr. (Wedding - U8 to Pankstr.)

Circle Culture gallery - Gipstr 11 (U8 to Weinmeister)
Festsaal Kreuzberg (Kreuzberg - U8 or U1 to Kottbusser Tor)
Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Mitte, S1,2,25 to Unter den Linden then M100 through Tiergarten)
Maxim Gorki Theater - Am Festungsgraben 2 (Mitte)

Food & Drink
Anchor, nice little bar on Kottbusser Damm (Kreuzberg - U1/U8 to Kottbusser Tor)
Cafe do Brasil, brasilian (Kreuzberg - U7 to Mehringdamm) super yummy buffet!
Ho Vang, fantastic vietnamese (Mitte - U2 to Rosa Luxembourg Platz)
Hotel, nice little bar - Marianenstrasse 26 (Kreuzberg - U1/U8 to Kottbusser Tor)
La Femme - multiple locations in Wedding and Kreuzberg, good brunch!
Mustafas Gemuse Kebab, killer chicken and veg doeners right outside the station (U7 to Mehringdamm)
Pagode, thai - Bergmanstr. (Kreuzberg -U1 to Gneisenaustr or U7 to Mehringdamm)
Pasternak, great Russian brunch buffet on Sundays, Knaackstrasse 22-24 (Prenzlauerberg - U2 to Senefelder)
Room 77, burgers and nachos - Griefstr. 77 (Kreuzberg -U8 to Schonleinstr.)
Vor Wien , nice bar/venue, Skalitzer 44 (Kreuzberg, U1, U8 to Kottbusser Tor)
White Trash Fast Food , good American food, Torstr. 201(Prenzlauerberg - U8 Rosenthaler Platz)

Alte Schoenhauser Allee - The whole street is worth a look, in fact roll down Neue Schoenhauser Alle when you're done (Mitte, U2 Rosa Luxembourg, U8 to Weinmeisterstr.)
Butlers - Hackescher Markt (S to Hackescher, U8 to Weinmeisterstr.)
Harry Lehmann perfume shop, Kantstr. 106 (Charlottenburg, U7 to Wilmersdorf or S to Charlottenburg)
KaDeWe (Kaufhaus des Westens), famous old department store, it's all about the upstairs food hall!, (U1-3 to Wittenbergplatz)
O.K. , cool kitschy tchotchkes from around the world- Alte Schonhauser Allee (Mitte, U2 Rosa Luxembourg, U8 to Weinmeisterstr.)
Rossman - various locations, they have great cosmetics and other little nice things to give as gifts

Berlin Zoo
Brandenburg Gate
Humboldthain Park
Hackeshcher Hohe/Markt
Mauer Park
Potsdamer Platz
Treptower Park

Things I Wanna Do/See Next Time
Berlin Unterwelten (Berlin Underworlds, tunnels under the city!) tour
Cocolo Ramen - Gipstrasse 3 (U8 to Weinmeister) - I passed by this place and even through the closed fence, I could smell them making the noodles from scratch!
Ha My restaurant
Helmut Newton Museum
La Scala
Panorama Bar
Rock Cafe Halford (U5 to Frankfurter Allee)
The Shy Chef
Soylent Bar - Friedrichshain (U1, S to Warschauer)
Stasi Museum
more galleries in general
more flea markets
more music, shows, dancing!

Useful Online Resources

Overrated Things
Curry 36 and currywurst in general (it's disgusting!)
Ku'Damm shopping area (they have the same shops all over town with less crowds)
Monsieur Vuong, vietnamese restaurant

Real Cool Slovenia





No sooner do I get home then I discover that not only is my favorite singer Jose James coming to Ljubljana but so are Sinead O'Connor and David frikkin Byrne!

My dear lord. What is going on? I am not sure, but you won't catch me complaining. Just off to queue up and spend all my money on tickets!

Update: I also see that CocoRosie, Royskopp, Morcheeba, and Medeski, Martin & Wood are on their way. Welcome, welcome all!

Berlin Diary Number 10: Berlin in My Bones

I think the thing about being anywhere for a month is that you have, at once, the feeling that it is gonna go on forever while at the same time the superego reminder that your time is running short and that you cannot plant roots. Favorite haunts are filed away as travel tips for others, the maps in your head, the ways you learned to burn your trail through the place will quite possibly have to be relearned when you return. Your last days become frantic dashes to reconnect for one last time with the people and places you liked the best, but you can never get to them all and you know it. And so I was in Ostbanhof station on Sunday morning, having parted ways with the last of my Berlin last-nighter all-nighter buddies (who were heading out to a disco at 6am), thinking about meeting up with one last friend at a bar a few stops away, when my body just said no, when I realized I had to let go, pack my bags, and catch my flight.

Sloshing through rainy Berlin streets to the shuttle to Schoenfeld unto checking in my overstuffed luggage. Catnapping in the terminal and then up, up, and away.

The Captain was at the airport to get me and drive me the rest of the way home. His face was like a dream. I couldn't remember all the contours, I just thought "WOW, who is this hot guy picking me up at the aiport? Lucky me." But then we talked and joked, and I remembered the tones and the Familiar and the sun was shining (ahh, sunshine) and we drove and drove and then I was HOME.

Upon arising from my first night back in my own bed (ahhh), my heart lept because I was right where I wanted to be. But as the morning turned into afternoon and I plowed through my luggage explosion, I couldn't help but sidle over to my computer and type in a quick cheeky search:

"cheap flights berlin"

Details filed away in my brain. I will undoubtedly be back, and back, but soon.

Here are some pics from my last few days in beautiful Berlin.

on Bergmanstrasse

my trip to KaDeWe

last day with friends from German class

at a dentist's office on Kottbusser Damm

at my local U-bahn station

last day with friends from German class, aw memories!

My super cool classmate (he's a brotha from Philly) made fried chicken for my last day. It was FANTASTIC!

last brunch - La Femme on Badstrasse

last dog walk

Humboldthain Park

Humboldthain Park - Rose garden

i dashed to Harry Lehmann perfumerie for last minute gifts

beautiful shop

at Ostbanhof - 5.30 am, full of party people

Friday, June 5, 2009

Berlin Diary Nummer Neun: Carneeeeval!

Some people are lucky enough to go one carnival in their lives. I've already been to two this year. The first was in Venice, and the second was last weekend here in Berlin.  Last weekend, I was fortunate enough  to attend the four-day dancing in the street debauchery of Karneval der Kulturens. It was parades and bands and music and of course tons of drinking and bootyshaking in the streets of Kreuzberg in the name of multi-cultism.

Here are some images and video!