Lange nicht gesehen (Long time no see)

It’s been a while since I last posted, best laid plans and all. Where’d we leave off….so we’ve been here over 3 1/2 years and are still quite happy. My German is still rather terrible although I can understand more and more. I have every intention of practicing daily but again best laid plans. We are taking private lessons and every time I think, “ok I got this” some rudimentary grammar rule just laughs in my face. My advice to you if you have kids, begin introducing a 2nd and 3rd language at like birth. It is rather humbling being in Europe where people routinely speak several languages ostensibly fluently. It has been a blessing and a curse that Berlin is so multi-culti as I think if we had landed pretty much anywhere else in Germany we would have been pushed and stretched to learn more. There are so many people that speak English here it’s starting to be surprising to hear German. Australia seems to be moving in, so many Aussies, not many Americans by comparison.

There are so many stories to tell and share and chronicle I don’t know where to begin. Here is the list of countries we’ve been to since we arrived in no particular order: Poland, Ireland, England, France, Switzerland, Italy, Finland, Latvia, Denmark, Czech Republic, Belgium, and The Netherlands. Hoping to go to Spain and Portugal this summer but nothing has been definitively planned. Really want to go the Croatia and Greece, oh and Turkey. Really there aren’t many places we don’t want to go to. We need to branch out to Asia at some point but that will come eventually. We now people that are from or live in every continent (save Antarctica) so that makes travel a bit more interesting.

Several posts ago I did a like/dislike list so after all this time let’s see where this lands.
Likes:
– Spring, prettiest place in the world right now, so green and lush. The city just comes alive during spring and summer.
– Cafes, amazing coffee, international cuisine
– Super chill pace, people know how to relax and do so regularly
– Eis (ice cream) everywhere, and cheap!
– Bike paths and forests and lakes
– Strawberry stands with these amazingly tasty tiny berries
– Culturally diverse friends, seeing the world from such unique perspective
– General easy of travel both within the city and beyond – so many options
– Most things are rather inexpensive: food (but not drinks) and phone plans (~10 bucks a month)
– Not having to have a car – love our bikes, most of the time
– Art and music are everywhere
– Mineralwasser mit Kohlensäure (fizzy water) which I hated when I 1st arrived but have grown to love it
– Flea markets – so good!

Dislikes
– Being so far from my mom, friends, family especially our nieces and nephews
– Drinks are expensive and there are still few places that have free water
– Language barriers, not being able to contribute meaningfully to a conversation or offer help when I see a need (learning more German would help, of course)
– Graffiti is prolific, I don’t mind that which is attempting to be artistic but HATE the tagging/ random nothingness that is the vast majority of what is out there.
– Decent donuts – just not happening
– Easy access to some basic cooking things like brown sugar and baking soda. You can find them, sort of, but they aren’t readily available at grocery stores.
– Clothes are expensive in general but flea markets make up for it.
– Pain killers are stupid expensive and can only be bought from a pharmacy but no prescription is needed. Comparatively in the states you can buy generic Advil for about $3 for 200 tablets, whereas here 20 tablets is about $5!! Needless to say we stock up when back in the States
– They don’t know about antacids, they have sodium-bicarbonate but it just tastes like salty chalk – yuck!

All in all still very happy :)