31 January 2008


Today I made a run to a store after my German class. I have a very short period of time after class before I need to pick up Things 1 and 2 at their bus drop off, but on Thursday the time is a bit longer as our teacher ends class a bit early to get to another committment. I needed to buy a sport BH, because I really need to start using the gym membership we got for Silvester. After 20 months, it's about time to get back in shape.

Of course, measurements here are very different. So I asked the clerk if she had a tape and if she could help me. She said that a colleague would be right with me, then proceeded to ignore me until I left 15 minutes later. I'll go back tomorrow morning when the stores open (my class is only M-R) because I will have 90 minutes to spend (half day Friday for the children). This way, even if I get no help, I should be able to try them on until I find a size that is correct.

I am surprised because I have found that although sales help tends not to be proactive here, they have always been of assistance when asked. Perhaps it's just the store that I was in?

26 January 2008

22nd Long Night of Museums in Berlin

22nd Long Night of Museums in Berlin
On January 26, around 60 museums and exhibition halls will open their doors from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. in Berlin to offer visitors a chance to browse the cultural offerings in the capital with just one ticket and a shuttle bus service to get them from A. to B.

The 22nd Long Night of Museums centers around the topic of “time”, reaching from all kinds of time measurements to the computation of time – from chronos-time flowing along- to kairos -the (right) moment of time. The versatile meanings of the term will be presented by the museums of Berlin in the traditionally high quality and with additional programs.Five routes connect the museums in different parts of the city. The logistical center of the “long night” is the Berlin Kulturforum, near the Potsdamer Platz, where you can buy tickets for the event and find out more about the program. Tickets will be on sale in advance for 12 euros, 8 euros with a discount. On the night tickets cost 15 and 10 euros respectively. For a list of all the sales points see: http://www.kulturforum-berlin.com/ Berlin was the first city to organize a Long Night of Museums in 1997. Following its success, there are now many cities that have similar offerings. For a list of the long museum nights see: http://www.museumsnacht.de/

With the Things, it isn't easy to get out for long, so the German and I considered ourselves lucky to have a babysitter from 18-23 to be able to get out for a bit. Although that seems like a lot of time, we were able to manage only a single museum (and dinner and a visit to the museum shop and a bookstore on the way home). We decided to go to the Jewish Museum, where we have been meaning to go for ages. It was very interesting and not at all what I expected. I had thought that there would be more of an emphasis on the Shoah, but instead it really was a Jewish Museum that seemed to instead be explaining what a Jew was, that we are indeed humans like any other and to put the Jews in a temporal space and location with some explanation of the rise and fall of anti-Semitism in Europe (and of course, current existence, although that was only lightly touched upon). I now understand why there continue to be drives for Holocaust memorials: in my opinion, Berlin really has not come to grips with its complicity in genocide. In many ways, it seems that Germans have never met a Jew and the Jewish museum is rather like a cultural exhibit defining a species. It was interesting and I may expand upon this later after I have thought more on it.

18 January 2008

My second Deutsche Kurs...

I've just finished the first week of my second 10 week German course and I am glad to be back at it. A month without class has lft me forgetting what dative and accusative are all about. Strangely enough I moved up to level A2 ( I was a bit concerned) and 5 of my classmates from A1 have come with me. We have two new folks and 1 woman decided to repeat A1 after sitting in for a few classes. I really appreciate the relatively small class size and think that it's very helpful to be able to work in such a small group.

12 January 2008

Vacation's over

Whew, the girls were finally back in school the 7th and I went with them to help them settle in because Thing1 was resistant to going. But I hitched a ride in the bus with them and they settled in and seemed pretty happy. Thing 2’s teacher, A, talked to me about how serious she is, which is strange because she is so happy at home. But Thing2 acts so grown-up there, eating her breakfast by herself, that I am not really concerned that she plays alone rather than with the other children. I told A that she is probably grateful for the opportunity to play by herself since at home Thing1 never allows her to play by herself!
I had hoped to have the time and energy to discuss the Ring cycle, which we are greatly enjoying, but since Gotterdamering is tonight and we need to leave at 3 pm I just can’t manage it. I will try to get a description in next mailing

06 January 2008

Enjoying Berlin...

January 5th and 6th: Das Rheingold and Die Walküre. Whew. They were wonderful. So much so that after Die Walküre we came back to look up the Wagner festival at Bayreuth to see if we could get tickets, but it looks like they are already sold out for next summer: we will try for 2009 when the tickets go on sale next November.

01 January 2008

New Year's Eve Berlin

New Year’s Eve 2008: We watched the show on the TV at the Brandenberg Gate and saw a few highlights from Moscow, etc, but the most amazing thing was the fireworks. They were absolutely everywhere! We moved from our front balcony to the back terrace to watch the fireworks in all directions. They were coming from across the street directly toward us, from the balcony of the apartment on the corner of our building over the building into our courtyard and in all quarters of the city around us. I tried to take photos, but without a tripod they weren’t very good. And the fireworks kept coming until about 2 am. It was pretty cool.