• Berlins and Outs,  Close to Home

    What makes a new city feel like home?

    A couple of weeks ago, I said to E, “I don’t miss Boston, not exactly, but I do miss knowing a place well.” It was a weekend evening and we were trying to figure out what to do with ourselves. I ended up saying, “what I really want to do is go to Aeronaut.” Aeronaut is a brewery in Somerville, MA that was a 5-minute walk from our old apartment. Their beer is good, but that’s not what I was missing. What I was missing was knowing where to go. There are plenty of breweries in Berlin, but we don’t have “our place” yet. I had a level of familiarity…

  • Berlins and Outs

    Mundane Cultural Differences – Berlin vs. Boston (Part 1)

    Emma and I moved from Boston to Berlin almost exactly 4 months ago, and there have been a lot of huge changes. We’re far away from family and friends, I’ve started a software development job, Emma’s just finished the second draft of her book, we’re both working on learning a new language … it can be a bit overwhelming when we think about it all. That’s not what I’m going to talk about in this post, though. In this post, I want to talk about the strange minutia that we’re already starting to take for granted, the little things that make us pause and go, “Huh. I guess that’s not…

  • Berlins and Outs

    100 Days of Learning German!

    We’ve been in Germany for more than 100 days now! I know because last week I finished The 100 Day Project! The 100 Day Project is an online global art project where people commit to doing something every day for 100 days and sharing the results on instagram. Typically people make visual art, because instagram is a visual medium, but you can really do anything you want for 100 days and there’s no need to share your work. E and I first heard about The 100 Day Project when our friend, Megan, did it in 2016 and used watercolors to paint a different plant every day. Megan makes whimsical art…

  • Berlins and Outs,  Feeeeelings

    Keine Familie ist illegal

    People from the US are allowed into the Schengen Zone (of which Germany is a part) for 90 days at a time. If you want to stay longer, you need a visa or a residence permit. June 25th was my 90th day in Germany, and, on June 28th, I got a residence permit that allows me to live here through March 2019. So, technically, on June 26th and June 27th, you could have called me an “illegal immigrant.” I mention this because immigration is complicated, and it’s a helluva lot more complicated for people who don’t look like me and/or don’t have the money I have. I mention this because…

  • We watched Star Trek dubbed into German so you don’t have to

    E and I have wanted to start a podcast for over a year now. We have several ideas, but this was the one that finally inspired us to sit down and record: “What We Think Happened” is a show where we watch a piece of media in a language we don’t speak and then attempt to recap it. Hopefully, we’re funny about it. For our inaugural episode, we watched the pilot of Star Trek: The Next Generation dubbed into German, without subtitles. A month ago, we recorded an hour and a half of audio trying to make sense of this bizarre tv show. It’s taken us a while to finally…

  • Berlins and Outs

    The Egg Cups of Berlin

    I have eaten exactly 1/4 of a hard-boiled egg in my life, and it was in a salad on the plane on the way to Berlin. It was … fine.  At the time, I didn’t realize how appropriate this experience was. Eggs that have been boiled are quite popular in Germany. At least, they are judging by the popularity of cups to hold them in. How popular are egg cups, you ask? Well, the cupboard in the furnished apartment we’re renting contains (among other things) three coffee cups… and four egg cups. Egg cups, as far as my research has taught me, are best for soft-boiled eggs, which I’ve never eaten. I’ve only…

  • Berlins and Outs

    Spring in Berlin: A Video and A Love Letter

    I try to take a couple seconds of video footage on my phone every day. I’ve been doing this on and off for a few years. My intention is always to compile the footage on the 1 Second Everyday app, but I don’t get around to it consistently. Last week though, I was feeling inspired to do something a little more complicated with all the snippets of life in Berlin that I’ve filmed since March. The result is this short video, which I hope will appeal to the visual learners among you. There are several shots in and around our apartment, but there are also snippets we filmed in other places…

  • Berlins and Outs

    4 Ways We’re Learning German

    It looks like I’ll be signing up for another German class sooner rather than later because… I’m applying for a year-long residence permit to learn German! That’s right, we’ve found a solution to our residence permit problems! The Ausländerbehörde (foreigner’s office) will let me live here on my savings if it’s in the interest of learning German – I just have to study German 20 hours per week for 3 months, and they’ll give me a residence permit for the next year. This gives E and me plenty of time to find a cheaper place to live; and it gives me plenty of time to establish myself as a freelance…

  • Berlins and Outs

    Bikes, Beers, and Beautiful Sunsets

    We’ve been in Berlin for two months now, but I find myself unsure what to say about it to friends and family back home. There’s no news on our residence permits except I find it embarrassing that my husband’s boss wants me to get a job. I’m happier here than I was in Boston, but I think that’s more about me and less about Berlin. This city is not immediately beautiful. It is concrete and graffiti and parks filled with garbage after the weekend’s revelry. A lot of the graffiti is artfully done and what drew my attention to the garbage is the teams of people cleaning it up every…

  • Berlins and Outs

    I Never Expected to Learn German

    I studied Spanish for seven years and my favorite city in the world is Barcelona. While my Spanish is far from fluent these days, it’s still enough to get me through service interactions and daily life: ordering food, checking out at the grocery store, asking for directions. I kinda thought that if I was going to live abroad it would be in one of the dozens of countries where I already speak at least some of the official language (be it English or Spanish). And, before you say it, yes, many people in Berlin speak English. Earlier this month, I finished a 4-week beginners German class, and one of my…