• 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…

  • 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…

  • Berlins and Outs

    Residence Permit Problems

    German efficiency might be a myth. German bureaucracy, however, is alive and well, and doesn’t want me to stay in the country. Here’s the deal: our residence permit applications are on hold until we change our financial situation. We have until June 20th. What’s wrong with our financial situation, you ask? Our apartment is very expensive, E’s salary isn’t very high, and mine is nonexistent. But didn’t we know that when we made the decision to move? Didn’t we put ourselves in this situation? Yeah, absolutely. We decided we could afford this move and I could spend some time focusing on my book because we have significant savings (my inheritance).…

  • Berlins and Outs

    Thoughts on One Month of Living Abroad

    When I backpacked Europe, almost six years ago now (yeesh), I wrote a post about my thoughts on one month of travel, so, when E and I realized we’d been in Berlin for a month, we decided to write this post as a bit of a callback. Here’s the good, the bad, and the ugly from one month of living abroad in Germany. Plus, if you scroll all the way down, a little video of what we’ve been up to. The Good The Weather: We arrived right at the tail end of winter and, while our friends and family back home suffered through April snowstorms, we enjoyed days in the…

  • Berlins and Outs,  Feeeeelings,  Meta-Blogging

    Everything is Different Now

    There are no screens in our windows now, so in the mornings we lean out and people watch while we drink our coffee. E imagines what it would be like to be a field mouse living on the supermarket’s green roof – he wants to make a video game about it. I mostly ogle other people’s dogs as they walk down the street. We watch the trains going in and out of Ostkreuz station. And if we look left we can see the TV Tower, but only when we’re leaning out the window. Hi. Hello. Welcome back. Everything is different now. E got a job as an educational video game…

  • Feeeeelings

    He’s Dead So I Can Say Whatever I Want About Him

    Do you ever come up with titles for your unwritten memoirs? The only reason I’m writing this post is because the title struck me as I was walking home. Its subtitle will be “And Other Pithy Essays About My Family.” It will be my second book – a slightly more sophisticated follow-up to the fresh voice readers fell in love with in my debut, It Starts and Ends in Barcelona: A Memoir of Grief and Travel. “Holliday’s work reads like Wild if Cheryl Strayed were snarkier and had a less interesting story to tell…” –New York Times Book Review I’m taking a writing class and today one of my classmates’…