Hallo, from Hamburg!
All is well here! Autumn has arrived and I’m soaking it all in… But, please humor me–I can’t help but start out this (Berlin) blog post with my biggest victory of the year (ok ok, maybe it’s not that dramatic–but really!)
If you’ve followed along, you know that checking out at a grocery store is one of the most nerve-wracking experiences I have in Germany (weekly). Last week, I checked out and furiously bagged my items with a long line of people behind me. Trust me–I have methods like crazy. My 100 items must be efficient because everyone around me has 7. And yes, they roll their eyes at me. And this day, I was killin’ it. The right bags opened when I struggled to open them, I got the right bag with the heavy stuff and the bread at the end plopped nicely on top. I was the queen of ex-pats living in Germany that day. Irritating, yes, but killin’ it nonetheless. When I finished emptying my bags into my trunk, a German woman came up to me and told me that she was so impressed and wanted to learn from my packing abilities.
YESSS!! It was one of the most affirming moments of living in Germany. Especially because she spoke to me in German, I understood, and was able to respond (like a 2 year old). Fist Bump.
BUT! I’m not here to share only my grocery victories of the week.
We vacationed! The European version of vacation days paid off again and Brian’s parents came and we spent 4 days in Hamburg and then we all enjoyed 3 nights in Berlin. Berlin is close, and we took cars to get there, affording us the awesomeness of George’s scooter and Rowan’s balance bike to aid us in getting around town.
That’s right. It worked. This was us on our way to Checkpoint Charlie. “We’re going to do Charlie!!” Rowan said. [Shoutout to Brian, carrying all the things. Like always.]
One major highlight of this trip for me was getting to ride with Brian on some of the road trip there and talk through the history of Berlin–East and West–and all that that entailed. I’m generally woefully underinformed. In fact, embarrassingly so. But my awesome husband patiently walked me through the history and I Google Mapped and Google Imaged my way through the history story, even getting to listen to an audio file of “Ich bin ein Berliner”! And then I was able to fully marvel at the sights when we were there.
One of my favorite things we saw was the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. From the edges of it, it looks like this:
Like tombs. But then you start walking into the memorial, and it swallows you up. You can’t tell from the outside that it has any depth to it… But it does:
It’s completely moving, overwhelming, and sobering. It’s quiet. And you get lost. And yes, sometimes (ahem) you lose your children in it. Which kind of… seemed appropriate. How awful. How moving. And God love the artists who made this memorial a reality. Thank you for honoring them.
Another highlight was a date with my husband (Thanks, Marmie and Pops!!!) to a 2 Michelin Star restaurant: FACIL. This was dessert (peaches and corn) and yes. It blew my mind. Everything on this plate was edible… The green oval thing is ice cream and the round of what looks like corn sliced and laid on the left side (with the caramel in the middle) is actually liquid and PIPED onto the plate. Say what?!
It was a lovely getaway! It was indulgent for me to not cook and clean for our meals for 4 days and getting to see the sights of history was amazing. We are still our family with a 3 and 4 year old, so we mostly park-hopped, walked, and ate at restaurants–but that was ok! Oh, and the hotel breakfast and pool were our kid-highlights. Everyone had a lovely time.
Another city visited! I think it might be time to purchase that huge world map for a wall so we can begin marking all the places we’ve been! We’re very blessed. Hoping you’re also enjoying your autumn and planning a trip here to visit!