Saturday, 30 January 2010

A trail of lint leading to our front door

Yesterday we met with our breakfast club for probably the last time. In the evening we celebrated our Swedish friend M's job. Today we are feeling really lazy, the biggest challenge we'll take on is probably to make sure we get dinner. We still have our house guest bunking with us until tomorrow, but he's not here now, just the trail of lint he has left lying around the apartment. I have already hoovered twice this week!

One of the basic commodities in our kitchen is Rossman's organic, smoke flavoured tofu – a pack of two only costs €1,99. We also have a few spuds, so I'm thinking hash browns. Maybe we won't even leave the house today :P

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Breakfast club

Since November we have met with some of the lovely people we met at our language classes for breakfast once a week to practice our German. We speak bad German, try to help each other with words and expressions, while we share news, mostly on how our job searches are going. Unfortunately, our breakfast club might be history; our Swedish member will start his new full-time job next week, and there will only be four of us left. Our Spanish member works often and randomly and can only join us now and then. Our French member started a new German course and can only have brekkie one day of the week. Sigh.

All the same, I can really recommend the amazingly cheap breakfast/brunch at An einem Sonntag im August on Kastanienallee; the buffet is €2,95 (plus drinks). It's very basic; fresh bread rolls, cheese, meats, jams, cereals, fried eggs and pasta salads, but it does the job and it's a really cosy surrounding – with a separate smoking room, which makes everyone happy! The brunch is served between 9-14.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Prenzlberg treats

We have a friend borrowing our living room at the moment, so my leisure time is all out of whack :) We've kept busy, anyway: I discovered a great tea salon, a great bar for watching Tatort, an amazing restaurant, a white wine I actually liked and I ate ratatouille made with the recipe from the film Ratatouille!

The T Room close to Senefelderplatz is a very nice place for a pot of tea and cakes, English style. I would go back just for the café's own smoky tea blend – yum!

I will return to Volksbar on Schönhauser Allee for a dose of Tatort or maybe just a frothy chai latte...

We were lucky enough to be treated to lunch on Saturday and happened to pick an excellent restaurant on Kollwitzplatz for our three course meal. We will find more excuses to go back to Gugelhof, for sure! One of them will be to drink this fantastic, organic Janson Bernhard white Riesling our waitress recommended.

I am still looking for work, but oh, that's so dull. I am also working myself up to a frenzy about health insurance: in Germany it's mandatory to have it – but we don't. I have heard of people being demanded to pay insurance fees retrospectively if they can't prove they have been insured from the moment they moved to Germany. Ouch.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Looking for work

I am seriously trying to find a job now, no more horsing around. We've both had interviews and we are both doing a trial: I will do a trial issue of a well known Berlin-mag next month, and next week A is doing a two day trial at an IT company. Apparently that's how it works here; you will be tested first. In a way that's good, then you will know what the job is like and if you like it. Both of us will still keep looking, but at least we can feel good about ourselves; we were picked for something!

Here's a a few links that I have found useful while looking for work – they are leaning towards media and the creative fields a little, but there's a few more general sites, too:

The Local's ads
Exberliner ads
A collection of adverts via Toytown
Jobs in Berlin
Work for the EU
International development jobs
Film and TV industry jobs
Design jobs
Creative jobs

More good tips are welcome!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Wine o'clock in Berlin

Yesterday we had our first own house party in Berlin, and I think it was a success. Today I have not bothered to do anything except eat leftovers and Finnish chocolate (from the Kollwitzplatz market). We invited pretty much everyone we know in Berlin, and I counted that only six people were missing. If you add the 12 people that did make it, you get the size of our circle of friends here :) Everyone seemed to get along really well and it was a very international evening with seven nationalities using four languages throughout the night. We served home-made dips, A's awesome home-made bread and chocolate cookies. A few lovely guests brought cakes and more wine with them, so we had more provisions than guests. I hope the neighbours don't hate us today; we played loud-ish music from 8pm to 3.30am...

Friday, 15 January 2010

In Berlin without weekend plans?
Why not have some chocolate?

The Ritter Sport chocolate world opens in Mitte today! You can sample that German goodness on Französischer straße – admission is free.

The chocolate world is in three floors and has a Chocolateria (I'm dying to know what that is!), a Chocolounge and an exhibition on the history and the making of chocolate. Kids and youngsters can try making their own favourite Ritter Sport flavours, while us grown ups can wish for our own gastronomic whimsies from chocolatiers. And there's a gift shop! Mmmm...

Picture from

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Bilingual breakfast

My tandem language exchange is going really well; we have become good friends with S and our meet-ups always take at least three hours. Today we met for breakfast in Malzcafé on Danziger staße. S tells me that on weekends they have an amazing brunch buffet for just under €7 and that it's so popular that a table reservation is useful. We ordered our breakfast from a versatile list, and both opted for the Vegetarischer Frühstück platters, €5,50 each. Pretty yummy, huh?


It's pretty while it lasts – soon we will be knee-deep in sleet...

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Working it

I had my first job interview of 2010 today, with a magazine here in Berlin. The situation seems to be tough, they told me they had 60 replies in two days. The meeting went well, but I don't know if I should be excited or not – to be honest, I'm not sure what happened: I was in and out in 15 minutes! They are testing one designer for the January issue, then apparently me for February. It could be the perfect job; it comes with responsibility and seniority, it's part-time and it's not far from where I live. It could be a disaster; I would manage three people I didn't meet, I would work with the owners (which I have wowed not to do again...) and the pay might not be great. So I will go on like before: take things one day at the time and look out for more opportunities that will come my way.

P.s. How cool would it be to be able to get by on just a part-time job?! I would have half of the month free to take holidays and to sleep in!

Friday, 8 January 2010

Back in snowy Berlin

Snowy Finland

Snowy Berlin

Back in Berlin.

It feels strange to come home to a place where you don't have a job or any commitments. At the airport i felt like we will arrive in Ireland, like we used to. When we landed, I felt like we ended up back in Finland. But we are indeed in Berlin. We will look for a job, we will practice our German, we will meet our friends and it will feel like home again.

Finland was quite cold and very snowy. The cold didn't feel as bad as I had expected, it was very manageable. The amount of snow fall often made driving a bit scary and we got sick of having to brush off the car and scrape the ice off the windows everytime we needed to go somewhere. It was great to get to hang out with our families so much and to see our friends. We had many nice meals, many drinks and even went so see a few bands play. Christmas was Christmas; too much food and great company – New Year's was the usual; going to a stiff Finnish house party and watching the fireworks at midnight.

What made me happy about coming back to Berlin? Oddly enough, the snow. Cheap sushi. Organic grocery shops. A bag of really tasty organic clementines cost €2,49. We met our breakfast club buddies and had a breakfast buffet for €2,95. To see happy dogs without leashes. That The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus is finally in the cinema!

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