Friday, 22 July 2011

Swedish candy

Mmmm... E and I made a deliciously dangerous discovery a few weeks ago when innocently opening a bank account for her: Herr Nilsson (Wühlischstrasse 58) sells pick and mix candy from Sweden, Finland and Denmark for €1.60/100g. My favourite cola bottles and marshmallow mushrooms are there, only the selection of salmiakki (like salty liquorice) leaves a bit to be desired. The chocolate selection on the other hand is pretty terrific: Marabou, Fazer and Cloetta. The shop has only been open for about two months now, and I hope it does well.

When I took A there yesterday, he was delighted to realise that he can by his favourite chips in Berlin: Cheez Doodles, aka Ostbågar, aka Juustosnacks. I'm so glad we don't live any closer to Herr Nilsson, or we'd be in there every other day!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Great Indian restaurant

or "How I missed the Berlin restaurant bills"

A's been working since we got back to Berlin on Monday. I've had a cough that just won't stop. We've kept a low profile, stayed at home, ate our Finnish chocolates and salmiakkis.

When S and L wanted to know if we'd have a quick dinner or drink with them last night, they didn't need to ask twice. It was about time to see other people again. We met at Seth, and Indian/Pakistani restaurant I just read about on Spotted by Locals. I'm not a huge fan of Indian restaurants – usually the food is not flavourful enough, only creamy and heavy. I ordered Alu Bengen (€3.90); aubergines and potatoes in a curry sauce, and A ordered Champignon Masala (€4.99) – both excellent. All four of us were very happy with our dishes, and it was the best Indian experience I've had in a long time! The only criticism I have was that my mango lassi wasn't much to brag about, and in typical Berlin fashion I had to ask for my tap water twice. Our waiter was super nice, the restaurant clean and cosy and the food delicious and price-worthy: our whole meal for two came to €15! I think you'll see us at Seth's quite often.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


Before we went to Finland I turned 30. Not so note-worthy, I find, but did we celebrate with a lovely picnic in our living room. Most of the guests didn't know it was a birthday picnic - I don't like to make a fuss. So without stress (but a bad hangover from staying at Rosi's until 7am) we lounged in our living room with a few good friends, drank sparkling wine and ate bulgur salad, Portuguese cheeses, turkish pastes, bread, spiced cashews and pea soup, with a side of fresh cherries and strawberries. The people in the know gifted me with bottles of organic sparkling wine and to practice my German M&M had picked out the book Herr Lehmann by Sven Regener for me.

During our holidays at home both A's and my birthdays were of course celebrated repeatedly. A's mom gave me a gorgeous pair of silver earrings and my dad got A a vintage microphone that he was over the moon about. I got books and gift cards, and I started to believe that maybe turning 30 was a big deal.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Finnish summer

After a two week break from Berlin and from the internet, I'm excited to be home. Everyone who's lived abroad knows that a visit home is no vacation, it's work. You have to meet all the friends and family members you can, no one can be left out, because that would be unfair. You feel guilty and stressed a lot. Everyone also wants to offer coffee or a beer - either way, a lot of drinking is involved.

I shouldn't complain. Finland was so much fun and everyone showed us so much love! We got tons of birthday presents and we did a lot of fun stuff like go to the amusement park in Helsinki and chill out at A's family's summer house; swimming, boating, barbecuing, sauna-ing. I read two and a half books (two Swedish mystery novels and half of Harry Potter und der Gefangene von Askaban). We also made sure we ate an insane amount of new potatoes with butter, fresh smoked salmon and locally grown sweet peas. Nothing quite compares to summer at home!


Friday, 1 July 2011

Relocating to Berlin

It has been a very exciting week for me - one of my best friends moved to Berlin last Wednesday. E's staying with us until August, when she and A will get their own apartment. We won't live together the whole time, though: we'll be on holidays for two weeks and when we come back, E's going to Finland for two weeks, too. We have been getting along really well in close quarters, and I'm almost sad to leave for our holiday in Finland on Sunday. We've been taking it easy and have just been sitting in cafés, biergartens, parks or at home, chatting and catching up.

When escorting E to get registered at the Bürgeramt, to get a prepaid sim-card and to open a bank account I've realised just how easy it is for an EU-citizen to move around Europe. At work I hear the horror stories of Americans and Australians having to go plead their cases at the Ausländerbehörde. The only thing an EU-citizen HAS to do when moving to Berlin is to register their residency and address at the Bürgeramt. This took E about ten minutes: upon arrival to the Amt I realized that it was crowded and asked if we could make an appointment - a Termin - instead of just waiting for our number to come up. We got an appointment that was three minutes away. "Termin" seems to be the magic word around here! It can also be booked online.

Now I feel really guilty for leaving E alone in Berlin for two weeks... Luckily she's an independent girl and will go on a language course, bike shopping and on photo walks and will be just fine on her own. Plus some of our friends have offered to keep her company!
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