Monday, December 31, 2012

{ 2012 }

Dear Friends & Family,

As everyone is starting their day, John and I will be getting ready to count down into the new year. In Berlin, they started selling fireworks on December 28, and since then we've been hearing them go off throughout the day. The first time I heard them, I thought it was a car backfiring. I had mentioned it to Andreas and his wife that our neighborhood was very quiet except for the occasional car backfiring. I was quickly corrected. It's supposed to be a big deal because it's illegal up until this time when they allow it.

John and I explored a new neighborhood today, Steglitz, which is just 2 miles east of us. We walked through neighborhoods, around the Free University, walked by one of the Max Planck Institute campuses, and came across a botanical garden before we got into the main area of Steglitz on Schloßstraße.
{ quiet stroll through the university }

{ tiny house on the left is where we are }

 There we saw more familiar stores like Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Clarks, H&M, The Body Shop, and Brandy Melville (much smaller than the one in Santa Monica.
{ hardly any jewelry in the store }

 I even found a boba/pearl/bubble tea spot that was owned by a Vietnamese family. If anything, I am brushing up on my very embarrassingly poor Vietnamese here. I think I've tried to speak that more than English or German. The man at the restaurant was very helpful with information, and from what I could translate, he said there's a cheap language school close to where we live. I will definitely have to check it out. I've made a goal for myself to learn one phrase and try to use it throughout my day. I failed today to incorporate numbers. For example, we bought donuts (called Berliners in other parts, but here they call just call it Pfannkuchen). I said, "two please," instead of "zwei bitte." "Zwei," meaning two, and "bitte," meaning please. It's going to take me awhile to adjust that English is not the dominant language. I feel like the tourists who come to eat in Santa Monica and are silent when I ask, "Hi, how are you today?" I am that person that just smiles and nods. Let me change that, WE are those people who just smile and nod. John's no help in the language department either. Although he was the one that reminded me to respond with, "zwei bitte." 

So since we are still tired and trying to catch up on sleep, we decided to stay in for NYE. We went to the local grocery store and bought steak (we're pretty sure it's steak-j/k), potatoes, a bottle of red wine, and a bottle of Prosecco to ring in the new year (granted we can stay awake). I think it'll be hard to sleep before then though. It's barely 7pm, and all we've heard are fireworks on the streets and techno music through the walls. Tonight should be interesting...

Happy New Year to everyone. We wish you all a great end to 2012, and cheers to a new start in 2013.


The Prindles. 

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