Tuesday, April 30, 2013

{ our new home }

Dear Friends & Family,

If you have our old address please disregard it. The Prindles are moving! We picked up our keys today, and tomorrow is a holiday, so John and I will be cleaning up and making everything shiny. Thursday we will have furniture, and Friday we will move all our clothes and belongings over to the new apartment.
{ entrance }

{ unfurnished kitchen with pantry & storage loft }

{ living room }

{ double doors }

{ beauty of an altbau }

{ corner bedroom }

{ corner bedroom view }

{ double window bedroom }

{ to the living room }

Please hurry and visit us. We live in a beautiful neighborhood surrounded by restaurants, cafes, and shops, and we are a block away from the train station. The weather has been beautiful. It has been a mixture of sunny days and gray skies, but it doesn't stay overcast long. We've had some rain, but it was only for the night, and two days later it was beautiful again. 

The Prindles.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

{ spring in berlin }

Dear Friends & Family,

We survived our first winter in Berlin...so happy it's over. No more snow. No more freezing weather. It's spring!!

We've started our German lessons, and it's been going really well. We meet twice a week for an hour and forty-five minutes, and our teacher has a sense of humor that helps make the time go by fast.

But what's the best way to kick off spring?...um, how about moving into a new apartment!! Yes, we FINALLY got offered an apartment. It's almost everything we wanted. It's got high high ceilings with beautiful stucco molding, wooden floors in the entry way and the two rooms, and I've got a spacious kitchen with a pantry closet and a loft style storage. The only downside is the design of the bathroom, but it's not enough to deter us away from this gorgeous apartment in a beautiful neighborhood.

{ this is our bedroom ceiling }

We go in to sign the contract tomorrow, and we are so excited to make this place our home. There is so much space to work with, and we can't wait for some of our friends & family to see it when they visit. 

The Prindles.
{our last winter photo}

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

{ monday in paris }

Dear Friends & Family,

I realized today that it's been three weeks since John and I were in Paris, not two. So three weeks ago from Monday  was our last day in Paris...

Shannon & Guillaume left for work in the morning, and our flight wasn't until later in the evening. Our plan was to have lunch with Shannon, and then visit the Louvre. We mentioned to Shannon that we haven't had good sushi in Berlin. We tried one bad place, and that was enough for us to decide we wouldn't have good sushi until we were back in the states. We do have a couple places on our to do list in Berlin but haven't tried them yet. 
So we met Shannon at her work, and she took us to a sushi place that was the next block down from her work that she frequents often. It's been awhile since I've had sushi that I forgot I can only eat so much before getting full. I overdid it with my sushi, but I was happy it was at least decent. dammit, now i'm craving sushi...
After lunch Shannon took us to the rooftop of her work to show us their spectacular view. I believe it is one of the tallest buildings allowed in Paris. Shannon told us there was a high-rise building that was built in the city. They realized this wasn't what they wanted the cityscape to look like, so they moved all subsequent high-rises to the outskirts of Paris where it is now known as the business district or La Défense
From Shannon's work we were able to walk all the way down to the Louvre. I was hoping Monday would be less crowded than Friday when we first walked by. Every room and every hallway was filled with tourists. There was a large crowd in the room that kept the Mona Lisa, and we were warned about the size being much smaller than most people would expect. 
We breezed through the museum knowing it would be impossible to see everything in the short time we had, so we stopped by some favorites mentioned by friends and then headed back to the apartment. 

Overall it was an amazing trip, and I loved every second of it. I can't wait to return, but I also really appreciate the fact that John and I are living in a foreign country, and we are making it our home. Whenever we are on the train going somewhere in Berlin, I squeeze John's hand and smile. I can't believe we live here. Yes, we miss the beach and that California sunshine, but we know it'll be there when we come back. Right now Berlin is our home, and we hope our friends & family will take this opportunity to visit us and experience Berlin with the same freedom we had exploring Paris. 
{ John & Shannon }

{ taking in the view }

{ capturing these moments }

{ glimpse of the Eiffel Tower }

{ glimpse of Arc de Triumph }

{ waiting to get through security }
{ Mona Lisa from afar }
{ behind a glass case }

The Prindles
{ our last picture in Paris }

Sunday, April 14, 2013

{ sunday in paris }

Dear Friends & Family,

Sunday was our last full day in Paris, and it was my favorite day. We didn't partake in any touristy sightseeing adventure. We just hung out with Shannon and Guillaume like it was any other day in Paris...that included the farmer's market and a birthday party.

We woke up and had our morning latte and then headed to the farmer's market. The only farmer's market John and I have been to in Berlin is indoors because it's been cold and snowy. The one in Paris is what I hope Berlin will be like when the weather warms up. We didn't get to explore the market in its entirety, but the stands we visited had me falling in love with Paris all over again.

shame on me for not taking more pictures...

When we arrived, Shannon explained some of the characters that ran the stands. The guy that sells fish was crazy (in a funny way), and he played a practical joke on Shannon one time placing a crayfish in her bag when she wasn't looking. There's a woman who runs the produce section who is very short and can be absent minded at times. One of her employees will pick on her to get a rise out of her, but they work as a team. If she is unable to reach for something, he will pick her up without her asking for help. Knowing the dynamic of the people there made it more enjoyable to watch.

We stopped to get poultry first, and it's so fresh that they de-feather the birds right there. There were some on display that were featherless except for around the head.
The next stop was the produce stand, and there was quite a line, but everyone there knew how the system worked and patiently waited. Just as Shannon and G were about to be helped, a little old woman stepped in to purchase nuts. I enjoyed listening to Shannon and G converse with the produce guy about how the woman cut in front of them unapologetically.  They were laughing and joking, and it all sounded so enchanting because it was all in French.
After we got everything we needed, we stopped for fresh oysters. There's a special place in my heart for oysters. My grandparents introduced me to oysters when I was about 8 or 9, and I've loved it ever since. 
They shuck the oysters in front of you, and you have the option of having white wine with it. I normally like all the fixings like lemon, horseradish, cocktail sauce, Tabasco sauce, and a little black pepper, but this only required a squeeze of lemon, and it was delicious. Something so small and simple had me giddy. It was my Sunday Funday. 
Shannon and G saved the best for last, and stopped at the stand where they sold paté and other delicious meat goodies. We picked up some paté for the party and something else that Shannon wanted us to try that had goose in it. I can't remember what it was, but it was good. 
After the market we stopped at a bakery to grab some fresh baguettes and little mini sandwiches to snack on. On our first day, John and I picked up a sandwich that was just a fresh baguette with salami and  julienne cornichons. Something so simple tasted so amazing. And John hates pickles. 

From there we had everything we needed for the party. Shannon and I dressed up, and we made the boys wear bow ties that were actually hair accessories made by with amoré. 
When we arrived we walked in, and I felt like I stepped back in time...okay not really, but I was really feeling the vibe of the people in bérets, the girls in the spring dresses, the French music playing in the background, the many types of dessert and bottles of wine on the table, and the sound of bottles of champagne being popped open. It was all music to my eyes and ears. 
John and I mingled with everyone, and Shannon introduced us to her friend who was originally from Berlin but lived in Paris with his girlfriend. It was very refreshing to hear the German accent for some reason. I guess that's how you know when Berlin is really your home. We loved hearing the difference in how people live in Berlin and Paris. Both pretty different than the way we lived back in California. 

{ oysters ready to be shucked }

{ view of the Bastille from afar }

{ nothing but lemon and a little chardonnay to wash it down }

{ fresh baguettes }

{ among great company }

{ so much goodness on one table }

Here is a YouTube video of one of the songs that was playing at the party where all the girls danced twirling their skirts and dresses (including myself).  

We arrived at 1 pm and drank and danced until 7. We were one of the last people to leave, and by then, everyone was coming up to us as they were saying their goodbyes. I was hesitant in the beginning to greet our new friends with kisses, but by the time it got to the goodbyes it was kisses to everyone! 

The Prindles.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

{ saturday in paris }

Dear Friends & Family,

For Saturday I wanted to take our picture in front of the Eiffel Tower which most of you saw on Facebook or IG. Shannon has suggested a route for us to take that would give us the best full view, so we took the 9 to Trocadero, and before we walked onto the plaza that would give us a view of the Eiffel Tower, John had me close my eyes and lead me to the center of the plaza. That was my favorite moment, to just open my eyes and see the Eiffel Tower right in front of me. The distance gave me the perfect view. After taking A LOT of pictures, we headed towards Arc de Triomphe which was at the western end of Champs-Élysées. We walked down Champs-Élysées, picked up a baguette hot dog (hot dog in a baguette with mustard and melted cheese) and a palmier (puff pastry).  We walked all the way to Tuileries Garden (Jardin des Tuileries) and decided we had enough sight seeing and walked all the way back to the 11th district. In the evening Shannon and Guillaume took us to one of their favorite Vietnamese restaurants. I love trying Vietnamese food in different countries. I can say "countries" now that I've had it in Germany and France. It's interesting to hear the Vietnamese language spoken in different countries too. I can't wait for my mom to come out and help me. I'm curious what she thinks of the Vietnamese culture in Germany. 

{ double cam view of the stairs to the apartment }

{ guy from florida took this photo for us }

{ breathtaking view::picture doesn't give it justice }

{ deep in thought }

{ among the trees }

{ memorial for princess di }

{ in front of the arc }

{ middle of the street view }

{ going underground to get to the arc }

Les Champs-Élysées::our cake cutting song }

{ another glimpse of the eiffel tower }

{ streets of paris::back roads }

The Prindles.

Friday, April 12, 2013

{ friday in paris }

Dear Friends & Family,

Friday we continued to explore Paris. Shannon had recommended a few places for us to check out, and we decided to go to the Luxembourg Garden (Jardin du Luxembourg) because it was in close proximity to Ladurée. As we walked, we realized that every small street there was some treasure to be found. We didn't have an exact path to get to our destination, we just wanted to let ourselves get lost in the city. At one point we were walking through a quiet cobble-stoned alley that lead to a small street filled with cafes and boutiques. We found a small French cafe and took advantage of their lunch special that included beef carpaccio and veal served with roasted mango and pineapple, and green beans. After that we walked through the streets and found ourselves in front of Ladurée for macarons. It was definitely my kid in a candy store moment. 

In the evening we met up with Shannon and Guillaume for beers. By the way, beer in Paris is 2-3x more expensive than in Berlin. In Berlin, it is cheaper to drink beer than water. Although Shannon found a place that serves beer cheap during happy hour. From there we headed to a wine bar that had photographs displayed by their friend. There were baguettes, salami, cheese, paté, and wine. Lots and lots of wine. We enjoyed talking to Shannon & Guillaume among their friends, and their friends were very friendly. We all stayed longer than planned enjoying all the food and wine that was offered. 

{ enjoying our parisian lunch }

{ beef carpaccio }

{ lunch }

{ ladurée }

{ another glimpse of the eiffel tower at luxembourg garden }

{ conciergerie: former royal palace & prison }

{ pont au change }

{ goodies come in small boxes }

{ judging wine by its cover }

{ curious }

{ natural wine::tried it, liked it }

{ you wouldn't know from the outside, but the best salami ever }

{ jokes::typical french }

{ empty bottles of wine & paté }

{ so much goodness in one night }

{ blurry john }

{ just a short walk back to the apartment }

The Prindles.