Our life in Berlin has definitely settled into a sort of routine, or about as close as we’re going to get to routine.
Erwin still gets up as early as he usually does back home, about 6ish, while I sleep for two more hours. He says he writes his best at that time of day. A practice he started while in grad school with little ones in the house. We breakfast together (or rather, Erwin has breakfast and I have my usual coffee & cookie(s), and then Erwin goes back to his writing and I usually head out to explore, or visit, or shop, or bike ride, on my own for a couple of hours. There is just soooo much to see and do in Berlin and I’m afraid of missing out or not making the most out of our time here.
Even though I am what can be described as directionally or cartographically impaired, I haven’t once gotten lost here...yet. Yay me! It helps that there is this ginormous television tower visible from much of Berlin a block from our house to guide my way, plus a major subway/tram/bus/streetcar station a five minute walk away. I’ve become comfortable with various forms of public transit. Which ones go where and how long it takes. Learned how to avoid the hordes of tourists that are ever present. Learned the best times to go see what. Gained a lot more confidence in my spoken German and move between English and German with ease. Sometimes not even conscious about which language I’m speaking. Other times speaking one or the other depending on my purpose, and then gleefully watching the look on the face of the listener change, because they can’t figure out where I belong. What I hope I haven’t lost though is my Canadianess (is that a word?). I’ve been accused of being too polite, too Canadian. Germans and especially Berliners are often criticized for being brash, abrupt and abrasive….”saying it like it is” type of people. I don’t find it so, but then maybe that’s because I was raised by German parents, while living in Canada.
Anyways….back to our day. By early afternoon Erwin has usually read, researched, written enough for a day that his brain needs a break. We frequently head out for a bite to eat and do some more exploring together. What happens more often than not is that we’ll decide to see a specific exhibit, or a particular attraction and wind up stumbling across other points of interest. There’s always something new. I’m convinced that on our last day here, we’ll find something right around the corner that we never even knew was there.
Evenings, depending on the night of the week, are various. Sometimes it’s a quiet evening in to watch/catch up on American television (mostly HBO) that Erwin has “found” on the internet, or reading, or merely recounting the day's adventures and figuring out what to do next time. Other evenings we've gone to the theater, the opera, and concerts. We've attended art history lectures and gone for moon-light walks. All good. Soaked it all up.
Weekends or extended weekends are for trips. We've been to Berne, Paris, Hamburg and smaller towns closer in. We've also had visitors; friends and family who live here in Germany or near-by (hey Weeds) come for a few nights saving them or us the trip across the pond to spend time together. Another Sunday habit that Erwin has taken up is an early morning (as in 7ish) trip to the bakery to bring home fresh warm rolls, or other delightful bakery treats. There are no less than half dozen bakeries in our immediate area and some open as early as seven in the morning, seven days a week. That I know I will miss when we go home.
It’s now December and we have two months to go in Berlin. After that we move on to another city (most likely in Germany). I try not to dwell on the fact that it’s only two months to go, because the last three have flown by in a flash. There is much to look forward to this month. A trip to Nürnberg, where the Christkindlemarkt is thought to have originated, a visit from more relatives, but most of all Christmas or Weihnachten with all my babies (2+1) together for the first time in six years. I'm a little sad that I don’t have any of our Christmas decorations, which we've accumulated over 30+ years. Or, the utensils to bake and prepare goodies the way I would on “The Rock.” But, and I know it sounds clichéd, it’s Christmas, so I’m allowed, we’ll be together.