Time is flying by! So much has been happening the past month I figure the best way to tackle our updates is to do a (not so) quick run through…
The end of June brought lots of opportunities to hang out with friends and enjoy the lakes and parks around Berlin- particularly Plotzensee and Krumme Lanke. We had a bbq out at Plotzensee for Thomas’ birthday in June and have returned a few times since for a dip.
At the end of June my wonderful co-workers and friends threw a Hen Party (Bachelorette in American speak) for myself and my fellow engaged friend, Sandra. We met up at a delicious Asian tapas restaurant for dinner and followed that up with an evening of drinks at CCCP’s and then dancing. They even put together a little book of advice and tidbits for married life! Everything was so thoughtfully planned and really made us brides-to-be feel special! Thanks ladies (and Jon!).
June also brought about the festivities of Pride week and the big Christopher Street Parade. On the big parade day we spent the early afternoon out in Tiergarten watching the big parade and then in the late afternoon headed down to the smaller, more politically charged parade in Kreuzberg. We had so much fun celebrating with friends both gay and straight and enjoying the colorful events of the week.
July 1st signified the final two week countdown to the end of work as well as the arrival of my lovely cousin Jamie! Jamie stayed with us for two weeks and we had so much fun catching up, exploring Berlin and of course eating! She also rounded out her trip by speaking at a conference here in Berlin. Apparently it went very well- so that’s great news for her! Highlights of Jamie’s trip included swimming and sunbathing at the lake, her cooking up a massive Italian feast for us and some friends, clubbing in an abandoned swimming pool facility and sampling delicious beers all across the city. She was a great guest and we miss her already, but we’ll see her in just over two months when wedding festivities get going:)
While Jamie was here we also hosted a big 4th of July BBQ to introduce all our international friends to the amazingness that is July 4th in America! We hauled a rolly suitcase full of beer, our grill and burger fixings to Friedrichshain Volkspark to get our America on. About 25-30 friends showed up and we had a great time introducing them to country tunes, drinking games and even a patriotic rendition of the star spangled banner- it was a very festive event.
Another big update is that my work at Phorms finished up last Friday. It was a challenging, but rewarding year in terms of work. I learned a lot and will miss some of my kids and colleagues greatly. I gained an interesting perspective working in the classroom rather than in administration. And working in an international setting also taught me a lot. I’m not sure that teaching is where my future lies, but I love being part of a school community and am positive that education, in some form, is where I’ll end up career-wise.
We had a really fun end-of-year party for all of the Kita staff aboard a 3-hour boat cruise. The cruise took us around Tegelsee and we were able to bring our own wine and snacks aboard. It was a beautiful evening and a great way to remember the year.
All in all, Berlin in Summer is just an amazing place to be and we’ve been taking advantage of all that it has to offer. We finally fit our May date at the zoo in and had a great time wandering around one of the world’s top zoos. Almost all of the animals were out enjoying the sunshine which was great for us. Favorites included the elephants (always my favorites!), the wolf puppies chowing on a recently deceased chicken, the immense amount of monkeys and apes, the swimming hippos and the bears (both brown and polar). Plus we got to feed baby goats at only 10 cents a pop!
We’ve also been able to hit up some new bar and restaurants, catch up with friends, explore more of this amazing city and even get in some beach volleyball. Unfortunately last night I had to say good bye to one of my absolute favorite people and Berlin bestie, Irene. She is moving back to Australia to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor (such a smartie!). Hopefully we’ll get out there to visit her soon or she’ll hop across the Pacific. It’s the first of many sad goodbyes to come. Dave’s been spending much of his time working hard on his thesis, but is nearing the finish line. We have 6 more weeks in Europe before we head back to the States and we’re planning to make the most of the time we have left. We are embarking on a “final” European adventure at the end of July/beginning of August and are excited about exploring a few more countries out east. We’ll be flying into Croatia and then making our way around Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia before renting a car in southern Germany and making our way back north to Berlin. It should be an exciting trip and we can’t wait! It’s been a busy, but fun start to Summer!
Until next time…Tschussi!!