Friday, December 10, 2010


Despite the fact that I woke up extremely late, fell flat on my a** on a patch of ice outside my door, and missed a tram causing me to be late for lunch with my lovely friend Marina, I couldn't help but feel incredibly joyful today. Maybe it was waking up to the sun shining high in the sky, or maybe it was the Christmas spirit in the air, maybe just feeling full of God's love... I don't know but I had a smile plastered to my face all day. This happens to me sometimes, just this feeling of pure joy out of absolutely nowhere, on completely mundane, random days where nothing special is going on, and I'm so thankful for it. Riding the bus down to the Karli, I had a perpetual grin on my lips, and this bubbly butterfly feeling in my belly, not out of nervousness but sheer happiness. On more than one occasion on that bus ride the thought "I love Germany" crossed my mind... and after that... "Maybe I never want to leave here."

Outside my window... the sun!

To be honest, the thought of living in Europe for the rest of my life is immensely appealing to me. It's something I'm pretty serious about, and the only things holding me back are my lack of a diploma (one more semester at home!) and the difficulty I might find in seeking employment here. I could definitely find work teaching English, so I'm not totally out of options, but that would pretty much negate my entire course of studies so far, which have focused on teaching visual arts.

Then of course, there's the fact that I would miss my family and friends so much. Obviously I've made many friends here in Leipzig and around Europe already, but it's not the same as the people back home, especially the ones I've spent my entire life with.

Anyway, there's time to figure things like that out. In the meantime, so far today was an exceptionally good day.

I met my Spanish friend Marina at Cafe Pushkin on the Karli, and ate a delicious apple pancake with cinnamon sugar for brunch, along with the required cup of black coffee. Man, if there's one thing I miss about home it's free coffee refills at restaurants. That does not exist here.

I had only been to Cafe Pushkin once before, and we sat outside so I didn't realize what a lovely cafe it is. Inside the walls are painted a warm, dull gold, the furniture is cozy and mismatched, everything has a comfortable, worn-in hominess and interesting art hangs on the walls. The food was delicious and relatively cheap. I definitely plan on returning and I'll be sure to take my guests from back home there when they come.

Marina's "sweet student" breakfast; single serve Nutella- cutest thing I've ever seen!

build-it-yourself breakfast

apple cinnamon pancake!

adorable menus

Pushkin decor

On the way home I was able to snap a bunch of shots, although by then the sun was blocked by the clouds so the beautiful glint of sun on snow from the earlier afternoon had turned to a dull gray.

An der Karli

Karl Leibkneckt Straße


I was probably trespassing to get this photo...

If I ever buy myself a guitar, it will be that minty color.

Love that little bus parked between the trees!

at the bus stop

Near my neighborhood

Phone box



Tonight is the Christmas party that I'm attending with Elli and Tracy and possibly Marina. Should be loads of fun. The bottle of Reisling I bought today at Norma pretty much ensures that.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Es Weihnachtet Sehr.

Winter hibernation has begun. Lately the pattern has been; wake up (at the last possible second,) go to school, come home, make tea, snuggle under the covers and immerse myself in internet. I've taken a break with the whole "I'm in Europe, I'll sleep when I'm dead" business and started wanting to constantly be in jammies, wrapped in blankets and drinking hot beverages. 

Which isn't to say I haven't been doing anything at all. In fact, the past week was pretty eventful and the upcoming weekend looks to be more of the same. 

Elli coerced me out of the house last week with the promise of hot glühwein and Weihnachten treats. We nommed on pommes mit majo and had a nice little spaziergang. The Christmas Market is in full swing, and it spreads all through the city center. Unfortunately I didn't get too many shots, due to the premature death of my camera's battery.

As evidenced from the photos below, Christmas (Wiehnacht) is NOT TAKEN LIGHTLY in Germany. IT'S A BIG FREAKING DEAL.


The tops of the Finnish Weihnachts Markt Tee Pee's are peeking up at the bottom of this shot

Just this past Monday Elli took me to see a Berlin-based electro-pop duo called I'm not a Band. The group consists of a boy and a girl and their electric violins. That's right, they BOTH play electric violin. Echt super. Here's a link to a clip of Monday's show at Werk II.

It's getting late and I actually need to get some sleep, I'm getting up early tomorrow. My friend Miri is going with me to the Auslandsamt in the morning to help me try to get an extension on my visa application, which needs to be done because otherwise I'm going to be illegal in two days! Ooops. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


Being that it's 1:25AM and I have yet to settle into sleep, I decided to peek beyond my most-likely-Ikea curtains and out the window. What I saw, to my complete lack of astonishment, was... SNOW. Still more snow. I don't think it's stopped since it started the day after Thanksgiving.  Naturally, I grabbed my camera.

Brezlauer Straße, 1:00,  zweite Dezember 2010 
I'm thankful for the quiet beauty the snow projects onto everything it touches. As of right now, deep in the still of night, it's untouched, sparkling in the orange gleam of street lamps. I know when I wake up in the morning (ok, who am I trying to kid?) When I wake up in the afternoon, the magic will have all but gone, snow shoveled up to reveal black tar sidewalks, car tracks brown in the street. But for now I have this diamond glow, and the hush the insulation of snow casts on the street, dampening all the sounds I would expect to hear.

My Jack'o'Lantern's rotted remains.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Sometimes I wonder, if there were a Zombie Apocalypse, would my faith in God become stronger or weaker?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Leipzig Schnee

The snow started before I woke up this morning and it hasn't stopped yet. Early on I made an attempt to go in to the city for class, but after freezing at the Straßenbahnhaltestelle (tram stop) for over a half hour I decided to give up and go back inside to curl up with a cup of coffee and a Mad Men marathon. At about 2pm the impetus came to get myself out of bed in the form of a sick friend who asked me to deliver some medicine to her. It was easy to get motivated when I knew there was something useful I could do for a friend, so I changed out of my comfy sweats once again and made sure to bring my camera along to capture some of the ongoing snowstorm.

Now I'm back home, again snug in my bed and ready to resume the Mad Men marathon. Well, that is, just as soon as I get back into those sweatpants...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Turkey times two...

Lucky me, I'm not even in the United States and I got to celebrate two Thanksgiving Days!
Erin's spread...
Thanksgiving round one was held at Erin's apartment. She really went all out, kudos to her! I believe her quote when I remarked on how it would be a very traditional Thanksgiving was "Go big or go home!" I love that girl.

There must have been about 15 of us crammed into her hallway, and there was delicious food and lots (and lots, and lots) of wine to share. We even streamed the Macy's parade, which, because of the time difference, was on while we prepared dinner.

The food was amazing; Jose lovingly prepared the turkey, Kyle made delicious stuffing, Tracy supplied the pumpkin pie... it really was as if we weren't 5,000 miles from home. I think all of us Americans felt really comforted by acting out the tradition, and the Germans and Brits who attended got to experience a real American Thanksgiving; alcohol-fueled disfunction included.

Later that night Elli and I went to Ilses Erika, an indie dance club in Connewitz, and spent half the time outside playing in the freshly falling snow. It reminded me a lot of a night I spent in Toronto many moons ago with my friend Gretchen.

I hosted Thanksgiving round two for my German "sister" Annika on Saturday, and invited some friends from school as well. I spent all day cooking and listening to Christmas music. I was in my element, and it felt absolutely divine. I made everything from scratch, even the pie dough and the vegetable stock for the turkey. It was a well-recieved effort, too.

festive, right?


your humble narrator, and a crispy brown bird.

I think the girls all really enjoyed the food, and the Americans among us had a good time stumbling over our German. We even played a drinking game, "Never have I ever..." auf Deutsch. 

After the guests left, Annika and I watched Friendship as we cleared up the kitchen. It was such an adorable movie, a new favorite of mine, auf jeden Fall. In it, two young guys from East Germany travel to the US immediately after the fall of the Berlin wall, and heartwarming high jinx ensue. Annika also showed me another really cool movie this weekend called Berlin Calling. That one was about an electronic artist struggling with drug addiction, which sounds really heavy but there were some pretty funny moments as well.

I spent most of today tidying up around the flat after sending Annika off to Madgeburg on the train. I'm almost completely caught up on Mad Men, which feels like an accomplishment. I should really be doing homework though. Time to say Auf Wiedersehen! for now.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

1,000 plus!

First off, I have to say I am well pleased... the blog has reached 1,000+ hits! Thanks for looking! Please don't be shy... leave me a comment, let me know who you are and/or what you think. I truly do appreciate you taking time to stop by here.

The past few days have been really super-spectacular. I think I'll start with today and work backwards.

I had my first exam this afternoon... Grammar. Ugggh. I think it went pretty well, though, on the whole. After class I walked over to the train station (inside of which is a massive shopping center) and picked up a bottle of almond syrup and a milk frother, in order to be able to make myself London Fogs a la my lovely friend Jim's favorite Starbucks bevvie. Once home and with said beverage created (unfortunately there's a lot of room for improvement in my technique,) I settled down into a Gmail phone chat with my mom and type up this here blog. An excellent way to spend a chilly evening.

Yesterday I just hung about the apartment, doing not-much-of-anything all day until my GDR photography class. After that was over Tracy and I decided to try this place near the Universität called Maza Pita for dinner- excellent find on her part, it was DEEEELISH. I got a maza plate with baba ganoush, hummus, and lebneh. Yum.  I luuuuurve Mediterranean food.

After dinner Tracy, Melinda and I walked over to Petersbogen to see HARRY POTTER und der Heilige der Todes (or whatever the heck it's called in German.) and it was maaaagnificent.

I was so, so impressed with the film. It was definitely too scary for kids (I was thinking of the Reading clan the whole time,) and there were some pretty randy moments too, but on the whole it was incredible. Thankfully we waited to watch it in English, because it would have lost so much without the original voices of the actors. I'm really not much for over-dubbed films.

Which, since we're moving backwards, brings us to the weekend, happily spent split between my two Berlinerin friends Peggy and Kristy. I had a blast, as I always do in Berlin with such wonderful friends and exciting surroundings. Friday I walked around the city by myself for hours, snapping a million photos and generally being a tourist.


Brandenburger Tor
 I picked up a Christmas gift for my baby bro and took in the Color Fields exhibit at Deutsche Guggenheim.

Stella @ Berlin Guggenheim

After a thoroughly satisfying Stadtrundfährt (city tour) I met Kristy around 23.00 at Warschauerstraße and we began our adventures in Kreuzberg, starting off after Berliner (donuts) at our favorite watering hole, Fuchsbau. However, it ended up being much too crowded and not as appealing a scene as our last visit there, so we ventured across the street where we encountered a fantastic DJ spinning some incredible 90's R&B and HipHop and loads of people dancing. It was the perfect spot to start off our night.

The DJ in this bar was so spot on.

Kristy as Jumpin' Jack Flash...

Friday night lasted well into Saturday morning with Kristy and her friends, "the Danish boys," as she refers to them, and a couple of their breathtaking girlfriends at a pub called "ä" in Neukölln.

Danish specimen.
I finally flopped into bed around 7am at Peggy's. I am so lucky to have the amazing friends that I do! There aren't many people as hospitable as the divine Ms. Peg.

Kaffee und Blümen
When I finally woke up in the afternoon, Peggy made some coffee and we sat and had a really nice chat. She's such a sweet and remarkably intelligent person. I'm so grateful to have been introduced to her (thanks Abby!)

Later on Saturday I met up with Elli (a Leipzig friend) and her buddy Jonas at the Warschauerstraße Ubahn station. We had a heiße Schokolade together inside a cafe as an anti-fascist/anit-Nazi demonstration marched by.

Heiße Schokolade mit Sahne
 I ran outside with my camera and made myself a right fool in the name of journalism, jumping up on a chair and taking photos as the crowd marched by chanting and blaring a White Stripes song (maybe it was Icky Thump? I don't remember...) from a huge set of speakers on a truck.

Anti-Fascism march through Friedrichshain
The three of us parted ways soon after finishing our hot chocolates, as Elli was off to see Interpol after having interviewed the band for earlier in the day.

Alone again, I headed further into Friedrichshain down Simon-Dach Straße and was greeted by Kristy in front of her local cafe, DachKammer. It was one of those lovely, warm, homey sort of places, and we snuggled down for a chat in an antique couch.

DK, Kristy's local coffee shop
After Kristy finished her cappucino we headed to her apartment and acted like complete and utter girls, quatschen (chatting), cooking, listening to music and dying Kristy's hair an intense shade of copper, which I was thrilled to do for her. She was so happy with the results!

We took it easy Saturday night, sticking mostly to Kristy's Friedrichshain nabe and some nearby spots in Kreuzberg, getting home around 3am desperate for pommes mit majo (french fries with mayonnaise,) as the nearby döner place was fresh out. Ever resourceful, Kristy sliced up some potatoes and popped them in the oven, and I whipped up some homemade mayo.

Don't have any mayonnaise? Whip up some homemade at 3:30 AM! 
Sated, we went to sleep with intentions of rising early for the Mauerpark Flöhmarkt (flea market,) and early we did rise, to a bright, crisp sunny Berlin Mittag (Yes. Waking up at noon is early.) We got ourselves pretty and headed out to do some filming for her upcoming documentary, and captured a few shots she'd been wanting to film. After the "work" was done, we took the Straßenbahn to Mauerpark, hoping for the famous Mauerpark Karaoke.

The crowd mourns the lack of Karaoke... or maybe that was just me.

Unfortunately it wasn't going on, probably due to the onset of winter, so instead we frittered away what short amount of daylight there was in a cozy log cabin in the middle of Mauerpark.

Log cabin in Mauerpark.
Kristy, her friend Marie and Marie's Spanish friend and I spent the whole evening drinking Glühwein, which is warm mulled wine. It's called "glow wine" I suppose because of the lovely glowing feeling it gives! Half of mine and Kristy's time was spent making eyes across the table at a group of gorgeous German boys, of which there is no shortage in Berlin.

I was trying to move backwards through this post but I did the weekend in chronological order, so it's with hearty apologies that I skip back to Thursday.

I met my friend Elli in Connewitzer Kreuz here in Leipzig and we headed off to Conne Island where the British band Blood Red Shoes were playing. The plan was, Elli would interview the band and I would be her photographer. I was/am so grateful for that experience! It was so much fun. I hadn't heard of the band before Elli invited me to the show, and I'm happy to report that they were just as great as Elli said they'd be. We met Laura, the guitarist/singer, before the show and Elli conducted an interview with her. I sat at the table adjacent them and snapped a few shots but mostly just felt sort of awkward and intrusive, and tried to be very quiet and not interrupt. I got to take a few shots of Laura and her bandmate Steve.

Steve and Laura
The band is comprised of just the two of them, they both sing and Steve plays drums, though during the encore of the show they did switch off and showcase how multi-talented they both are! During the show I was granted access to the photo pit, but being an ABSOLUTE amateur, I didn't realize photographers could only be in the pit for the first three songs of the set, and so I missed my chance. I still did get some first class shots from my spot in the crowd, using's Nikon D60. You can read (if you can read German) Elli's interview with Laura of Blood Red Shoes here. I'm really hoping to be able to collaborate more with Elli as her photographer- it was an absolute blast!

Straight rocking.
Laura shreds.

After the show we hung out with Steve, whose exuberant energy and open, positive attitude was remarkable to watch. The night ended, as ever, with POMMES MIT MAJO! Oh, and lots more wine back at Elli's house.

As for the upcoming week, tomorrow Tracy and I plan on taking in Menomena at Skala here in Leipzig. I'll happily report on the show if we end up going. Of course, Thursday is Thanksgiving so the Americans here are of course going to put out all the stops for a delicious meal and share with our British and German buddies. I can't wait for the parade!

Well, that's all for now. Thanks again for reading. I can't believe it, more than 1,000 hits! Yay! V. cool. Hope you keep coming back.