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It's been a little stormy lately

The past two weeks have been...pretty uneventful. A week ago Friday we went to Raymond's work's anniversary party. It was held at this bar on the rooftop of a building that is set up like a beach with sand and beach chairs and such. A little odd, but apparently a thing here. It was a lot of fun hanging out with his coworkers. Before we went Raymond was just like see - now I take you to fancy work parties :) We got there and you can see forever! It was maybe an 8 story building and that is high enough that there is very little above it. I was talking with a few coworkers significant others and they were asking how I liked it here. I said so far so good and they seemed shocked that I liked it and that we planned and wanted to move here. They were both German, and said that people here are really rude and not that friendly. Really I haven't had any issues - people try and talk to me a lot when I am out shopping and usually the German is beyond my grasp but they are very nice about it. Really I think it is a Portland/Seattle type thing. Portland is like super friendly people talk to you all the time like in line for coffee and such whereas in Seattle they don't really (which I prefer). It is not that they are not friendly, they are just not overly outwardly friendly like in Portland. I think that is like the southern cities in Germany - I think the people are more Portland and the people here in Berlin are more Seattle. I don't know - maybe I just haven't experienced it yet, but the people so far have been fine so....

We stayed out pretty late at the party so slept in then there was a vegan festival on Sat so we went down to check that out. Again I was very disappointed. It was a lot of tables with why go vegan papers which is not something I need seeing as I am vegan. Then there were a few food carts, but they were mostly the big vegan restaurants in Berlin which we go to often was just so uneventful and lame. The only thing that peaked my interest was some vegan paella which looked amazing, but was really bland and only tasted like salt. Another disappointment. However the Pirate Party was there so they are for veganism which makes me like them even more. I mean Pony Time and vegan? How do I sign up! Sunday was very nice out so we just hung out and had a lazy Sunday (Raymond's favorite).

Last week during the week we got a nice storm. Started around 9pm and was just pouring for hours. Lightning like crazy and thunder until sometime after 1am. The storms here can be a bit ridiculous, but I love it. I missed thunderstorms and it was pretty fun watching the storm all night.

Last weekend there was an art market which I was hoping would be better than the homemade market a few weeks ago. Luckily it was pretty great - lots of great art that I loved and I picked up a lot of cards. I almost got a new robot painting, but it was a little more than I wanted to spend (and I wasn't sure if I had it in my budget for the week). Maybe next time there is one I might get it...

Speaking of budget Raymond gets paid monthly and last month he got a lot less than he expected. We have always had a weekly budget for as long as I can remember and when we planned it out and with the same budget here we had just enough money for the month on Raymond's salary which is good. We were hoping the taxes wouldn't be so much and we would have more - some to save or spend on traveling until I get a job, but oh well. We budgeted the same amount as we did in Seattle for weekly food and whatever we want to do, but here it includes lunches and breakfasts during the week (we bought our own breakfast and lunch in Seattle). It is so great that things here are so cheap - I usually have money left over at the end of the week that I can then save to get bigger things I want (like an immersion blender). Yesterday Raymond found out that he will be getting paid lots more every month! They filed the paperwork stating we were married so apparently he gets less taxes taken out...which is crazy to me. Awesome for us, but not what I am used to. He thinks it is because we are married and I am not working yet so they give us lower taxes so we have more to live on. Amazing. And now we have plenty of extra money every month to go travel! I am pretty excited. Oh and it was retroactive so he was paid the extra money he should have gotten last month this month. So they immediately corrected the tax issue and gave us the extra money. I have to say I keep liking it more and more here!

As for how cheap things are here - we were out doing some grocery shopping last weekend and I got some more quinoa  and Raymond was with me (usually I go shopping during the week without him) and was just like wait - that bag of quinoa was only 2 Euro? Yes, yes it is. The same bag would have been like $8 in Seattle. Blows me away every time. Rice is super cheap - I love risotto but the fancy rice for it was always so expensive I rarely made it. Here it is super cheap. There are a few things that are more expensive (like peanut butter. 4 Euro for a tiny container of it), but most foods are ridiculously cheap.

After the art market on Sunday we decided to go check out some parks we hadn't been to on a round about way home.The first park had this big three level terrace structure at the one end. Up a flight of stairs there was an overgrown level with this statue - not sure what it.

Then on the top level there was a small playground and lots and lots of trees. The view above is from the top level - the big tree on the right side is blocking the huge field where there were lots of people playing soccer and various activities. It was a pretty nice park.

Then we stopped by a park with a lake that is not that far from our place, but I had been wanting to go check it out for a while. Raymond was not very confident that there would actually be water there - the park right behind our place shows a lake on google maps, but it really is just swampland. We rode up and there was a nice lake with mini-golf and boats to take out on the lake. We sat down on a bench for a break and a few minutes later I thought I felt a drop of rain then all of a sudden it is pouring and we are hiding under the trees trying not to get soaked. That is one thing about the weather here - it doesn't give you very much time before it starts pouring. Pretty much if you feel a drop of water you should find cover or get your umbrella out.

Alright let's see about some random things I have noticed and whatnot:

1) They have amazing potato chips here. The are like barbecue chips, but so much better (they are called either Pepper or Hungarian chips). Like I could eat a whole large bag by myself in one sitting. I have never been a huge chip fan. Every once and a while I would get some barbecue, maybe some corn chips with dips but usually when we would have a barbecue or something. I could really eat these chips here every day. I am not sure why they are so much better - they are super thin and not like super crunchy or anything, light flavor and just perfect. We eat them way too much

2) "Silly Germans, so trusting" That was a quote from Raymond last week. My friend had written me asking how safe it was here and I was saying pretty safe. It is kind of odd. Like we go out to eat and most places have seats outside. Some places you need to go in and order at the counter and I often see single people come set their purse or bag or whatever down on a table then just leave it there to go inside and order. Which is just.... crazy. Like leave your purse unattended on a table and it will still be there when you get back. Kind of crazy.

3) My mom asked if you have to go down to the center of town to find nice buildings. Not really - there are some up here by where we live. But Berlin is not a really beautiful architecture city. I think a lot of the buildings were destroyed and rebuilt and rebuilt so they are very simple and not too exciting. There are some buildings down by the center that the Russians built when they were in charge of that part of the city and they are these huge brown rectangles. Not fancy, no very pretty, just brown rectangles. There are some nice streets, and there is a lot of more modern buildings.


Suzannah Ashley said…
I will come eat all the chips!

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