prague. it was the city of my choice to visit. my grandmother is czech, i have a beautiful photograph of her on the boat at ellis island. while we didn’t have the time or car to go to bruno where she was from, i was excited to see the republic.
given that most everywhere in berlin, people are speaking english, signs are in english, and if they’re in german, the letter structure is the same, it didn’t seem all that foreign, but as soon as we crossed the czech border, it was clear that we were in an unfamiliar land. there are still large swaths of prague that scream “communist block” with is very cool. mostly.
prague is a strange, strange land. it’s beautiful, i have driven the mister insane with all my “oooooh, it’s so pretty,” but it is soooo touristy that it’s insane. i’ve spent my time in tourist traps, hell, i grew up in washington d.c., and live in san francisco, but i have never in all my days seen the likes of prague. strangely though, it was either insane tourist den, swarovski crystal/diesel jeans or plastic shoes and off brand russian shampoo. we stayed in a off brand area in a super great, highly recommended hostel.
i’m am part of the large large world of diaspora. while i was born and raised in the united states, i have been well immersed in the iranian world since i popped out with a full head [and if i’m honest, back] of black hair. after moving to vermont from living in cities all my life, cities that have had plenty of iranians, man oh man do i miss iranian restaurants.
so, arriving in berlin, a city with many a mono-brow, i was ready & rearing to find a delicious iranian restaurant. while eddie was off in kassel, i mentioned this to marcus and cristina, they decided we should go downstairs and ask their iranian neighboors, because of course, they have iranian neighbors. we knocked on the door, and a woman about our age answered in her jammies. she said she was sorry that she couldn’t invite us in, [marcus and cristina were dying to see the renovations they had made to the apartment] but that she was studying for an exam, her brother was napping and her mother was cooking dinner. but, she promised to send marcus an email with some restaurant ideas for us. we tromped back upstairs and were getting our dinner ready when the doorbell rang. it was mahshid, the downstairs neighbor with a sheepish smile, “my mom yelled at me because there was an iranian at the door and i didn’t invite her in,” she said while handing over an amazingly aromatic plate of rice and kabob that her mother had made. she invited us over for lunch the following saturday and we gladly accepted. marcus and cristina were amused, but i was not surprised, i shrugged my shoulders, “it’s an iranian thing.”
so, while i don’t have any photos of the lunch [i thought it would be strange to document a meeting with perfect strangers], i can tell you that we had a lovely time. the food was great, our hosts were wonderful, kind, and funny. it was nice to have a saturday iranian lunch once again. also, i learned that marcus is ridiculous in his language abilities. he was throwing out farsi phrases by the end of a two hour lunch at an alarming rate.
saturday night was a raucous. it was opening night of the euro-cup. we four walked to an outdoor showing of the game.
apparently it’s only with the german soccer teams’ success in the last world cup that the display of german flags, and singing of the national anthem has become acceptable. i get the impression that it’s only around soccer though.
eddie trained off to kassel today for three days, leaving me to hang out with marcus and christina, who are rad. during the day i ran around by myself or with eliza, checking out fabric shops, shoes, and eating at risotto restaurants for lunch. at night we three cozied up and watched modern family on dvd. good life.
the day always starts with a little braun.
ah jet lag. our friend mariana once came to visit us in san francisco with her awesome, amazing, wonderous, and best kid martina, age 4 at the time. the little one was sitting on the floor of our apartment when she looked up and said to her mom, “mama, i feel like huh,” accompanied by a deep sigh and shoulder shrugs. i think she nailed it.
after falling asleep at a good and reasonable 11:00pm, both the mister and i popped awake at 4am along with the sun. [woah germany, woah] so, we did the only reasonable thing, played boggle till 5:30 and then got up again around 11. score.
we commenced to run around berlin. oh the glories of a city:
ran into a classmate of mine from cca, and friend of ours from the college. of course.
the evening culminated in another trip to the soho house were we got massages and then traipsed down the road to côcô, the best báhn mí ever.
great first day, even if eddie walked me around the city till i was ready to cry from tired.
these images were taken at tacheles, an artist occupied building in central berlin. when the wall fell there were boat loads of empty buildings that were purchased, but left empty. artists, [and others i assume], began squatting in them in the early 90’s. the owners allowed them to stay with the understanding that it won’t last forever. the owner this “art collective” building now wants to take back possession. there is a movement to try and keep it an artists occupied space.
paper monument in berlin!!!!!!!!!!!! rock on with your bad self roger white.
sorry for the loooong delay. i lost the camera cord for a while there…
but on with the story. as anyone who knows me can attest, i h.a.t.e. flying. it freaks me out. my dearest and most darling of husbands, found us a great deal on our summer time europe tickets, the only hitch being, they involve a layover, and one of them is 22 hours. [more on that later] i have tried to explain to him that direct flights are the only way to get me someplace, and that 22 hours is really just going to needlessly prolong the agony for both us, but he persevered and i agreed to go.
the night before we left from newark there were epic thunderstorm, house shaking, flash bulb explosions. the mister kindly stayed up late with me playing boggle to try and distract me. also, i took lots of xanax.
but, we made it. obviously. i won’t say there weren’t tears in amsterdam, threats of not getting on the connecting flight, but we touched down in a grey, drizzly, dreary berlin. I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i got to walk down a flight of stairs onto the tarmac, which was pretty cool, and i could appreciate once we landed. alive. in berlin. as our friend marcus said upon our arrival, “let’s just agree that you didn’t come to germany for the weather.”
after driving us home [his home, our home away from home], the four of sat down for a delicious breakfast of egg scramble, nutella toast, strawberries. the rest of the day is a hazy blur, culminating in our going to the soho house berlin for dinner, being served by “the hottest man alive” [so dubbed by eddie, and agreed upon by us ladies]