Our Canadian Thanksgiving

“Nothing is more honorable than a grateful heart.”

– Seneca

dsc08446There is a scene from Forrest Gump I think about often. Jenny, Forrest’s long time friend and love interest, comes home after being away for years. Her exhaustion overwhelms her and she sleeps for days. Being home with Forrest gives her a sense of stability and serenity – a place to call home.

My going home to Toronto for Canadian Thanksgiving was nothing like that. There are times I long for that calm that comes with coming home, but I realize this is not my reality. Movies are made for wishful thinking.

Looking out the window along the descent and finally feeling the landing gear touch the tarmac brought tears to my eyes. I don’t exactly know why, but it did. I pulled out the kleenex. The truth is, coming home is always bittersweet. As Canadian artists, Barenaked Ladies, sing, “Am I the only one?”

My family is tight-knit and a source of joy. They are always jovial and talkative. Okay, loud is probably a better adjective. After being away for many years, I realize how sensitive I am to volume. This is the culture and I suppose over time, I have forgotten. I now know that when I return again, I must come prepared. Ear plugs. In my case, one ear plug – haha.

I have come to accept that when we visit, even if we try to sneak in, people have a way of finding out. They all want to eat our visit away, hopping from home to restaurant to more homes where we are constantly fed. There is a saying that Filipinos don’t ask, “how are you?” as you walk through the door; rather, they ask, “have you eaten?”

“Kakain na”- let’s eat. Even when you refuse because you’ve already moved your belt buckle a notch or two, food is still presented in front of you. “No, thank you” is often ignored. I think I gained five pounds. This is the Filipino spirit. I wouldn’t expect it any other way.img_0649-1I am loving my mom’s natural hair color and my aunties are forever adorable! img_0684My Aunt Zuzu woke up very early and prepared a delicious Filipino lunch including fish caught by her cottage.img_0655-1We took a two hour drive to Barrie (because we got slightly lost) to visit my brother and wife at Tail Blazers, then headed to Swiss Chalet. Can it get more Canadian than that? dsc08411

dsc08421So much food at Congee Queen.dsc08422At Lucullus Bakers in downtown Markham where European and Asian desserts collide. What a treat!dsc08428Odd didn’t want to go in the bouncy barn at Whittamore’s Farmsdsc08440…so we admired the bounty of fresh produce instead. Beautiful brussels sprouts!img_0657Hockey is to Canadians as football is to Americans.img_0662

img_0667-1After prayer, we gathered for the big feast. Always grateful for food and family…let’s eat!

Happy Thanksgiving.

 

 

Through a Glass Window

“Give the ones you love

wings to fly,

roots to come back,

and reasons to stay.”

–  Dalai Lama

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There are defining moments and sometimes they happen at the local Walmart. What? Really? Could I have picked a nicer image – like a blossoming garden or magnificent mountain top, perhaps? Nope, not me. When you find tears welling up by the bread aisle because the sight of honey wheat bread brings back memories of the lil’ munchkins making PB & J, you know it’s time to get a grip.

I was warned many years ago, once all the children leave the nest, “the silence is deafening.” I never would have believed it. But now I have felt it.

The last month with Karina at home felt like she had already left. She would stay out, maximizing every waking moment, with her friends. It was actually okay because it prepared me. Or so I thought. I didn’t think I would be sad because I could tell she was ready to go. After dropping her off at college on the West coast this past weekend, I woke up to an empty room. I laid quietly at the foot of her bed, wondering where that adorable “hammy” toddler went. I sifted through her memory books with a bag of mixed emotions. Sigh.

I completely understand what my in-laws feel every time they drop us off at the airport. They are the ones that squeeze every second with us before boarding the plane, tear-stricken faces pasted against the glass window. (This is, of course, when they allowed all guests through security). I used to think it was bizarre – the letting go – but now I get a glimpse of what they see. It’s not their 47 year old son they miss, it’s that little boy they long for.

In silence, I am more aware of their absence and wish I had more moments with the three kids swinging at the park or playing in the sandbox. I miss their beautiful innocence and long for their bumbling laughter. Yet, I know it’s time to let go, letting them find their own happiness even if it means, sometimes, watching through a glass window.

What is Home?

“Home is not a place, it’s a feeling.”

– Ceclia Ahern

IMG_0221During our time in Berlin, we dreaded the question, “Where are you from?” We never knew quite what to say. We usually turned to each other and said the same answer in our rehearsed tone. “Well, he’s from…she’s from…but we lived in…and then in…now we’re…” The last night in Berlin, our waitress asked. We responded with our standard answer. She asked again, “So where is your heart then?” As I come back to what is most familiar, I must admit the good state of Texas feels like “home”. The warm, genuine welcome from friends makes it feel like home.

My first two weeks back were filled with a series of emotions – denial, excitement, sadness. In my third week, I am struggling with bouts of ambivalence but mainly am heading towards acceptance. Wisdom teaches me “everything in due time.”

We actually made a detour after leaving Berlin and spent a month in Odd’s hometown for a month. We weren’t quite sure where we were moving at that point but that is another story in itself. Anyway, the story I want to share is what I learned while trekking through the mountain valley in Norway.IMG_0233For months or maybe even years, Odd has been raving about visiting three cabins in Jøldalen. “We can hike from one cabin to another in three days”, he would say. However, since our time was short, we chose to go to only one and that cabin was the shortest distance from the parking lot. Ha! It was 4.5 km. We saw blistered feet from other hikers trekking 6 hours, 24 km, from the other cabins. Our hike was a piece of cake in comparison. IMG_0195The hike was easy and the scenery was beautiful. We were lucky because this summer has been the best summer I have ever experienced in Norway. Sun, light rain and warmer weather for Norwegian standards were a welcome change.IMG_0185 (1)However, once we arrived at Jøldalshytta, overlooking the lake, I felt anxiety in the pit of my stomach. I felt very much a stranger. To be honest, I had never felt so awkward in my life! And let me tell you, I pretty much always feel awkward. When we visit Odd’s family, we stay in their neighborhood and I feel very safe and loved. This time, it was everything I dreaded. The color of my skin, the slant of my eyes and my lack of confidence in using the Norwegian language, without my mother-in-law by my side, left me feeling less than.

At dinner, it was a full house with over 80 guests and four community tables. Sodd, a traditional soup from the region made with mutton, potatoes and carrots, was served family style. We had forgotten to ask for a vegetarian option. Fortunately, they served boiled potatoes on the side. I had one little potato for dinner and a lot of water. Later I learned this was my $37 potato. It was delicious!

It was quiet. Silence is good, no doubt, but it was more than that. I tried to make conversation with the ladies beside me. One girl spoke but I could tell she was not too interested in maintaining a conversation. It was a feeling that made me uneasy. Later, I was reminded that Norwegians simple don’t speak much during dinner. Besides, nothing can compare to my Filipino upbringing or the southern hospitality I’ve known these last 19 years of my life.

On a lighter note, I tried to limit my intake. I had forgotten, though, and drank a lot of water during dinner so the restroom was the first place I headed after dinner. I have done my share of camping but…this was an outhouse! Flies. Mosquitoes. Buzzzzz. It was a clean’ish outhouse (as far as outhouses go) but it was still an outhouse! That was it. It was the first time I put my foot down and said, “I want to leave.” Actually I don’t think the words came out. I merely sulked.IMG_0223

IMG_0229Hard to sulk with views like this.
IMG_0203As soon as we decided to leave, I skipped all the way back to the parking lot. IMG_0212With our luck, Odd’s phone died. That didn’t stop me. I was determined to walk home even if it took us until 6 am. We are in the land of the midnight sun after all. IMG_0200So once I got coverage on my phone, my heart jumped and did cartwheels for joy! I had never been soooooo happy to see Odd’s parents come get us. Yes I felt like a child. I hugged Odd’s parents extra hard that night. I’m sure I talked their ears off too, certain they didn’t understand a word I said. I vowed never to complain about anything EVER again. Now I understand, “home is where you hang your heart.”

 

 

Ugh – This is it!

“But you’ll never see the end of the road

While you’re traveling with me

Hey now, hey now

Don’t dream it’s over…”

– Crowded House, Don’t Dream It’s Over

Before we left Dallas almost two years ago, my friend, Amy, asked me to start a blog. In shyness, I refused. But the more I thought of it, the more I realized what a nice idea it would be to share my experiences with friends, family and anyone else who wanted to listen.

It has always been a childhood dream of mine to live in Europe. Germany did not ever cross my mind but I suppose we take what is given and adapt to the circumstances (even if I had to wait until my mid forties – proving it’s never too late). I cannot complain. I remain grateful for the opportunity to live in Berlin and am forever humbled by my experiences. It has been a very chaotic few weeks and apologize for the frenetic energy either through my writing mistakes or mild tantrums in person. (Yes some days are like that!) I am now able to take a deep breath and relax as we head to the airport. Sighhhh…IMG_9579Karina graduated recently and the Secondary School principal made a speech detailing 5 things to take away. He chose 5 because most people can only retain 5 points…funny thing is I only remembered two. I had to ask Odd and Karina to see what they remembered. Hopefully, she carries his advice as she ventures onto new beginnings. (I realize this is not her graduation ceremony but this was actually taken on the same day. Look how lovely the light shines as she arrives at Abi Ball. If you haven’t noticed, I like sunlight.)

  1. Be kind. It costs nothing.
  2. Time goes fast…but it is also a long life so make sure you enjoy what you do!
  3. This is a quote he favors, “whether you believe you can do something or not, you’re absolutely right.” – Henry Ford
  4. You will get advice from all kinds of people including your parents. Listen to them. It’s up to you to take it or leave it but remember they are telling you for a reason. They might actually know something.
  5. Make good choices.

Inspired by the principal and graduating speakers, the three of us sat down together and made a list of 5 things we will miss about this city. 5 seems to be the magic number of the day. So here goes in no particular order:

1. The Architecture – both the old and the newIMG_9648.JPG2. Accessibility – walking distance to cafés and the great transportation systems like the S/U Bahn and DriveNow cars.IMG_96083. Greenery – the towering trees all around the city and potted flowers on balconiesIMG_9251.jpg4. The endless rhythm of a big city – including eating (say yes to desserts!)
20160612_1603555. Friendships made – as my son, Stian, says, “it’s not so much the city as the people I miss”. I will certainly miss these amazing friends who had me at “hello” at a biergarten while apartment hunting two years ago.
IMG_9613And the librarians and volunteers who made my second year much more purposeful and enjoyable. (Sorry there are some people missing from the photo that I will miss too.) What an incredible team – thank you!

Can you believe this is my 101st post? We made it together! Thank you for following my blog or taking the time to stop in for a little read. I hope you were slightly entertained. In case you’re in the position of changing cities/countries, here are some things I wish I knew sooner:

  1. Make friends early.
  2. Be of service and smile often.
  3. Stay positive, creative and grateful.
  4. Let go and learn to ask for help.
  5. Embrace every experience – everything will be okay because in the end, it always is.

“Life is what you make it so make the best of it.”

– Shay Anthony

FullSizeRenderI took my last big bear hug in the rain last night. Ugh. I’m trying sooo hard not to be sad.

Okay my last heartfelt thank you for delighting in a lil’ speck of sunshine.

With much love and gratitude from The Big B,

Vernie

Iceland – Brrr and Beautiful!

“You are the sky ~

Everything else is just the weather.”

– Pema Chodron

DSC08059When I first told people we decided to take a trip to Iceland, their reaction was always, “why?” It’s not everyone’s top choice but for some reason, it has always been Odd’s. Now we can finally cross it off his bucket list.

We spent 4 days last weekend there. It is definitely not for everyone. After experiencing 25+ degrees Celsius in Berlin, it was hard to pull out our winter gear and set north for bitter weather. I cursed once that first bone chilling wind ripped through me, but soon I realized I couldn’t change weather. Kelly Clarkson is right. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!”

What really helped were the friendly people like our taxi driver who told us his family moved from Trondheim, Norway (that’s Odd’s hometown) in the 1600’s.DSC07721

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DSC07723Or maybe it was the helpful café owner by The Fisherman’s Village who told us about leaving and moving back to Iceland to be closer to family. Apparently many people come from neighboring cities to taste his wife’s Tomato Soup. Karina agreed it was comforting on a cold rainy day.DSC07838.jpg

DSC07715.jpgThis is Hlid Fisherman’s Village where we stayed one night. It is on the tip of the coast and very Norwegian-esque with only a few rooms and thatched rooftops. It is also a short walk to Álftanes Kaffi on a good day.IMG_9393.jpgOr maybe it’s the lure of The Blue Lagoon. Yes it’s next to a power plant and yes the smell of sulphur is a bit unsettling, but it is an experience one must definitely try if you’re heading to Iceland.DSC07937Thumbs up to enjoying it despite the cold wind and rain. I think it actually made it more memorable! While we applied our silica mud mask, the lifeguards were wrapped in parkas, scarves and goggles to shield their eyes. Imagine that!DSC07959Our “end-of-Berlin-experience” celebration included dinner at Lava Restaurant.DSC08182.jpgTo be honest, I rather preferred The Secret Lagoon in the village of Fludir. It’s so secret we couldn’t find signs to get there. Eventually we asked and I’m glad. With the birds chirping and the wind ever-so-quiet, it was a much more pleasant experience.DSC08076The Bridge Between Continents  where the tetonic plates meet and are known to move at a rate of 2 cm per year. Odd is standing closer to the Eurasian plate and Karina is on the North American plate (or maybe I have it backwards?). Karina found the sand to be warm to walk on. How amazing is Earth?!IMG_9496.jpgThe Great Geysir bubbling in action.DSC07769Staying positive despite all the rain at Seljalandsfoss.DSC08090At Gunnuhver, we stood watching mud pools of geothermal activity.
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DSC08101The highlight for me was actually the water crashing against the rocky shores at Reykjanes Peninsula. It was here I realized how strong the people of Iceland (or any cold climate nation) must be to weather such harsh conditions. I am amazed at how, despite their economic and volcanic history, the citizens remain friendly and hopeful for the future of their country.

IMG_9475.jpgWe stopped often to say hello to the sheep and horses scattered throughout the land. DSC07666

DSC07664So very beautiful and friendly.

DSC08024.jpgOh and I almost forgot to mention that an International parade of some sort came through Reykjavik’s shopping street.DSC08035.jpgCan you believe they have a Filipino-Icelandic community? Odd counted 20 Filipinos in the parade. I think I have only seen 2 in Berlin at a time and they were my cousins or parents – ha!IMG_9396.jpgWhat I am most impressed with was how rugged, untamed and uninhabited the land is.  Volcanic rock, moss in some areas and more fertile land in others. Despite the lack of sunshine and wet weather, I am very grateful for these experiences. I may not understand it all, but I do appreciate the natural beauty of the land and the simple ways people live, love and survive. With each new visit, I learn. Four days was not enough and hope to return some day – hopefully, in warmer weather. One can dream…

 

 

Places I Will Remember

There are places I remember
All my life though some have changed…

– The Beatles

IMG_9335.jpgMy lovely cousins from Canada decided to take a last minute weekend trip to visit us in our final few weeks in Berlin. Since they had already visited us during the earlier part of our move, we decided to bypass the tourist attractions like:  The Berlin Wall, Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, Museum Island, Potsdamerplatz and Ku’damm. So much still to see and do…

Four days is not enough. However, we squeezed in as much as we possibly could in this short span of time. So after an early afternoon arrival, we had lunch at home then took a stroll to Schloßstrasse.


Fresh baked bread, delicious desserts and coffee at Cafe Baier. A lovely hideaway on the second floor that includes a courtyard patio along the busy shopping streets of Schloßstrasse.

DSC07510.jpgPizza and wine at Rüdesheimerplatz where we sense the meaning of community at the Rheingauer Weinbrunnen. I happen to agree that this is one of Berlin’s best kept secrets. DSC07548Between qualifying races at the Formula E, we stopped for lunch at Cecconi’s under The SoHo House.IMG_9355.jpgWe couldn’t believe how good the lighting was.DSC07553Karina ordered some gnocchi and I had the eggplant parmigiana. DSC07552Don’t you love the copper serving dishes? DSC07558Profiteroles with pistachio ice cream served with chocolate sauce on the side.DSC07564We watched the ePrix Berlin or the electric version of Formula 1 also known as Formula E at Aleksanderplatz (former East Berlin). 48 laps with what sounds like Star Wars sound effects. It was quite exciting as they changed cars once the battery ran out. I giggled as the drivers tip toed ever-so-delicately into the next car because as we know, there is no margin for error, every millisecond counts.DSC07523And because it was so hot, we had to try the handmade Paletas fruit-sicles. All fruit and oh so yummy! I had the Mango Coconut, Lani had the Blueberry Cheesecake, Shirley had the Cucumber Lemon and Karina had the Raspberry Vanilla. Odd had beer.DSC07591We headed to Das Café in der Gartenakademie in Dahlem for Sunday Brunch. Karina swears it’s the best brunch she’s had! Must be the company. Smiley face.DSC07593Our amazing friends, Jörg and Doreen hosted a casual BBQ dinner at their home. They live somewhat in the forest so no driving street to get to their house. A group of soccer/football players ran past as we made our way. How exciting!DSC07616Shirley is thrilled to find something in common with Hanne and Nils.DSC07617I suppose the men found something in common too.DSC07609Shirley is adorable and loves to pose here with a bowl of Japanese Noodle Salad. By the way, Lani could not stop raving how good it tasted. It was a group effort to make and we all know, everything tastes better when it’s made with love, right? DSC07610Odd with the Thai Chili sausage while Karina and I enjoyed the haloumi Jörg grilled for us. It always tastes better over a charcoal grill, doesn’t it?DSC07626The Rhubarb Crumble dessert that Hanne made with spelt, almonds and cinnamon was a hit! DSC07585A shopping trip at Hackescher Markt in Mitte is always fun.IMG_9358Soaking in our last few moments with interesting artwork around the city.

To be honest, even if we did a lot of eating out at nice restaurants (which is always a treat), I rather enjoy the quieter moments with my cousins in our cozy and humble abode. In these moments, the conversations become more real and special. That is what I treasure. And for some reason, these moments were always in the kitchen. DSC07588Shirley made us a late night pasta meal with garlic, shallots, white wine, tomatoes, spinach and parsley. Oh sooooo good.DSC07635Lani showed me how to make ratatouille. My new favorite. Yummm.

We sure did a lot in four days. Thank you for the memories, lovelies. You gals definitely make the world a better place.

If we had more time, I would have liked to have shown them other restaurants too. I guess we like to eat. If you plan to visit or live in Berlin, here are a few of our favorite restaurants (in no particular order):

Café am Neuen See – Restaurant and Biergarten in Tiergarten (I’m a poet).

Klunker Kranich in Kreuzberg for a panaromic view of the city.

Good Time Grill by Adenauerplatz – before becoming vegetarians, we really enjoyed the crispy duck.

Buddha Haus in Schöneberg – Tibet, Nepal, Thai cuisine; Momos in the middle picture.

IMG_8516Royals & Rice in Mitte – Rice Bar & Cafe; pictured is the Banh Bao Burger Mass Appeal mit Tofu – marinated tofu burger topped with crispy fresh veggies, avocado and cilantro. Karina loves the Woked Udon Noodle with Grilled Avocado. They have a great Asian menu and Odd particularly likes the ambiance in the evening.

Windburger – popular burger restaurant in Charlottenburg; they offer haloumi burger too. One of Karina’s favorite burger places to go with her friends.

IMG_8972.JPGShiso Burger in Mitte – this place is always busy and burgers are served in bamboo steamers.

Bun Bao in Prenzlauerberg – burgers are served in steamed bao buns and is, coincedentally, directly across from Anna Blume. I love the fun names for their burgers:  “Saigon Calling – Pimp My Shrimp” or “Tokyo Sunrise – Tuna Me On” or “Vegan Lovers – Bean Me Up, Scotty”. Sooo clever, right?

Anna Blume in Prenzlauerberg – I am in love with their 3 Tier Breakfast and assortment of cakes. Karina can’t get enough of their Chocolate Cake.

Neni by Bikini Berlin – where “life is beautiful”; reservations are necessary.

KaDeWe – Wintergarten (top floor) has a large selection of pastries, desserts and much more. There is much history to this building and is recognized as one of Europe’s largest shopping department store.DSC05846Unsere Feines Restaurant! in Lichterfelde – where we enjoyed our first Christmas goose dinner last year with our friends. Great memories.

The Harp – an Irish Pub by Adenauerplatz where we watched many “football” matches these past two years. Oh soooo much beer.

Odd would like for me to mention Meet Up. He wants to reassure you that it is not a dating service (ha!) but rather a place for like minds to “meet up”. With a little coaxing (and whiskey), he has some funny stories to share. It is world wide so if you find yourself in a new city or even in your own hometown, you can look up anything from hiking to yoga to cooking to computer related meet ups. He tends to steer towards wearable technology, agile thinking and product design – in case you too are interested. It’s about community – where giving and learning from others takes center stage.

Hope you were able to get some ideas from this extra long post. And as always, thanks for stopping by. Smile. Life is good. Or as Neni’s likes to promote, “life is beautiful”.

 

Change is Okay

“We are not afraid of who we are but of what we have become.”

– Little May, Boardwalks

IMG_9171The bitter chill in the midst of April reminds me that Spring too is struggling to stay. Somehow I know beneath the budding trees, the whisper of the wind and the silence of shadows that baby birds are hatching and soon Spring will suddenly turn the corner and cast its warm embrace. With every ray of sunshine that finds my path, I am willing to believe in change, even in single digit Celsius weather (yes, it snowed today!). This is Faith.

Most people do not like change including me. I contemplate leaving my comfort zone and yet I know every challenge I face is an opportunity to grow. Without a little angst, stress or nudge from the world, I suppose life would be, well for lack of a better word, uninteresting. I know not everyone would agree because there is something reassuring about stability, which I Love (with a capital L). I prefer life to be linear rather than a series of peaks and valleys but somehow life doesn’t always work out that way, does it?

The reality is that we are approaching our last few weeks here in this city and when you know things are temporary (like everything in life), you view it through a double lens. I am not afraid. I am not anxious. I am uncertain, unsure of the way I feel about leaving. I expect things will feel a bit abnormal upon returning. I know you’ve probably felt it every time you’ve left your home for a weekend or a holiday. Travel, time and new experiences allows you to view life differently. It’s a good thing.

In times of stillness, I turn to There’s a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem by the late Wayne W. Dyer. “Thy peace is the essence of our universe”, he writes and continues, “Peace is the result of retraining your mind to process life as it is, rather than as you think it should be.” When things feel like they are out of control (because sometimes things happen!), his seven simple words remain a beacon of light. “I can choose peace, rather than this.” Works like a charm.

The world is filled with much uncertainty. But (with a capital B) it’s okay! The process of consistently learning is part of what keeps life interesting and I know that deep down we will be okay. Even with setbacks and sidesteps, we always are. With peace in mind, I am leaving myself to “be open to whatever comes next.” Hope you do too.

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Sunlight. Is. Beautiful.

IMG_3133As I have mentioned many times, Berlin is quite graaaaayyyy in the winter months. Blergh. So when the sun peeks out, I deeeeeply appreciate the beauty in light. Seriously. Sunlight. Is. Beeeeautiful. If I could, I would attach a hundred thousand exclamation marks!

I had just finished reading Joel Osteen’s The Power of I Am and began re-reading Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now this particular afternoon. So I was feeling inspired. With Oprah, Joel Osteen talks about the principle of choosing our words carefully as they represent invitations into our lives. It’s a simple idea using two words – “I AM…” that lead to amazing results. Towards the end of the book, he writes about how each one of us is a “miracle” waiting to happen.

“God will bring people across our path so that we can be the answer to their prayer.”

– Joel Osteen, The Power of I Am: Two Words That Will Change Your Life Today

So as I walked, I thought about wanting to be that ray of hope for someone even it was through a simple smile. For 45 minutes I tried to make eye contact with people on the street but that didn’t seem to work. Everyone was either lost in thought, focused on their destination, walking their dogs (who are all unleashed, by the way) or chatting with their friends.

“As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love – even the most simple action.”

― Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

On my way home, I did, however, manage to greet the owner of a corner fruit and vegetable shop as he was closing up. I also smiled at a woman with her two sons outside a pizza parlor. Outside the Wilmersdorf Stadtbad or natatorium, I saw an older couple who appeared to be very much in love and I grinned from ear to ear. Perhaps they noticed, but I think they were lost in their bubble of affection.

On a side note, I don’t know if it’s just me but I find people are very affectionate here. It’s endearing. Many young couples hold hands and older people link arms often. It’s adorable. Other people kiss lovingly on the Bahn platform while others embrace passionately on the streets. It’s a bit uncomfortable, at times, but mainly amusing.

Anyway, I walked a different route home and as I turned the corner, the street cleared and the sun seemed to greet me with a beautiful glow. Maybe I’m being dramatic but I felt like it was wanting to be noticed, notably photographed. (Of course, silly me, the sun cannot not be noticed. How do you like that double negative? Ha!) I quickly reached for my good friend, Siri, before the cyclist could knock me over. “There it is!” I gasped. I always feel it in my heart when I have taken a photo that pleases me.

IMG_9154 - Version 2 (1)The timing of this picture was my “miracle”. I felt the flare, the radiating light, this speck of sunshine was Divine intervention. I don’t know how to explain it because I usually don’t feel this happy after a photo. So here I am sharing this moment with you.

I hope you find joy playing with light – radiating your own inner brilliance or experiencing the beauty of light from 92.95 million miles away. It may sound cheesy and a bit like something you would find on a bumper sticker from the 70’s but I like to think “the road ahead is yours to discover.” Cue in the synthesizers.

“You shine a little love on my life and let me see.”

– Electric Light Orchestra

 

Berlin Bits

IMG_9123I saw this etched on a hotel window in Mitte this past weekend and absolutely loved it! I like it so much I feel it’s worth saying again. So here it is once more:

“Honey, know your worth even if they don’t.”

Inspiration comes in many ways, doesn’t it? Sometimes you find the neatest things just by taking a walk around the city. Peel your eyes open as you walk around with me.IMG_8001

IMG_6710.jpg“Seriously, very seriously.” Haha – maybe because it’s true?IMG_9145Cappucino and Irish Coffee at cozy Café Cinema at Hackescher Markt (yep, it’s right next door to Starbucks. Imagine that?)DSC05056

IMG_5373.jpgTranslation:  “We don’t want a piece of cake. We want the whole bakery.”IMG_8955And speaking of cake, “Make everyday a lovely day.”IMG_9114

IMG_4798Sometimes you learn new things too – like how to make new drinks with a coin, coffee and moonshine.
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IMG_2926And without WiFi/WLAN, it is possible to talk to each other…and get drunk!IMG_8939Cheers! Prost!