The professor and I lived in Berlin from January to June 2002. Before there were things like blogs to record one’s misadventures in another culture. Fortunately I found my old school paper journal, which is peppered with a few ‘Nicola-gems’ about our time there.
‘First impression of Berlin – it’s okay, interesting, not too bad.’
‘Spent the day walking around Berlin: Unter den Linden, Tiergarten, Budapeststrasse and Kudamm. Found a pair of tweezers – pinzette is the German word. Bought a pair at the KaDeWe for 9 euros. They’re no Tweezermans but they’ll avert the disastrous coming of unibrow. I look like Frida Kahlo.’
‘Did get accosted by an Estee Lauder lady and signed up for a makeover (I think). I gave a false name and quickly disappeared.’
‘We visited the Jewish Museum today. It was sort of interesting. I guess I’m not the museum type and get bored too quickly. ‘
‘The professor got his first German haircut….a la Luke Wilson. I got used to him having long hair and now it’s pretty short. It looks good though.’
‘The protocol on German public transportation is that you never sit close to someone unless you absolutely have to. Never make eye contact, and don’t talk loudly. Don’t exceed an audible whisper. And please, no flailing of body parts for you hyperactive kids. Restraint is the word that comes to mind. Or maybe quiet desperation. Either way…’
‘We had a great talk over a lackluster panna cotta and good but awfully boring tartufo.’
‘McDonald’s is bad now matter where you are.’
‘I’m having fun in Berlin – well, sort of. I used to understand what people were saying wherever I went. Now I’m proud of myself when I can order a cup of coffee.’
‘Here they wear bags shaped like travel agency bags. Why? They’re popular, too.’
‘I’m amazed at women walking along these crooked, cobbled streets in high heeled boots. I’m twisting my ankles in tennis shoes.’
‘Berlin is much nicer in the Spring.’
Stay tuned for the London series.