6 Habits I Picked up Living in Berlin

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I have been back in the United States for 5 months now. I moved to a new State in a new region, and it has been interesting to say the least. I spent the last portion of my 20’s living in Berlin. It certainly had a profound impact on my very being. Many of the habits, I have taken with me. Some are good, and some are bad. I often have to remind myself, that I am no longer in Germany. Trust me, that is not hard, given that I moved to the South. It is like night and day in some cases. Humans are creatures of habit. That is how we have survived. I am no better than any other human in that case. It is tough to learn one thing, be uprooted to learn another, and now go back to the previous environment. I compiled a list of the habits I have formed and inadvertently taken with me back to the States.

1. Recycling everything– I am originally from the State of California. Growing up, we recycled in my home. My mother was insistent on it. When I moved to Berlin, I got my hippie wake up call, as I like to put it. Germans recycle far more than Americans do, which is a shame, because we really could affect real change if we did what the Germans do. I still place my wine bottles at the door, and other bottles. I forget that the grocery stores no longer have places to recycle my bottles, and that there aren’t specific trashcans dependent on the color and type of trash I have.

2. No small talk– In a region of the country where people pride themselves on being friendly, and very religious, I might add, I find it hard to cut my small talk down to not include absolutely everything that is on my mind at the moment. When someone asks me how my weekend was, I am expected to say: “It was fine,” or “It was good” and leave it at that. They don’t need to hear about my most recent excursions to Little Five Points, where I found the perfect item for my budding crystal collection. I realized, that in Berlin not to many people asked this question, without actually wanting to hear it all.

3. Drinking tap water (with NO ice)– The tap water in Georgia is NASTY. Now, that I think of it, the only good tap water I ever remember tasting in the States was in New York State. I tried to pull that here, and immediately was grossed out by the amount of chemicals I tasted. I ran to the store to get a gallon of water, and vowed never to drink it again. I am honestly afraid a filter won’t work either.

4. Using random German words– German is super efficient when it comes to conveying an emotion. Despite a heavy German population in the South. Many of these folks, never attempted to speak it. It’s useless to say words like “Achso” or “Genau” when no one really understands you. It’s tough to let them go, they are so efficient!

5. Carrying cash with me– I got into the habit of carrying cash in Berlin, because there were several establishments that simply didn’t take it. Here, everything can be paid with a card. I mean everything.. Car wash/bar/convenience store, parking lot.. Everything. I forgot about the convenience, but the German in me always thinks that I would rather not be tracked of all my purchases, and I still would rather pay cash.

6. Bringing my own bag to the supermarket– In California, this is so not a problem, because people have to pay for their own bag in some cases. I swear the look on the bag lady/guy’s face when I start packing my own bag’s is priceless. I wonder sometimes if they actually WANT to pack them. Just trying to do my part. I can’t believe that other people do not do it.

7. Time– I swear to god, Americans are really lax about time in some cases. I have been waiting for more than 5 minutes, and I get a text saying they will be 15 minutes late. I am fuming… why did you not just tell me you would be 20 minutes late in the first place? Why are you even late? I have to remember where I am sometimes. ‘Murica.

8. Love of Good Bread– I used to wonder what the deal was with the bread. My German ex or my friends always complained that the bread in the States tasted awful. They are SOOO right. I cannot stress enough that bread in the States is not in fact bread. Not sure what they are serving us. I have been going to deli in the back of the store for fresh bread at this point.

9. Food Quality– I had only been back to the States once in my entire time living in Germany. I decided to go back home, and eat a bunch of my favorite things. In N Out, Taco food trucks, just all around horrible food right. I am a vegetarian now, but it started only as a way to not get sick. After I returned, I had a horrible bout with food poisoning. I did some research, and discovered that the meat production standards are far different from those in Germany. Generally, anything out of the States tastes better. I can taste the chemicals on everything. Everything has too much sugar in it, and not enough actual flavor. I cook now mostly, or rarely go out. Even the juice tastes like chemicals.

I honestly hope to never lose these traits. I can definitely relax with the time issue, but I honestly feel Berlin made me a more aware person. I am happy for the experience. What about you? Any habits you developed while in Germany that you took back home with you?

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Book Review” German Men Sit Down To Pee & Other Insights Into German Culture” – By Niklas Frank and James Cave

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I had the pleasure of being sent a book by the name of German Men Sit Down To Pee & Other Insights Into German Culture” sent to me by the author. I have a couple of humorous books about German culture, and I will definitely add this to my collection. The book was to the point, and very well explained. I actually gained some insight into some of the behaviors I witnessed in Germany.
The Author describes the books as:

German men sit down to pee… is a tongue-in-cheek guidebook to German culture that highlights the ‘rules’ Germans consciously and unconsciously follow, and tries to make a little sense of it all along the way. Why, for example, mowing your lawn on a Sunday will mean getting an earful from your neighbour, but lie naked in the middle of a public park and nobody will bat an eyelid.

Before you dismiss this as another book of tired stereotypes, he does use a disclaimer. We all know that not ALL Germans behave like this, but every country seems to have their own distinct culture, and the Germans are no different. They explain why German men sit down when they pee, German breakfast, and Doener kebabs. All subjects I knew about, but in the style of writing the authors made me chuckle. I had no idea about all the drink mixes. Beer and Cola? Yuck!

For the price, the book is a steal, and a nice little coffee table addition to your collection. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Buy the Book Here
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Sicily Holiday. Poggiodiana Castle and The Scala dei Turchi

I recently took an amazing vacation to Sicily. I stayed in the Agrigento area in a little town called Ribera. It is in the south of Sicily and is home to just about 20,000 people. You can really feel the intimacy of the small town here, people started recognizing me on my second day there! By the end, the barista knew how I liked me coffee, and also my evening cocktail (cappuccino in the morning, Amaro del Capo at night). I used the website Wishsicily to find villas in Sicily, and was able to get a lovely one with a balcony in the central piazza. It was an enchanting week, and I recommend it to anyone who loves great food, southern Italian culture, small-town environments, stunning landscapes, turquoise waters and gorgeous beaches. What’s not to love?

Ribera is about 223 meters above sea level, but it is close to a lot of gorgeous beaches. For example, there are some white sand beaches at Sciacca, Seccagrade, Toree Salsa and the resort of Eraclea Minoa. Eraclea Minoa is quite stunning, it is set on a hill above massive cliffs made entirely of natural chalk. It is the remains of the ancient city of Eraclea Minoa, which was a Greek settlement. You can also check out the Greek Theatre ruins before heading down to the long sandy beach below.

Seccagrande by Jose Luiz CC BY 2.0

Speaking of chalk beaches, don’t miss Scala dei Turchi. It is about 30 minutes south of Araclea Minoa and 15 minutes north of Agrigento. It is a huge chalk cliff in the shape of stairs climbing out of the turquoise sea below. You can cover yourself with the chalky substance, which is an amazing exfoliant for your skin. As it dries you will turn as white as the cliffs themselves. Then just jump in the water below and rinse it off. As you walk out, you will feel totally rejuvenated. Sprawl out on the sandy beach in the Sicilian sun with a good book… and I promise you, nothing is better.

Scala dei turchi, Sicily, Italy

For a bit of culture, I went to the Church of Our Lady in Ribera. It was built back in the 17th century and is simply stunning. The town hall is also lovely, it was built in the 18th century and still used today. Just a short drive from the center is the Castello di Poggio Diana, an enchantingly beautiful castle built in the 14th century. All that is left are the old walls, which are kind of falling down, and two amazing towers. You can get up close and personal, like many ruins in Sicily. It was constructed by the Normans, but very well preserved over time. It was a very strategic location, about 200 meters above sea level.

The views from the castle of Poggio Diana are amazing. I visited it with a friend of mine, Sicilian, that I had met in Ribera. He took some of the best pictures of me ever. I think it was due to the stunning location, the lovely orange light of the “golden hour” which is what cinematographers call the hour before the sun goes down. You can sea the Mediterranean Sea in the background, and I look simply joyful. Well, I was. It was the best vacation of my life.

Castello_di_Poggiodiana by Markos90 CC BY 2.0

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Fall in Berlin- 5 Things to do

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Fall was always a great time in Berlin for me. Being from California, I did not get to all types of weather. It was usually very warm, or slightly less warm, with the occasional bout of much needed rain. Living in a part of the world that experienced the full spectrum of weather, brought a new sense of wonder for me. The leaves were changing, the temperatures were dropping, and less and less people were out in the parks. Although there may seem like there is less to do, it is Berlin, and there is always something to get into while exploring the city.

1. A class of champagne at the KaDeWe

– Many of my expat friends resided in the former East of Berlin. When I would mention going to the KaDeWe, there would be a puzzled look on their faces, what is that? I love this place. I am not into the shopping aspect of it, as much as the people watching. Grab a glass of Moet from the bar, and enjoy watching the scores of families, shop for chocolate, cheese, and foreign food that can be found on the top floor of the mall. It can be a bit expensive for the average expat, but it is a nice little treat every now and then, especially on a Friday afternoon.

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2. The The Sony Center
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– The Sony Center offers the latest movies for people to check out in English and in German. I just liked the relax atmosphere, and the beer offered. The archetiture of The Sony Centeris beautiful. I always love to snap a photo while I am there.

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3. See some live shows

– Places such as the A-trane, and the Edelweiss(Tuesday’s Jam Session) are mainstays for me. It is always warm inside, and there is great jazz being played by Berlin local talent and sometimes guest stars from abroad. The Edelweissis casual, and in Kreuzberg, while the A-traneis for the mostly grown and sexy crowd in Charlottenburg.

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4. Laufen (Walk)

– It is true that the Germans love to walk, go out and get a glimpse of the changing leaves and some exercise as well. I love to walk over to the canal with some wine in my bag and a little blanket. In my neighborhood of Kreuzberg, there were always plenty of people out and about, and there are definitely some characters you can run into.

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5. Try a new bar

– Berlin is always filled with new bars. Some of my favorites are the soon to be closing Normal bar, and Fahimi’s which are both in Kreuzberg. fahimi bar
is a little on the expensive side, but has a great selection of music. The Normal bar
is kind of a regulars bar, but do not be intimidated upon entry, these folks that go there are awesome.

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*Bonus: Typically during this time, I am saving my ass off so I can attempt a vacation when it starts to really get cold. No shame in saving and staying indoors until you reach your goals.

Fall is a gorgeous time in Berlin, and I hope you are enjoying the cool weather, and the last bits of outdoor nightlife in Berlin. What do you do in the Fall while in Berlin?

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Breaking the Cocoon of Being Single 

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Give and be Given the Best of Life.

Even though sometimes you feel lonely and frustrated, people around you think that everything’s fine with you. The problem is that they don’t realize you need a partner to share your life with. It’s high time you stopped hesitating, start breaking the cocoon of being single and feel as a complete human being.

A Person without a Partner is not a Complete Person

Human beings are conceived to live within a society and such society is sub-divided in micro-societies called families. In order to have a family you need a partner and, in some cases, the family does not have to be integrated by children as well, only your partner and you are more than enough. However, Breaking the Cocoon of being lone is not something easy, especially if you have been along for such a long time that now you have forgotten the enchantment of sharing and compromising. Don’t worry, we have all the tips for you to remember and put into practice everything you need to walk hand in hand in life.

Breaking the Cocoon of Being Single – There is More than Just Myself Out There

When you have been single for more time than recommended, you acquire certain habits that make it difficult to connect with someone again. Sometimes, people refuse to lose the comfort they have developed in the coziness of feeling the only human beings on earth, but that can be potentially harmful for mental wellbeing, so if you want to have a partner with who you can feel complete, you will need to discard such habits and begin to realize that there is a person on the other side that feels and needs things as you do. Some tips for you to start practicing are:

    Observe: pay attention to other people’s preferences, likes, dislikes, attitudes and so on, will help you understand and perceive the world around you with the people in it. This will make you look and sound as a more sensitive person.

    Listen: this skill is in high demand and is not that easy as it sounds. You have to listen to the other, react to what the persons says and wait for the answer to be finished until you continue talking. A good listener is definitely a good partner.

    Show Empathy: worrying for the people that form part of your environment is a vital part when you want to begin a new life with someone else beside you. Understanding and being able to put in the other person’s feet will make you an eligible partner.

    Compromise: this is an unavoidable advantage when you begin a life in which you have to concede to receive. Stop thinking that you are the center of the universe and try to make the people you love happy. There is no fullness without sacrificing part of your freedom and devote time and dedication to the other person.

All these tips will train you to lead the best kind of life when the right person reaches your life, since you are going to be accustomed to ask and wait for an answer and also to care about your mate and also to make decisions together, not only basing them on your personal likes.

Author byline: I’m the Co-Founder and Webmaster of several dating sites including Chicks For Dating. I started in the dating area in 2005, writing articles and press releases as freelancer and helping in the envisioning and development of international dating websites (most of them from Latin-America  and Europe), believing that technology can help soul-mates to find real love and long-term relationships. I enjoy my free time reading technology articles, walking and hearing music dreaming in new dating projects.
Follow in Twitter: @chicksfordating.com

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What’s with this black American dating crisis? -By Joy Outlaw

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As an author whose work overlaps the Women’s Fiction category, I’m aware that the Interracial Romance genre has been a quite popular one for some time now, and interest is growing. If Barnes & Noble hadn’t changed its Fiction display so that you can no longer see Women’s Fiction, Afro American Fiction, Romance, etc., grouped separately, you’d more easily notice all those virile young black American women swirling with white/Latino men on many of those covers. (Not so many depictions of black women with, say, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, or African men—‘sup with that?) The idea has become quite public. And while I wouldn’t say that it’s mainstream, advertisers are all over the black girl white guy pair now in commercials and print ads.

What bothers me is all the statistics and negative labels that complement this steady flow of images, and the scarcity mentality that insists that it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a black woman to find a suitable mate. I’m one of those weird mind-over-matter types who believes in the idea that what you think and expect are what you get. And I’m not convinced that Black Women are in dire straits or that we should allow a barrage of that kind of information to make us believe that. Why the heck would I, of all people, want to buy into that?
I recently checked out that movie Frustrated: Black American Men in Brazil (I know I was late to discover it, but it was insightful nonetheless.) It told the stories of dissatisfied black American men traveling to Brazil to escape “drama” with black American women and find love and/or sex. I immediately caught on to the sense of scarcity, doom and gloom conveyed by the elements of the film, even down to the relentless, pathetic piano music.
In a resulting blog post, I responded with this:


“Maybe with one more push we’ll just evaporate into thin air. We’re already so much more likely to be uneducated, uncultured, unemployed, poor, obese, sick, diseased and without good healthcare, imprisoned, financially illiterate, just generally illiterate, divorced or never married to begin with, the product of single parenthood, parenting single, or likely to become single parents eventually, on drugs, raised by somebody on drugs, robbed by somebody on drugs, shot by somebody selling drugs… Whatever the atrocity or misfortune, we are most likely to suffer it.
“We get a steady diet of statistics that prove our inferiority. And it’s not some grandstanding Klansman or Fox News anchor giving them to us. It’s CNN. It’s NPR. It’s W-something-something-something, your local news station. It’s our community leaders and folks who are on the front lines daily trying to help others get ahead. It’s our own brown-faced beauties, in whom we take so much pride, shoveling the Pitiful Black Folk statistics down our throats every day.”

 
And it’s all such B.S. As noted in that Clutch Mag Online article entitled “Is Europe the Single Black Woman’s Promised Land”

“For the past few years, the media has seemed to be on a campaign to convince African-American women we are the unhealthiest, least educated, most undesirable, and least likely to get married women on the planet. And while the numbers don’t bear this out (we are kicking ass in college, and by 35, 75 percent of sistas are married), the media keeps harping on our supposed crisis… To be clear, marriage rates are down for everyone.”


Need I also mention the recently populararticle
debunking the myth of the absentee black father? Says the writer,
“In fact, in its coverage of the study, the Los Angeles Times noted that the results ‘defy stereotypes about black fatherhood’ because the CDC found that black dads are more involved with their kids on a daily basis than dads from other racial groups.”

I’m a thirty-four-year-old, college-educated, black woman married to a brilliant and hard-working, black man. Other men that I dated in the past included, black Americans, West Africans, Caribbeans, and one white guy. I studied abroad in Tanzania during college, and while I did not date a Tanzanian man, there was plenty of romantic interest to go around among us all.
I’ve played the dating game. I’ve had bad experiences, from dishonesty to cheating to physical assault. But I’ve also had many experiences that I can only describe as blissful. An Individual’s dating life can contain myriad experiences. And Kimberly truly hit the nail on the head when she said in a February 2013 post: “Sometimes the reason you are single is your issue, not the men.” The same is sometimes true when you continually have problems with a partner.
I’ve come to learn that love has to be approached from a mindset of abundance and with a certain degree of detachment from our highly tailored (and sometimes petty) expectations, not from a scarcity mentality and a fear of being left without. I had to ask myself why I was choosing to believe that I was at the bottom of some proverbial dating barrel, as some vehemently claim black women are. I had to leave generalizations behind—the belief that “Italian men loooove them some black women” or that “all West Africans are hung”, for example.
My conclusion: If a lasting, loving relationship is what anyone wants, it will serve them well to be open to it wherever they might find it. Travel? Hell yeah—it’s one of the most enriching experiences you’ll ever have. But, be leery of any advice that paints with a broad brush, even if it comes with a sobering statistic or a promise of love-at-first-sight.

Joy Outlaw is an author and blogger at www.joyoutlaw.com
. Her debut novel, Pretty Little Mess: A Jane Luck Adventure can be found here.

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Protect Your Data While on the Road

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Planning a trip these days involves all of the ordinary things: booking reservations, checking into your flight via smartphone, and packing your favorite devices for your upcoming journey. These tools have become critical for not only a business traveler, but also the mere tourist as well. With so many devices at our disposal to make our lives easier, what can we do to protect them from prying eyes?

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Unfortunately, most people think they are going to be safe with just a password and an antivirus program. These solutions are simply not enough in the ever-increasing world of data thieves and spies. The sad truth is that not only are you at risk from these hackers, but also various governments as well. As we all know from the Edward Snowden revelations, nobody is safe, even when it involves their country. So, what steps can you take to protect yourself from these potential snoopers? Let’s take a look.

“Lock the front door.”

Long gone are the days where a simple password can keep someone from accessing your laptop or smartphone. Even still, having a solid password is still the best way to protect your data and to give the thief the necessary challenge when it comes to accessing your data. Make sure you are using a password that is unique and full of special characters (numbers, symbols etc.), giving that extra layer of protection. An additional step you can take is to create passwords for individual folders (containing your most valuable files), which you can read more about here
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Secure your Wi-Fi Connection

Let’s face it, we are all living in an age where Wi-Fi access is seemingly more important than a bathroom or any other basic need. When traveling, most people don’t have roaming data plans, so spotting an open Wi-Fi network can seem like a savior in certain situations. What you may not be thinking about right away is who the actual owner of the wireless network is. Whether it’s at a hotel in hotel in New York
or Chicago O’Hare International Airport
, fake hotspots created by hackers are becoming more and more common in heavy traffic areas. Make sure you always ask for the network’s exact name as well as making sure that there is some password or encryption (WEP or WPA security) on the network before connecting. Another thing that some people may forget is to disable file sharing on a network before connecting, as this makes also makes it harder for people to access your files.

Invest in a VPN service

Even with securing your data with passwords, firewalls, and a safe network connection, it is still possible for someone to hack your data. An extra step that you may consider taking is utilizing a VPN to encrypt your internet connection. A VPN would be most effective for a business traveler or someone who is traveling with lots of sensitive data on their device. VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) operate like a “virtual wormhole”, establishing a tunnel connection between your device and a server. The data that you send and receive is all encrypted by this tunnel, protecting your data from any unwanted exposure. Most VPN services will cost between 5-10 dollars a month, but there are numerous trials and coupons available. To learn more about VPN’s and see a list of providers, check out bestvpn.com
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So there you have it, three ways to protect your data while on the road. Whether you are a savvy business traveler or a post-college backpacker, data security is increasingly important in the digital age. Common pickpockets have evolved into even more dangerous hackers, capable of massive problems. While it’s important to remember that physically securing your devices are also critical for data protection, taking the above steps is the best solution to ensuring your data is secure.

Bio

Thomas Ujj is an expat/traveler and IT enthusiast with a passion for security and privacy. When he isn’t planning his next trip, he likes to take the time to practice his Italian cooking as well as religiously watching Italian football team AS Roma. Unfortunately, cooking and watching football games doesn’t always equal paychecks, so he writes for smartdns.com
 as well.

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Lessons in Berlin: Black Experience

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Living in the USA, African Americans are the dominant Black population in America. Sure we have a lot of others, but I did not have many Black friends from other places while growing up in California. In fact, I can only remember two: one from West Africa, and the other from the East. I knew little about their experiences. I learned more about the experience while living in Berlin in the super minority of people who were of African descent living in Berlin. I learned that things were certainly not all good for those who had the unfortunate circumstance of having the “wrong passport.” The hassle of not being able to get a job, finding a place, down to traveling within Europe. It all seemed much harder. Some of my African American friends would try to separate themselves from the African community, but I could not ignore the glaring differences in treatment by Europeans after they discovered I was from the USA. I had times where I was questioned relentlessly at airports, before my passport was ever requested, then as soon as I took it out, their whole demeanor would change. I started to wonder how would I be treated if I didn’t have the coveted “blue book” or the “red book” for those from the UK.

There were times when before I would even speak, people would place me in whatever box. Only one person has ever guessed correctly where I came from. (A Turkish man at the Farmers market- I was shocked). In the States, it is about race, but here there certainly is a divide in culture, and national country of origin.

I met many people from the continent of Africa while living in Berlin, which always made me wonder where people were looking when they said they did not notice a larger African community in Berlin. Trust me, it is here, but I also found many people here self segregate on racial and nationalistic lines. The largest group seems to be coming from immigration, but there are many people who were born and raised in Germany. Every group had their gripes. I sat at meetings filled with Afro Deutsch people, where I learned calling someone biracial is extremely offensive, because in German race translated into breed, and of course no one wants to be thought of in that respect. I met a few that knew nothing of their African side. I learned that there was not even a non offensive term from people who were both African and ethnic German until the 1980s. I met groups of guys here while hanging in Goerlitzer, that were here just trying to make enough money for their families back home, or to simply survive. Stories of long boat trips, stints in jail, all the for opportunities found in Europe, which many found upon arrival were few and far between. I met central and S. American Blacks who ranged from old rastas to college students. I met old Black American jazz musicians, living here for 20 or more years. All with interesting stories on how they found their way to Berlin.

I also learned that my issues with the country were not just figments of my imagination. People complained about staring, about other Germans being surprised that they spoke German, despite living here their entire lives. Their thoughts of not feeling accepted by both groups. It was nice to hear about the lives of others. I had to check my own privilege, and realize that despite even the worse experiences, that I still had it better than some. That just made me want to change that, rather than find some sort of pride in my condition.

With all these exchanges with my fellow melanated brothers and sisters, I felt a since of belonging. That despite our differences, we faced similar circumstances, and we can create safe spaces to uplift each other no matter where were from in the world.

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Tourist Trip: London

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Getting to London from Berlin is quite simple and cheap. If you are looking for short weekend, London is close and relatively inexpensive to get there. Once your there, the prices can be high, depending on where you stay.

There are a few transportation options, but I personally prefer to take a flight. You can find cheap flights through RyanAir or GermanWings. I normally check the website, Fluege.de
for cheaper flights, since they obviously specifically cater to the German market. Flights from the Schoenefeld airport are typically cheaper than those flying out of Tegel. They also offer direct flights.

My travel companion was my boyfriend. This is our third trip together, and I was excited. We started at the W, but due to some unintended consequences, we were moved to their sister hotel, Le Meridien. That place was a bit of a mess. We were in the Picadilly area, which was located near landmarks such as the Buckingham Palace and Big Ben. To say the place was expensive, was an understatement. I wish the quality of the food coincided with the prices that we paid for it. We were close to landmarks, so we managed to walk around and see what we can while enjoying the rare gorgeous weather we were having in London.

Walking around alone. I don't do too many full body selfies anymore.
Walking around alone. I don’t do too many full body selfies anymore.

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The boyfriend has to jet off for some business meetings, so I decided to meet an old friend of mine who just happened to be in London. We met each other which in summer school at University. He was on his own world tour, and graced me with his presence. We went off to Brixton for the day, and caught up on our respective lives. To my surprise, Brixton was a short train ride away. I have been to London a few times, but it was nice to be so centrally located to things I actually wanted to see this time around.

Brixton!!
Brixton!!
Ty and I. Remember this dude, he is  hilarious
Ty and I. Remember this dude, he is hilarious
Smoking at the park across the street.
Smoking at the park across the street.
I broke down and had meat. There were not so many good veggie options available.
I broke down and had meat. There were not so many good veggie options available.

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One of the pieces we saw while walking around
One of the pieces we saw while walking around

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The last few days was back with the boyfriend. We switched hotels to the Hyatts- Andaz that was located in the financial district. We had some breakfast and made a plan to see the British Museum. I heard they had a huge Egypt collection that I just had to see before we left. We also walked over to see big ben, or at least the clock in front of the bell that is actually big ben (thanks Max for that heads up). I donned my red coat again, which I feel makes me look like Carmen Sandiego (totally my outfit for this years Halloween). We managed to find some meatless food for me, and ended our time at London’s oldest Indian Restaurant- Veeraswamy. I had a good time overall, but dang, central London is expensive for a girl on a Berlin budget like me.

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The clock in front of big ben
The clock in front of big ben
Me trying to eat an American breakfast
Me trying to eat an American breakfast
The Gherkin as the Londoners call it.
The Gherkin as the Londoners call it.
Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
Hmm Pancakes
Hmm Pancakes
Lion Goddess - Sekhmet
Lion Goddess – Sekhmet

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Me eating lunch
Me eating lunch

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Where in the world is Kimmy Sandiego
Where in the world is Kimmy Sandiego
This is the actual Carmen San Diego
This is the actual Carmen San Diego
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Berlin Music Video Awards

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I had the pleasure of being inited to the 3rd annual Berlin Music Video Awards. I did not know what to expect. I had never heard of these awards, but when I looked at the lineup, which consistent of rather unknown artist, at least unknown to me, I decided to attend to see what this event was all about.

It was held at two venues. One was located in Friedrichshain at club K-17 and the final awards ceremony was located at Neue Heimat club near Warchauer. The event was 3 days long with a red carpet after party on the last evening. I went early the first day. I grabbed my girl from Chicago and headed over where we were greeted at the door with a shot of Jagermeister of course. There was an outside area with food being served, and a DJ. We made our way inside where people were screening video nominees for each proposed category. That area was packed, and with the warm weather, I could not bring myself to sit in there for more than a few minutes. I noticed an artist area where we ran into one of the hosts. There were characters everywhere. It was a hipsters paradise. My friend ended up knowing the host, a Black British guy by the name of .. who was dressed in a custom tweed suit of his own creation. There were many people who were scantily clad.

We sat back and watched on the screens in the back room, and talked about what we watched. I hoped that there would be some things that I liked. I noticed I am rather particular about my music. I am not into electro, but I must say this Chicago house is rather interesting. There were some more mainstream artist videos being played from artists such as MIA, and Irma.

I loved the Irmaa video. The visuals were amazing, and the vibe was African singer, songwriter.. complete with guitar and natural hair style. I loved it. I had to look it up and post:

We posted up for a while, digging the scene, until of course we were approached by one very drunk Frenchman, who simply could not believe that my friend and I were from the same place. I thought it was funny. She has her hair curly and short. It is what my ignorant ass family members would refer to as “good hair.” While he attempted to guess everything under the Sun except for African American, and of course no African countries, he finally got the hint and left. We left soon after that. I had a good time. Great experience to see this world of music I am not exposed to all the time here in Berlin.

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