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…we believe in friendship and tasty hot water…

How many favourite cafes am I allowed to have?  I have just discovered a new one to add to the list!  Princess Cheesecake on Tucholskystrasse in Berlin-Mitte is amazing!

How did I even miss this street for so long???  So many cute shops, restaurants and cafes!  We were headed to Princess Cheesecake though, a place we’d read about and had been wanting to check out for some time.

I loved it the minute I walked in.  Everything is so pretty.  And civilised.  I love pretty.  And civilised.  Particularly when it’s also friendly and relaxed, which this place is.

This does not do the cake selection justice.  It was incredible!  I wanted to get one of each.  Sadly not possible.  This is what I went for in the end and it was super yummy:

…we believe in friendship and tasty hot water…

…is what it says on the back of their menu and I loved that!  It was indeed a great place to hang out with three lovely friends!  I only discovered later that this is the motto of the company that supply the gazillion (roughly) different kinds of tea the cafe offer.  The names of the teas were funny, I’ll give them that, but most of them were herbal teas which I don’t much like.  So I opted for Darjeeling.  Not bad, but Germany and tea just don’t go together, not after 15 years in Britain.  I will keep importing my tea and next time I’m at Princess Cheesecake (which hopefully won’t be long!), I’ll have coffee.

Did I say I loved the place? 🙂

Please note: None of the photos are my own (they’re way too good for that…), they are from Princess Cheesecake’s Facebook page!

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Voices All Around

Almost every household item holds fond memories […]. Now in use, they begin to talk. “I come from your mother – and I from your father.” The teaspoons say: “We come from Klara.” The silver spoons come from Wyk, the curtains from Tielen, some blankets from Breklum, etc. The old black pan from Tielen spoke so much that I almost had tears come into my eyes as I looked at it – so much did it remind me of the distant days of my youth. Every day, I am connected through my things with my beloved home, but connected joyfully because for many years, they will speak to me of the love of its people.

This quote (sorry about the “not very good” translation done by yours truly) from “Post aus Äthiopien” caught my eye! It caught my eye because it rang so true.

One of the decisions to make when moving internationally is what to take and what to leave.  Did I say “one”?  Actually, it’s myriads of decisions.  And it’s a great opportunity for a good purge, a time to get rid of things you know you’ll never use again.

Of course everyone has treasures they’ll never part with.  Then there are all those possessions that fall somewhere in between.  They are neither treasure nor junk.  Is it worth spending money shipping them to the new place?  Wouldn’t it be cheaper to replace them?

There is no right or wrong answer to this.  It’s a very personal decision.  Call me sentimental, but I shipped a ton of stuff and I’m glad I did.  As I embarked on a new life in a new place, I treasured (and still treasure) those voices from the past all around me.  The cutlery that used to belong to my grandparents.  The salad bowl that is slightly chipped but reminds of a very special trip to Hungary.  The chest of drawers that’s made “I don’t know how many” moves with me – it used to be in my bedroom in the home I grew up in.  Things that bring some cohesion to a life that can feel somewhat disjointed at times.  Things that speak of places and of the special people associated with them.

It’s all just “stuff” and yet so much more!  I am thankful to have those voices all around me.  So many people don’t.  People who have to leave their homes with nothing because of war, persecution, or to be able to make a living.

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If you can’t beat them…

(This was written at Journaling Group, on the topic of “When – and how – did I last surprise myself?”)

Being the only non-American (until very recently) on my team of 17, I have spent much of the past year making a point of defining myself as just that – the one who is NOT American, who doesn’t care about college football, the one who refuses to call “autumn” “fall”, etc etc

Then along came the 4th of July, and the team decided to celebrate by having a BBQ at Tempelhof (very symbolic as super important during the Berlin Airlift.  Read more here).  I debated whether to go or not –  I’d had a busy day and therefore would have had a good excuse – but decided to go for just a couple of hours.  Well, I ended up staying for 6 hours and thoroughly enjoyed myself.  Even the crazy “American flag” tights a couple of the girls were wearing were fun 🙂

Maybe after a year of being different, it is now time for the “If you can’t beat them, join them” approach!

Here’s me going for the “red, white and blue” look.   The very English t-shirt making my attempt at joining in somewhat ambiguous.  Yup, sounds about right.

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Losing Wisdom, Gaining Gratitude

Another bit of wisdom disappeared this week.  Well, maybe not wisdom as such, but a couple of days ago, I had to have a wisdom tooth removed.

Not fun, and I’ve had my moments of feeling sorry for myself.  Though it’s all gone really well, there has of course been a certain level of pain and discomfort.

Yet somehow, mostly I have felt thankful and slightly humbled.

Thankful that I could have this necessary procedure done by a skilled dental surgeon, in a hygienic environment, with as many injections as were necessary to get rid of any pain.

Thankful that I am able to rest and recover in a comfortable home, with friends to look after me and an ice pack and pain killers at hand.

Thankful that I don’t need to worry about paying any bills for this procedure.

Thankful, but also humbled.

Humbled because that kind of medical care is something most people can only dream of.  Not just people in the past (and I am very thankful not to have been treated by the Roman dentist in this video 🙂 [from Horrible Histories on the BBC – love it!]), but also most people alive today.

Humbled because there is nothing fair about it.

Humbled because I have done absolutely nothing to deserve such privilege.

Humbled because so often I take it all for granted.

Humbled, but for now also very, very thankful.

Maybe I have actually gained a bit of wisdom?