Posted in Weekend Chat

Weekend Chat 21 April 2013

215561_10150156966756445_7044587_nGrab a cup of coffee, find a comfy seat and discover some my favourite blog posts, films, etc from this past week.

Propaganda: North Korea is a “Socialist Fairyland” and Expat Life is Glamorous!”  Entertaining and thought-provoking blog post, reflecting on how we’re often tempted to embellish the expat life, leaving out the hard bits.

Reflections (and great stories!) on the unique nature of friendships in the expat community.  The joy of sharing life much more quickly, and the sadness of continuously saying good bye.

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Shall I put on the kettle?


Shall I put on the kettle?  Would you like a cuppa?

Can there be any more welcoming and comforting words?

An invitation to company, to companionship.

An invitation to stop, to have a chat.

An invitation to sort out the world.

Sitting around the kitchen table, nursing cups of tea.

A story shared, a listening ear.

Laughter, tears, silence shared.

Shall I put on the kettle?

Yes please, let’s have a cuppa!

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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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Yay for friends!

This is reposted from another great blog, A Common Woman.  Check it out here


Half as Hard, Twice as Good

It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I love spending time with my girlfriends. Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we cry, and sometimes we just act stupid. Mostly, we just enjoy being together.

Through the years, God has brought many special women into my life that I am blessed to call girlfriend. These girlfriends span the years; some have been my forever friends, and some are new. There are stateside friends, ex-pat friends, and national friends. Each group has filled a particular niche in my life.

I have girlfriends back in the states that have served as surrogate mothers when my kids returned stateside to attend college. They have thrown graduation parties, wedding showers, and baby showers in my stead. A couple of weeks ago, I was back in the states to meet my new grandson and help my daughter plan a wedding. Even though the wedding was still a few months away, two special friends threw a wedding shower so that I would be able to attend. They have loved me from near and far away.

Then there is the special group of girlfriends who have followed God’s call to live in a new country and culture. We commiserate together about the lack of Wal-marts, missing family, and raising children in a new culture. But, we also spend a lot of time laughing at our language blunders, cultural faux paux, and our blessed, yet crazy life.

God has also blessed my life with national girlfriends. They loved me through the process of learning language and taught me how to live in their culture. We walked side by side in hard places and I am blessed by their willingness to befriend a lonely American in a strange place.

So Girlfriends, I dedicate this song to you. You are the ones I have laughed, cried, and prayed with through the years. You have truly made my life “half as hard and twice as good.” I love you.

A friend knows the song in my heart and sings it to me when my memory fails.  ~Donna Roberts

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High Mountain and Running River

I discovered something really cool this week: apparently in Chinese, the word for “close friend” literally means “understanding music”, and the phrase “High Mountain and Running River” means close friendship or wonderful music.  Here is the story behind this:

According to legend, in the Spring and Autumn Period there lived a lyrist Yu Boya, who was extremely skilled in music performance. One day his performance in the open air was overheard by a woodchopper Zhong Ziqi, who happened to pass by. Zhong Ziqi immediately understood that Yu Boya was describing lofty mountains and turbulent running water through his performance. Amazed to have found someone with an understanding of his music, Yu Boya developed close friendship with Zhong Ziqi. Later when Zhong Ziqi died, Yu Boya was in deep grief that he broke the strings and the musical instrument. Ever since then he quit performing music.

 What a gift it is to have people in your life who just “get” you – often better than you get yourself!