Anne M. 06-07

Hello my faithful readers, if there are any of you who have not given up on me in the last year and a half.

I’m back in good old Deutschland for another 10 months – although with November all but gone, it’s down to only 7. To sum up the last three months in ____ words or less: Started teaching English at Clara-Grunwald-Grundschule in Kreuzberg; spent almost two frustrating months looking for an apartment and eventually contacted an old friend from my earlier Berlin stint and moved into his friend’s apartment in Friedrichshain. Having less than a week in between my summer job in New Mexico and my second Aufenthalt in Germanland was definitely not an easy transition, but after some rough weeks I am getting more and more certain that this is the place for me to be right now (which is saying something – the cold, miserable, depressing weather, which will only get worse before it gets better, is trying its hardest to effect the opposite.)

Anyway, my friend Laura and I decided last week that we should do something to celebrate Thanksgiving. Initially, I invited my friends Jen (from Dickinson, who lives in Genthin, Sachsen-Anhalt) and Christina (my roommate from our Teacher-Training conference in Altenberg in September); Laura invited a coworker and another American friend. We planned to each make a dish or two. Over the course of the week leading to the anticipated Thursday, a few more invitations were made.

We made trips to the KaDeWe and the Galeria Kaufhof to get certain coveted ingredients like Pumpkin Pie Mix and whole cranberries; I had NO luck finding a passable substitute for a pie plate. Ironically, after toiling away at a recipe for pie crust that was at least an inch thick when I put it in my glass container shaped nothing like a pie plate, I put my pie in the oven, only to have the doorbell ring – the postman was delivering a care package from my mother containing 2 cans of pumpkin, evaporated milk, pie crust mix, pie plates, pumpkin bread mix, chocolate chips, and a few other things.

Jen arrived early on Wednesday and the two of us went shopping and spent the rest of the day preparing for the guests who were to arrive at 7:30 – we were expecting no more than 6, total. She made a cheese and carrot casserole and an apple cake; I made my mom’s recipe for candied sweet potatoes, and we made some chicken breasts (turkey was just a bit of an überförderung considering the size of my oven and the other things we needed to make.) At 7:30 the first guest arrived, and after that they seemed to just keep coming. All told, by the time Laura got there at 8:30, we had: Jen, me, Christina, Ken (a German friend), Laura, Andrei (Laura’s coworker), Dave (Andrei’s roommate, American), Eugene (an American friend of Laura’s), Jared (don’t remember how we knew him), and Andre (Ken’s classmate). Everyone served themselves from the kitchen – we had mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, chicken, cranberry sauce, and the casserole, and then the apple and pumpkin pies for dessert. Everyone stayed until 11:30 or so. It was my first attempt at a Thanksgiving dinner, and we all agreed it was a huge success, thanks to everyone’s help.

It’s pretty hard to know what to write to sum up not just a lot of amazing travels, but an entire year of life – actually, it’s impossible, so I’m not going to try. The last 3 weeks in Europe were alone stuffed full of enough adventures, if you will, to fill up a blog entry of my usual length… among them, a couple of fun orchestra-related parties/events, the arrival and stay of my friend Trevor from the US, travels to Berlin and Paris with Trevor, including visits in Berlin with my friend Patrick and two friends (Irish Ray and American Peter) from my Goethe Institut class in September, up-close and personal encounter with Knut, the famous Eisbaer at the Berlin Zoo, the purchase and subsequent reading of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, a few fun or not-so-fun night train journeys, and most sadly, but also most memorably, a lot of “goodbyes”.

I’ve been back in the US for almost 6 months now. A lot has happened since then: a German friend of mine from the Lagerhaus went to India for 3 months and came back; another friend from the Uni-Orchester visited me in PA a few months ago; I had some wonderful reunions with friends who have since left on their own German adventures; Werder Bremen has come back from a weak start of the season to being almost Weihnachtsmeister; I got to sing Brahms again, this time at Dickinson; I have managed to affect great change in the course of history at Dickinson by persuading President Durden to acquire a better Foosball table; I (just today) finished one of my papers for the Uni! (only one more to go!); and I made it through my second-last semester of college! One more to go… If my current plans hold, I’ll be headed back next fall, and otherwise I have no doubt some other adventure awaits :)

Thanks for reading, everyone! Alles liebe und gute,

Deine Ann(i)e


In the middle – kaum zu sehen – are two of my friends from Bremen, Elisabeth and Cem, who brought me to the airport and gave me a wonderful farewell, standing on the visitors’ platform of the tiny Airport Bremen to wave goodbye.

And here is a beautiful song (thanks to Professor Müller for telling me about it) called Über den Wolken – Over the Clouds, about a man watching a plane take off.

“With one eye laughing and one eye crying”

3 more weeks.

I should probably save this telling title for a later post, i.e. when I’m actually about to leave, but it seems fitting now.

Today I had a lovely coffee-date with one of the German TAs who returned from Dickinson at the end of May (if you’re reading this, hey Jens!) I asked if he was glad to be back in Germany, and he asked in return if I was glad to be going back to the States, and we agreed that it’s a highly bittersweet homecoming. Naturally one rejoices (freut sich?) to return to a loving family, familiar faces, old friendships, etc., and I would hate to dampen the happy welcoming homecoming spirit, but the other edge of the sword is quite sharp. My greatest lament with regards to leaving is that I’ve recently met a lot of great people and it’s disappointing to have to leave so many friendships that are just beginning. Of course that’s a given in any situation where one has to start over in some way, and no matter WHEN I would leave Germany, I would have to leave friendships behind, but I feel it especially sharply now because when I say “recently”, I mean within the past few weeks or even days. While my German is by no means perfect or even passably German-sounding, I’ve gotten comfortable enough that I can carry on conversations beyond the basic, introductory stuff (”where are you from? how long have you been here? what do you study?” – all of which I’ve answered so many times I could recite the answers in my sleep… I probably have, actually.)

Ok, it’s now Friday, August 10th, so instead of trying to pretend I haven’t left yet, I think I’ll just close this and write my “Auf Wiedersehen” closing entry.

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