Friday, March 21, 2014

I'm starting to ❤ Berlin

As soon as my husband walked through the door on Wednesday I jumped off the sofa and announced I needed to run errands in the city, by myself.   Sophie had the stomach flu since Saturday.  Aside from going to the doctor and pharmacy I hadn't left our apartment all week.  It was nothing but endless loops of children's programing and washing out one set of pajamas after another.   I was about to go crazy. 

It's been months since I went anywhere without my daughter.  Getting things done with a toddler is not as easy as I imagined.  I thought toddlers would be easier than babies but no, they present a new set of challenges.  Babies don't have opinions.  Babies do not throw tantrums or refuse to wear their coats.  Babies don't hide their shoes or attempt to run in front of moving cars.  They don't refuse to sit in their strollers or hit the dog on the nose when they get sick of playing tug-of-war.  You will never find yourself negotiating with a baby or pleading for two more minutes of good behavior so you can check out at the grocery store. 

Every activity revolves around my daughter.  All my social interactions happen at her classes, play dates, groups and doctor's appointments.  I can't go to any restaurant or cafe that doesn't have some type of play area.  I spend most of my time with my family in our apartment.  Some days I would like to go places but her nap time is too early or late so we don't go.  When I get time off it's usually late in the evening.  By that time there isn't much I can do besides read, watch tv or surf the Internet.  Those things are fun but they aren't fulfilling. 

Minus child and stroller, my baby bag lighter by ten pounds I got more accomplished in one hour than I normally would in three.  Potsdamer Platz in the evening is great.  It has a big city vibe.  The weather was cool and the pavement was wet from resent rain but it was still mild enough to feel like Spring.  Without my husband or child to define me, I was just another woman running errands.  It felt really, really good to be in the city alone.  I started to kindle a little spark of love for Berlin.  It didn't hurt that it was the first time I went downtown without needing the navi or making any wrong turns.  :)


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Berlin learning curve

Dear Internet,

I have nothing to talk about but my child went to bed at six o'clock so here we go.

Sophie is sick and the weather is bad so I spent all day watching Youtube clips of Baby Einstein and I felt like part of my brain might have died. Then we watched the Little Mermaid and the patriarchy made me uncomfortable.  I started thinking about the roles of black actors in Disney cartoons and I just don't know if there is going to be any more Little Mermaid in our house.  My daughter is probably going to grow up thinking I am an anti-fun politically correct tyrant.  Don't your best intentions always somehow backfire?  If anyone has any suggestions on how they plan on handling the Barbie, Disney, and Princesses please let me know.  At least we live in Germany right now.

For some reason, despite being super busy, I seem to have found time to watch a lot of tv lately.  I loved the first season of Vikings so hard and now I'm watching the second season and waiting to see if it's also awesome but I don't have any feelings yet.  Also, True Detective!  Woody Harrelson being Texas and serious and scary.  And I am trying to love House of Cards but meh.  I guess it's ok?  Sometimes the Walking Dead is fantastic and sometimes it's just so awful that I feel cheated out of Zombie Monday.

My hair is a little better but the highlights I got to cover my gray are super light.  The rest of my hair is super dark so... yeah.  Not very many women are sporting natural looking in Berlin these days.  Did I hop in a time capsule and go back fifteen years?  When it comes to hair color I did.  I am struggling not to feel embarrassed every time I have social interactions with people.  Are they judging me on how I look?  You betcha.  So if you don't know me and you meet me for the first time, please know I did not choose to have Brandenburg village highlights.  Sometimes these things just happen.

I went to the Zara at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin for the first time.  The sales associate projected so much condescension and dislike that I got a little freaked out.  Why was she being so rude to me?  Was it my hair?  My age?  My child?  My accent?  The fact that I was returning some stuff?  All of the above?  Anyway she tried to find reasons why I couldn't return my items.  She even tried to claim my receipt was a copy and not the original.  She managed to look disgusted and personally offended that one item was slightly wrinkled.  In the end she couldn't refuse me service because the tags were on and everything was in order.   I love Zara but it's not like they are a luxury clothing retailer so I don't understand why their staff is so awful.  It's times like this when I miss home. 

The weather has been so nice!  One day we were too tired to walk to the park but it was too warm and sunny to stay inside.  I remembered that we have a big balcony I've been completely ignoring since we moved in.  I moved some of Sophie's toys and we got to be in the sun for hours.  It was great.  We ordered her a little sand/water play table and over the next few months I'll be thinking about making it into an extra sort of room.  Some days I just want to stay home.  Let this be the year I plant flower boxes AND remember to water them. 

Since moving to Berlin I seem to plagued by stressful mistakes.  Like not being able to find my exact parking garage, getting ridiculous parking tickets, getting lost, driving into tunnels where there's no way to turn around (seriously beware of the Tiergarten tunnel!), missing my turns and other silly things that make going anywhere and everywhere a pain.  I never know where I'm going, I don't know where anything is and it makes life hard.  But it's ok, because that's part of moving to a new city.  One day I will get the hang of things.  It's taking a long time because Berlin is big and confusing.  Until then I just have to deal with not knowing.  And now that the weather is nice I'm going to rethink taking the train places.  Is changing trains with a toddler in tow more stressful than driving into a tunnel by mistake?  I am going to find out.