When I first moved to Germany in January 2017, I shared a post describing the immediate differences I noticed between the US and Germany and the American products and customs that I missed. Now, nearly two years later, I’ve compiled a list of the same sort; some items have been added, and many have stayed the same. The US is an incredibly large and diverse country, and the below list of American yearnings is from the perspective of someone familiar with the northeastern part of the country (New England and New York) who also tends to frequent Whole Foods. Let’s also keep in mind that this list is mostly food products, and that, of course, there are other and more profound differences between Germany and the US.
Half birthday celebration/half submitting my master’s thesis celebration, Max and I spent five days in Norway hiking rain and shine. We flew into Oslo on Thursday morning, rented a car from the airport, and proceeded to drive 8 hours to Bergen, a city on the country’s west coast. It was a long haul, but the fjords, untouched countryside, and peak fall foliage made it worth it. Hailing from New England, the leaf peeping capital of the world, I can appreciate a brilliant display of autumnal colors, and it was especially nice to experience that in Norway, because, in Berlin, the leaves fall hard and the foliage is quick and dirty. Driving was an ideal way to see Norway’s varied landscape, and it gave us the opportunity to stop as we pleased, take pictures, and recaffeinate.
The end of my graduate thesis is near, so a breather and a quick blog post are certainly warranted. This summer has been incredible; a hot and sunny four months filled with both physical and mental adventures. Amidst a draining (yet rewarding) thesis process and Berlin explorations, Max and I made it outside of the city for a few weekend (and week-long) getaways. We went as close as the city boundaries, to Liepnitzsee, and as far as the states, to Vermont and Cape Cod. A week was also spent in Tuscany, and a weekend on the Baltic Sea in Dranske, Germany. Most recently, we visited Dresden, a German city just 2.5 hours south of Berlin, and the neighboring Sächsische Schweiz national park. The entire trip exceeded expectations, and I highly recommend it to any Berliners who’ve not yet seen Saxony. Dresden is inexpensive to get to (24€ roundtrip per person via Flix Bus), bars and restaurants are equally affordable, the city itself has a nice blend of hip/young and historic areas, and the national park …
Having lived in big cities (NYC and Berlin) for nearly the past eight years, I’ve had time to properly diagnose that unruly feeling of restlessness prompted by urban living, or perhaps by staying in the same place anywhere, really, for an extended period of time. The usual suspects certainly help — exercise, sunshine, quality time, shopping, and wine (I think we can bunch the lot under self-love) — but nothing scratches that itch quite like a literal mini-break from reality. Best taken every two months or so, and under no circumstances, should one go an entire season without a little vaca.
London, UK Amidst studying for final exams, a mini break was much needed, so Max and I hopped over to London for the weekend. We stayed with my friend Kaley and her boyfriend in Islington, and certainly made the most out of the 36 hours we had together.
Three weeks in and Germany is still a wonderful country. Berlin is beautiful (and a little gritty), there are endless things to do, the shopping is amazing, and I’ve met a lot of really great people. I love it here, but of course there are things I miss from home. Besides my friends, my family, and Zealand, here are a few things I’ve been missing:
I’ve lived in Berlin for six days now, and I’m pleased to say that the uncomfortable flight was absolutely worth it. Wow Airlines is truly something else. The price point in unbeatable, and now I know why With a total of six checked bags at $70 each, we spent an additional $420 on luggage. Although, shipping boxes to Germany is twenty times that, so while I complain, Wow still was the most affordable option.
To transition from New York City to Berlin, Max and I chose to settle down in the New Hampshire countryside for a bit. We’ve been here for nearly four months, yet somehow it still feels like vacation. That this weekend or the next we’ll return to our cozy little East Village apartment and routine New York life will be restored.
As promised, my favorite spots on Ko Lanta are here! Noon Sunset Viewpoint Restaurant, Kantiang Bay Deliciously fresh Thai food, the tastiest cocktails (and good wine, which was particularly difficult to find throughout Thailand), friendly staff, and the most breathtaking sunset view make Noon my favorite restaurant that we frequented on the trip. The view is stunning — the terrace-style restaurant is situated on a cliff overlooking Kantiang Bay — and the Thai food is to die for. My favorites were the fresh veggie spring rolls and the seafood curry served in a coconut (totally had to break my veganism for that one, over and over again).
You can expect to see the unexpected in New York City; people and buildings worthy of second glances. I regret not taking a picture of the man dubbed Chandelier and his friend King Charles V…or was it the VI? Chandelier had metallic dreadlocks that he habitually spray-painted gold, and King Charles was a wandering man with nothing but a rocking horse and a portfolio of amateur photographs. I purchased a King Charles original print for $1, and he kindly signed the back with a personal message: “I like pizza”.