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 …
A long overdue update on life in Berlin is here. The good news is that I’ve just handed in final papers for three courses, the bad news is that my “Death by Prosecco” mornings have been at an all time low (or is that a good thing?) Really, my recent Berlin adventures have been less exciting than prior months, especially these past two weeks because, well, Managerial Economics. That being said, there are still a few experiences worth writing about.
Perhaps the most eventful two weeks yet. From my mom visiting to grad school orientation, it’s been non-stop go. Before Smog arrived, we kicked off these past weeks with Max’s birthday celebrations. Our plans included dinner, drinks, and a Kehlani concert, but we found out upon arrival at the venue that the concert was cancelled, as well as the rest of her Euro tour. We’d been looking forward to seeing Kehlani perform since December, so that was a real blow. Fortunately we made up for it with a party on Saturday night, resulting in an all too typical “Death by Prosecco” Sunday morning.
By now I’ve finished my intensive language course, the first of many levels, and I’m unable to take the second level straight away as my grad school orientation interferes. However, I was able to have an entire conversation in German at the nail salon last week, so if that’s not a testament to progress then I don’t know what is.
To kick off week two in Berlin, I’ve enrolled in a one-month intensive German language course. It’s true that most people I’ve encountered here, German and other, speak English, and many of them fluently. It’s a nice safety blanket, but I didn’t move to Germany to stay within my comfort zone.
One of the greatest things about eating vegan is being able to explore an entirely different side of the culinary arts. It challenges you to find healthy and creative alternatives to ingredients that you perhaps believed were irreplaceable. There are any number of reasons to cut animal products from your diet. Health concerns, environmental concerns, and ethical beliefs are the primary ones. It’s not a cult, it’s not “in” this season, and it’s certainly not “girly”. It’s a compassionate and conscious choice, and yes, there are health benefits too. Plus, plant-based food is downright delicious. And it’s innovative — Silicon Valley is no longer just for techies, it’s now for Impossible Foods.
Winter Sundays are for simple comforts like homemade soup. After a weekend of errands and sweaty yoga sessions, I spent the better part of Sunday in the kitchen making a few of my favorite vegan recipes. Inspired by Minimalist Baker’s recipe, and with the help of trial and error, I’ve created the ultimate butternut squash soup recipe. This soup is healthy, flavorful, simple, vegan, coconut-y and a tad spicy.