Yes, as of Wednesday afternoon I have been back in Berlin. They say when you travel across seas on a plane it takes a while for your soul to catch back up with you. I definitely feel like that; right now my soul is probably hovering somewhere above Greenland....Come back soon, darling!
Here are a few culture shock realizations I've had since I've been back, all experienced in an extreme jet lag daze:
1. Berlin is a city full of jerks!
Well, duh. I've blogged about this one before. Still, when you spend a few weeks somewhere friendlier (i.e. almost anywhere else in the world....) it is rather shocking when you are back in the city. People's faces are so closed off, like they have been having a bad day every day of their life and they're sure it only going to get worse. So many of our citizens seem to be bursting with anger and watch out if you make a mistake; yesterday at the grocery store the clerk accidentally called the piece of fruit a woman was buying an apple. "It's a pomegranate," the woman said with force, a scowl on her face. She looked like she was practically two steps away from giving the clerk a sock in the jaw. Not that the clerk was even all that upset because, in Berlin, this is not really unusual behavior. Hey Berliners, lighten up! I'd say take a chill pill, but they so don't sell those here!
2. In Northern California, pedestrians rule the school....
When I was in the Bay Area I saw so many signs that read: Pedestrians always have the right of way. Pedestrian Crossing: Minimum Fine $104. Not so here in Berlin. Today, as usual, some woman totally took my right of way at the zebra crossing. Gee, I'm just some poor slob pushing not one but two babies in a stroller. It is obviously SO much more important that she cut me off so she can speed up to that red light she will undoubtedly have on the corner. Granted, I was cut off by another car (while driving) far too many times in California to claim that Bay Area drivers are the cream of the crop but still- at least they show pedestrians some respect. In Berlin I've actually had driver's SPEED UP if they thought I was crossing the street when they had the right of way (to teach me a lesson I guess....) and yes, as usual, at those times I was pushing the double buggy. Look Berliners, I'm not one of those irritating moms who blocks the sidewalk with their buggy or jams her way through a crowd. All I want is a little consideration and respect. Is that seriously too much to ask?
3. Groceries are so much cheaper here
Lest I fall merely into an anti-Berlin tirade, I can say that food here is a hell of a lot cheaper than it is in the states. In both California and Nebraska I raised my eyebrows at the high prices every time I went to the store; ultimately, it is probably cheaper to just eat out. Yesterday, at Netto I bought some radishes for 25 cents, a cucumber for 69 cents, a liter of milk for 49 cents (and people have complained over the past few years about the higher prices of milk....) The most ridiculous experience I had was at a small grocer near Bodega Bay. All I bought there was a carton of orange juice, a gallon of milk and a carton of eggs and it cost nearly 15 dollars. It was an overpriced place off of Highway 1, but still! At Netto I bought enough food for four or five seperate meals, including a lot of meat, and it only cost me 23 Euros. Thanks Berlin for feeding me so well for so cheap!
To change the subject entirely, I bought a new lens when I got to Cali. Here are some of my favorite first shots, all taken in Alameda, California which is my mom's new home.