Sunday, November 25, 2012

Late Autumn in Berlin

Time for a bit of general Berlin updates! (Math teachers who are not interested in this: Sorry, go ahead and move along in your GReader.)

October and November have been fairly busy months for us! First, the Jersey boys came to visit during Oktoberfest. It was a very rowdy good time (we had rented a house in the heart of Munich), and Geoff got all kinds of nostalgic thinking about how this might be the last time -- minus our wedding -- that they could have crazy, random experiences like this, since all the boys are nearing that age when they are thinking about settling down for good...

By the way, I don't know if you have ever been to Oktoberfest, but there they build these huge tents (like the one you see below) for only the month of that festival. It's incredibly hard to get in on Fridays and Saturday nights to one of the big tents, so we had to bribe the bouncers. Once you get in, the tent gets more and more crowded and crazier and crazier as the day rolls on...

While the boys were still here in Germany, we rented a Bier Bike, which is a mobile bar that you can pedal around Berlin while singing out loud and waving at people. We blasted Queen's Bicycle Race several times during the course of two hours on the bike, and we kept going afterwards to a hipster restaurant called White Trash, followed by karaoke until about 3am. It's very Berlin to have a bunch of random experiences all in one day, because this city is just organic and crazy!

Soon after the boys left, I heard via the grapevine that the Berlin Light Show was about to come to an end, and that it was cool to see the light show from the top of the Berlin Reichstag (Congress Hall). I didn't even know that you could make an appointment to visit the Reichstag at night! We had only been there once during the day. So, on a Sunday night in late October, we walked around Berlin to enjoy the light festivities on the famous monuments, and then went up the Reichstag.

Halloween was a bit quiet this year. On the actual day of Halloween itself, we had German class, so I went to class as normal and only wore my cat ears to be festive. My non-American classmates thought it was funny that I would celebrate this type of holiday still in costume. On the way back, I was impressed to see a holiday graffiti at the subway station, since it was quite a production and you know graffiti artists are seriously prosecuted by the subway officials. Later during the weekend, we went to a party where Geoff dressed up as the recycling goddess (he made a hula hoop skirt out of toilet paper rolls that we had collected for over 6 months, and also he made a busty bikini top out of cut-out juice containers), and I was dressed as eine Katz im Sack zu verkaufen, which means I was a cat inside a trash bag, with a for-sale sign taped to the bag. In German, "buying a cat in a bag" means to purchase something (such as a used car or an old building) without having seen it, so you don't really know how it's going to behave afterwards. In other words, I was playing off a German pun, but Germans don't really get why Americans would dress up as non-scary things for Halloween, so it was a fairly obscure costume...

Then, there was the Sparkle Army party this year! The Sparkle Army is an annual party at our favorite karaoke place, where if you dress up in sparkles then you can get in for free. We have some friends who have been going every year for about 5 or 6 years (since the inception of this idea). The slogan of the party is, amazingly, "More is more!" They really want to spread the word of sparkle. Last year we went to the party, but we were pretty last-minute about the preparations. This year, since I had coincidentally run into the Sparkle Army girls while they were shopping for supplies a weekend in advance, I went ahead and made advance preparations. We ended up bringing 20 of our people to the party. It was a blast!!

To give you just a small taste of why this party is awesome, here was actually some random guy (not one of our friends) with an absolutely awesome outfit. He even had slippers with glitter bulbs glued on, and there were stuffed animals sewn onto his pink tutu. Faaaaan-freakin-tastic!

whew. That's all the fall updates for now. December will get its own story, when it's time... My friend comes to visit this Friday, to enjoy Christmas markets in Berlin with us. I have planned already a Christmas market crawl -- in Santa Claus outfits (a la Santa Convention style, like you can find in some major cities in the States). I can't wait! Our cheap Santa costumes will get delivered on Wednesday, and we bought the most hilarious-looking ones with a funny-looking shoulder cape... Let the Christmas season begin!

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