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REBECCAH DEAN Posts

With Love From A Berkeley Girl

About a year and a half ago I wrote the following personal essay and started sending it out to see if I could get it published somewhere. It has since been rejected ten times and I stopped sending it out a while ago, just letting it sit for a bit. I re-read the piece today and realized the first six pages had to go. It was a lot of backstory about my parents, my upbringing (or lack thereof), which might be vaguely interesting for someone to read who doesn’t know me, but the real story only took off on page…

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The Mittenwalder Boys and X-Berg Schooling

When American friends and family come to visit me, the first thing they always say about my street Mittenwalder Strasse is: Wow, there’s a lot of graffiti here. They always say “a lot of graffiti” like it means something, and the something it means isn’t good. For the most part, I don’t really notice the graffiti and I don’t think it means much of anything, at least not anymore. What I do notice is our street isn’t particularly beautiful, but then again, what is beautiful in Berlin other than the woods, a couple hundred Treppenhäuser in Charlottenburg and maybe Prenzlauer…

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What I’m listening to today

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I love many different kinds of music, but my heart belongs to jazz. What I love about jazz is that it offers a chance for constant change. You have a tune, but instead of playing it straight like you do in basically any other kind of music, you have the chance to improvise, to reinvent, to listen and react, to stay playful. And jazz can mean so many different things. I just googled types of jazz and was given 44 different subgenres, although I’m sure this is by no means an exhaustive list. This…

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Citizenship Based Taxation and FATCA, i.e. the Bane of My Existence

So I just filed my US tax return and now I need stiff drink to recover. I made this little video earlier today to complain about it to the world. I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m just whining in the video, because citizenship based taxation (CBT) and FATCA are actually serious problems for many Americans and green card holders abroad. Thanks to FATCA, a lot of ordinary American expats can’t get a mortgage or business loan; in some cases, they can’t even open a simple bank account in the country where they live and work. Although many countries have…

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E tu Germania?

Maybe it was naive, but I really thought Germany would stay immune to the rot of right-wing populism that keeps rearing its ugly head these days. When I first moved to the country, I was amazed at how well they had dealt with the evils of their past. A culture of remembrance whose credo was “never again” was present everywhere; Germans carried the burden of their crimes and fostered critical thinking, sometimes to the point of being slightly annoying (isn’t there any irrational subjectivity in this country, I’d wonder, occassionally even missing my father’s Republican rants…) Sure, Germany still had…

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What I’m Listening To Today

Yesterday I had lunch with a friend of my mom’s who came to Berlin for an intensive tango course. Her name is also Rebecca but without an h, and I met her in August when my mom was in town and we hit it off. Today she’s flying back home to the “real” Northern California, as in five hours north of the Bay Area which still insists on calling itself NorCal, because they irrationally hate the folks down south. We ate at my beloved Hallesches Haus which both of us agreed could just as easily be in California, with it’s…

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Holy Hell, Haruki

  As I wrote in this post, I had a nice list of books I planned to read this summer. But things ended up a little differently than planned. Here’s the low-down: I finished Adichie’s Americanah and liked it a lot. It’s not the kind of book I normally read, but a friend of mine who occasionally leads workshops in Eithopia loved it, so I thought I’d give it a try. The book made me think about race and white priviledge in a way I don’t think I ever have before. It’s smart and at times hilariously scathing; she’s definitely got…

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For Cleansing The Buttocks

Dear Reader, I’m writing this post at the second part of my summer travels 2017, in the tiny village of Dolbeau in the Coëx commune in western France. But as you can see from the picture to the right (or my left or is it the other way around, says this spatial thinking flunky…), my adventures this summer started in Tokyo. I visited a friend who was living there for two months and the city absolutely blew my mind. Here’s a summary of what I dug the most. The Toilets Heated seats, three kinds of bidets, driers, privacy settings to disguise…

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Warning: Pity Party Ahead

Dear Reader, So, I haven’t been around for a while and yes, I suppose there is a reason and that reason is I’ve been in a bit of a funk. Could it be the weather? Partly, it is. In Berlin, summer is an optional season. I’ve lived here for 18 years now (holy fuck, 18 years!!) and for the first 15 little old California me complained anytime I had to so much as wear a cotton sweater in July during the day. I mean, come on Berlin, I put up with your is-this-Mordor-or-is-this-winter? for almost six months ( dark all…

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