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Category: Expat Life

Telegraph Avenue Saved My Life

Ok, so maybe I’m exaggerating. But between the ages of 13 and 25, Telegraph Avenue was one of the most important places in my world. In my teens, I was on Telegraph at least twice a week, making a pilgrimage to Cody’s or Moe’s or standing in line at Fat Slice only to have the lead singer of the Counting Crows snatch up the last slice of vegetarian pizza right in front of me (true story). I drank my first cup of coffee at a cafe, long gone, on Durant Avenue across from Yogurt Park. Alright, I admit it: it…

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Not so different after all…

When I first moved to Berlin, Internet access at home was not a given and cell phones still had buttons and antennas. DVDs were the stuff of early adopters and video cassettes of films not dubbed into German were very hard to find. I took German classes at the Hartknackschule and hung out afterwards on Nollendorfplatz, terrified I might order my coffee wrong at Café Berio. A lot has changed in 17 years. Now you can hang out in Neukölln and only hear English for days. You can get a full-time job at a start-up developing a sandwich delivery app,…

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I Voted (the sticker proves it)

I moved to Berlin the last year of the Clinton administration. When Bush first got elected, I remember sitting in Cafe Rix, opening up a copy of Die Zeit and seeing a cartoon of George W. in a cowboy hat, swinging a Colt revolver. “Well, this can’t be good,” I thought. Little did I know his presidency would soon go from “not good” to very bad to downright terrifying. And I constantly got flack for it. “Hey, people. I didn’t vote for him.” I did still vote, even in the local California elections. I’d order an absentee ballot far in advance and…

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Why I’ve Considered Giving Up My Citizenship (Even Though I Don’t Want To)

  At first, I planned to live in Berlin a year, then head back to the US for graduate school. But a year became two, then three, then four. I stayed, fell in love, fell out of love, fell in love again, got married, started a family. I still remember taking my younger daughter to the US Embassy to get her first passport. Only six weeks old, she was dressed in a cow print onesie, complete with little plush horns on the hood. You can see my husband’s hand holding her up in the passport photo. Although my husband and…

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