Skip to content

Category: Random Life

Winter, Du Nervst!

As the great German writer and statesman Johann Wolfgang von Goethe once said, “Oh, winter in Berlin, the cruelest of all seasons! If I were but a bear, nestled in my darkest cave, slumbering from November until the very Ides of April.” Ok, so Goethe didn’t really say that. But if he had, he’d be so right. One winter in Berlin is enough to transform even the most cheerful Pollyanna into a Ms. Gloomy Wednesday for a good five months. SAD is a real thing, my friends. Oh yes, indeed, it is. But before you roll your eyes and blame my Berlin…

Leave a Comment

A Dark Day

January 20, 2017, the day Washington fell into the hands of billionaire bigots, zealots and neoliberal goons, with a twittering, tantrum-prone ten-year-old at the helm, immature for his age. Part of me still can’t believe it happened, like maybe I’ll wake up soon, white knuckling a pillow, and tell my husband, “Oh my god, I just had the most terrible dream.” Never have I been happier to be an expat. But no matter how long I live abroad, I am and always will be an American. Here in Berlin, 5,654 miles away from where I grew up, I’m still heartbroken;…

Leave a Comment

What Do You Want From Us?

In 1998, about six months before I moved to Berlin, I got a full-time job at a call center in the Embarcadero for a company called Aegis. The company offered a mortgage acceleration program; they took people’s mortgage payments out of their bank accounts with a certain amount consistently added on top of the principle, so their mortgage was paid off at a faster rate. The program was on the pricey side and stupid really, since in theory anyone could do this by themselves. But I didn’t really mind it because we were allowed to be honest. When people called…

Leave a Comment

Poor Old Me

What am I anyway? A hair on the left hindleg of a microscopic mite, a single speck of plankton in an ocean upwelling fifteen miles long. No one, niemand, nada, nichts. Yes folks, welcome to my own private pity party, a regular nobody-likes-me-I-guess-I’ll-go-eat worms affair. Ach Rebeccah, why so glum? Dunno. Maybe it’s the birthday blues 71 days too early. Maybe it’s the eve of a Berlin winter, when it’s already dusk at 4:30 in the afternoon, when sleet and ice and snow are a daily affair, when the sun disappears behind an unmoving blanket of gray and won’t come back…

Leave a Comment

Awesome, Amazing And Cool

This video gives you a little tour of my apartment and I just noticed the three words I use most often are awesome, amazing and cool. What can I say? I like my life. 😉 Here are a few links to the things I mention in the video: For art by Christoph Preussmann (not Preussler like I say in the video): click here For my brother in law’s work, click here You can read about L’Inconnue de la Seine here and check out different stuff I’ve done with the mask in my etsy shop, Augenblickphoto. I’ll be closing the shop…

Leave a Comment

EFL 1: The SKB

I started my “career” in teaching English as a Foreign Language in 2001. I wrote “career” instead of career because, other than selling macrame potholders and hemp seed salad dressing at the farmer’s market or getting stoned and watching telenovelas all day when you don’t speak Spanish, there’s nothing more hippie and/or slacker-like than teaching EFL. At least where I started: the Sprach- und Kulturbörse, SKB for short, a language and culture institute tied to Technische Universität Berlin. The SKB was formed in 1989 by a couple of left-wing sociology students who used the winter semester strike of 88/89—which they most likely…

1 Comment

Living Life in the Present Progressive

I’ve been teaching EFL for many years which has definitely made me a bit of a grammar junkie. There’s something very satisfying about being able to contrast the past simple and the present perfect in your sleep and knowing why a sentence like I will study economics sounds a little stiff and strange. Although I don’t do much actual teaching anymore, I have recently started working as a TEFL trainer. Most of my students are either in their early 20s or early 50s with not too much in between. I find it so endearing how motivated they are, how on fire…

Leave a Comment

Big In Japan

When I was twelve, I was sure we had an underground cave inside the hill in our backyard. It was there, full of stalagmites and stalactites and an underground lake if I was lucky. All I had to do was find the entrance. But I wasn’t some pre-teen explorer; if I found the cave, I knew I could charge at least five dollars admission. This was not my first get-rich-quick scheme. When I was a kid in Arizona, I was sure the waxy coating inside palo verde seed pods was pure rubber, which, of course, meant they were extremely valuable.…

Leave a Comment