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REBECCAH DEAN Posts

Charlottenburg, Ich Hab’ Dich Gern

An old expat friend of mine had this theory that the part of Berlin you first move to is where you eventually return if the city becomes your permanent home, not just a year-or-two passing through until you go back to where you come from or, if you’re a millenial, move on to Barcelona or Lima or Koh Tao or wherever your little digital nomad heart takes you. (Sometimes I envy the selbstverständlich free roaming spirit of millenials, but that’s probably just me being your run-of-the-mill angsty GenXer). I’d say her theory works somewhat in practice, at least when it comes…

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Say Hi To God For Me

In early February, we went to Bavaria for the winter school holidays like we usually do. My husband and daughters went skiing and I hung out in the vacation apartment on a working farm in the tiny village of Winkl where I read, wrote, and took a long walks through the snowy woods. Whenever we go to this part of Bavaria I always ask myself why the hell we still live in Berlin. Sure, Berlin is exciting, but the city can also be incredibly unfriendly and downright exasperating. The weather is dark and damp and cold a good five months out…

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Back To The Drawing Board, But At Least I Can Be A Tourist In Berlin

I’ve been a little glum these past few weeks because 2018 is starting out differently that I hoped it would. Last fall I applied for two things I really wanted: a fellowship at A Public Space and the sexily named Working stipend for literature other than German. I’m an optimist by nature and I had a good feeling about both. The APS wanted three fellows (beginning and/or emerging writers) whose work “takes risks,” and what is my work if not risk-takey?  Plus their offices are on Dean Street in Brooklyn and, I mean, come on, the street is named after me.…

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My 25 Favorite Books And Then Some

  I’ve loved to read for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, I locked myself in the bathroom on Saturdays with a stack of books and didn’t leave until I’d finished all of them (luckily we had two bathrooms, or my sibling would have probably broken down the door.) Trips to the Nanini Library were something I got excited about. I spent many an hour in this cave in the Haunted Bookstore with a pile of pop-up books—I was pretty sure they were magic. Both of my daughters have inherited the reading bug, which is great. My older…

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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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