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REBECCAH DEAN Posts

What I’m Reading At The Moment

In my reading habits, I’m often polyamorous. Occasionally, a book is like a new, exclusive lover: I can’t wait to start reading. I happily linger in bed for hours, sucked into the story and thrilled with each turn of the page. But most of the time, I read several books at once, choosing whichever one fits my mood. Novels I always finish eventually, non-fiction and short shory collections I finish sometimes. Here’s what I’m chipping away at these days: Der Zauberberg I don’t read enough fiction in German. The first couple of years I lived in Berlin, I hit up…

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Daddy’s Girl

My sister’s first truly serious boyfriend lived in the in-law unit of a rundown Victorian on Ashby Avenue, a few houses from the corner to Shattuck. Before I met him, I remember wondering who lived in that house. I was in my very early twenties and still not much of a driver and turning left onto Shattuck from Ashby was always a semi-traumatic experience. I’m not sure why I made so many left turns onto Shattuck, but for some reason I did. I guess that’s why I noticed the house. It was always the last thing I saw before I…

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Stubborn Late Adopter

When God decided which attributes to grant my character and countenance as I was knit together in my mother’s womb, I believe it went down like this: Omnipotent one: A sense of direction? Nah, this one doesn’t need that. Why don’t we give her the uncanny ability to remember useless animals facts no one really needs to know instead? The result of his/her decision, declared in the royal we? I can literally get lost walking around the block, like I did in Vancouver, Canada when I was 17. But did you know kangaroos have three vaginas and a group of…

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Help Her, She’s Poor

Have I ever told you how much I fucking love Germany? As I watch my country be ripped apart by unbridled neo-liberal heartlessness, cynicism turned reality and sometimes downright unhinged psychosis—and yes, this makes me angry, but mostly it just breaks my heart—I appreciate my adopted country Germany all the more. Germany’s social welfare system already gave me free university. It gave me Elterngeld (parents’ money) the two years I stayed home when my daughters were small. It gave me affordable, full-time childcare which was absolutely free once my daughters turned three. It gives me 364 euros a month Kindergeld…

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Laurie Anderson Live In Berlin

Last night I saw Laurie Anderson live at Haus der Kulturen der Welt  in Berlin. Her show ‘The Language of the Future’ was the closing act for Transmediale – festival for art and digital culture Berlin, an event which has taken place annually since 1988. I was a huge Laurie Anderson fan back in college. I still remember buying used copies of her CDs at Amoeba Music on Telegraph Avenue, all stashed away under the section Arists A. I bought everything of Laurie’s I could get my hands on, but my two favorites albums were Bright Red and The Ugly…

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Mentors

My eight-year-old daughter Lilly is sometimes an impatient, self-doubting perfectionist. She picks up a pen and draws a picture of a monkey (the girl really has a thing for monkeys) only to sigh a minute later. “Mama, I can’t draw.” The same goes for reading clocks, swimming, doing timetables. “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t,” after only five minutes of trying. “Practice makes perfect,” I tell her, dipping into the golden store of parental cliches. But I don’t tell her how hard it sometimes is for me to follow the same advice. I’ve gotten better about this with writing. Somewhere along the…

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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…

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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;…

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Schnauze, Berliner Schnauze!

If you’ve ever spent time in Berlin, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve experienced Berliner Schnauze. Berliner Schnauze (Berlin big mouth) is what locals call the direct, unfriendly attitude of native Berliners which often involves yelling at perfectly nice, well meaning strangers such as yourself who happen to be breaking zeh rulez. In the video below, I explain a little about why this happens (if such a thing can be explained), how to deal with it and what you can do to avoid it. Viel Spaß! Here’s the German phrases I mention in the video: Entschuldigung, ich wusste nicht, dass…

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