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REBECCAH DEAN Posts

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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Bowie And The Last Of The High School Virgins

January 10, 2016 I’m in the middle of a big translation project for a tourism company here in Berlin and the project is due at the end of the week, but fuck: how can I translate a text about Hitler’s Bunker when the Thin White Duke is dead? I take a break I can’t afford to record a song in Bowie’s honor. Bowie: 1. Hitler: 0. In high school, Bowie was my musical god, right up there with the Violent Femmes and the Ramones. I had a light gray cassette of his greatest hits which I listened to while showering…

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Pretty Voice

When I was in my early teens, I started taking piano lessons. My teacher also taught classical voice and, at some point, my sister started taking singing lesson with her.  One day my sister couldn’t come to the lesson and the teacher—she probably just didn’t want to loose the money—suggested I take her place. We went through some of the Italian art songs every beginning classical singer learns. It’s such a shame these songs around mostly sung (i.e., slaughtered) by novice singers, because many of them are extremely beautiful. Here’s Cecilia Bartoli doing one of the most widely sung Italian…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Berlin Or Bust

At the dawn of a Trump presidency, I’m sure some of you are thinking about moving to Berlin or somewhere else in Germany. If you need any advice on your options or how to jump through all the inevitable bureacratic hoops, click here to get in touch with the good people at Expath, an organization specializing in helping out expats and expat wannabes with such issues. Since I’ve lived in Berlin for 17 years, I thought I’d do a series of videos where I talk about some of the cultural aspects you’ll face if you decide to move to here.…

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