We are nearing the end of November and last year at this time we were in Spain. To ward off the Berlin blues last year we sublet our apartment and went to the southern coast of Spain for all of November. Ana works remotely and I didn’t have as many commitments here yet and our pups were elsewhere for the Fall so away we went! The days were a bit longer further south and so our return felt a little more festive.
This year with our two dogs, my school schedule and just more involvement around Berlin we decided it wasn’t the year to go away for a whole month this fall. So we are here for most of November (we were in Toronto for a few days) and we are definitely feeling the fallness moving into winter that is November in Berlin. The days all of a sudden seem so much shorter in daylight and the grey has definitely arrived around us. It is making us dream of sunny places for the Winter for sure but it hasn’t all been bad and we have settled into fall by embracing some of the highlights.
Ana sent me the above pic the other day as she was walking in Berlin and felt overwhelmed by the colors that had shown up. Every once in a while this fall we both have been struck by the amazing colors around us when the sun does peek through. When it is a beautiful day, I notice that people run to be outside and to try to catch a few vitamin D packed sun beams while we can. We live just a block from the canal, as you know dear reader, so every once in a while it catches me with color and fall vibrancy that I am trying to embrace.
We also have been trying to embrace things that present themselves to us as we move through the season. Ana and I found a new to us Tapas restaurant last week to celebrate her 5th anniversary as a permanent resident here in Berlin. We sat down and ordered what we love and cheersed our wine and then we noticed instruments warming up. Soon after our first plates were brought to our table, it was announced that Flamenco would start soon. My face lit up and it was decided that we would be staying much longer than we anticipated because…Flamenco! It was really great! It immediately reminded us of where we were a year ago but also gave us both great delight. We ordered more wine and settled in and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Last night I fully embraced my fall cozy craving of Mac and Cheese and with my mom’s recipe in hand, I set out to find the right kind of cheese and elbow macaroni (a bit harder to find here as well as cheddar). I came home and whipped up the batch of mac and we both relished every bite. I have been struggling with colds these past few weeks and finally my body was asking for comfort so we indulged and it was good.
And with November comes the first feels of Advent and Christmas. Last year when we came back to Berlin, Christmas was in full bloom here with markets and lights. This year I get to see these things go up. Yesterday on the way to the UBahn I saw the Platz Christmas tree go up and I see the advertisements for the markets appearing. In fact, I may go to one this weekend and if not this weekend, next weekend for sure. I am embracing the allowance of earlier celebrations and festive moods. I am writing my extended Advent posts and living into the season of darkness a bit more.
In addition, Ana and I are opening our Advent calendars to countdown our trip to the States to celebrate Christmas there….an added bonus of anticipation.
And finally school in November. I had my first paper, my first presentation and lots of reading due this month so far. I am embracing my older student status and all that entails…asking extra questions, not holding too much anxiety, and trying to be there for younger students if they want conversation, guidance, etc. I am loving the program and what I am learning. And above all I am trying to keep the balance I have learned to be so valuable here although I find myself getting busier into places I thrive.
Not such a bad November!