McClarKinnon Adventures — January in Berlin
We hope you are doing well. We have several half-written blog posts to share more updates with you — about Nürnberg, all of the Christmas Markets in Berlin, the joys and challenges of living abroad, what is like moving from place to place, a cool light show that happened in Berlin, and — as the ultimate example of how behind we are on updates — a fantastic hike in a Croatian national park on the 4th of July.
But while we get our act together, we thought it would be nice to share an update from January in Berlin. It was a pretty low-key month for us. Our friend Nick recently wrote in an email about our lives abroad: “ [I am] immensely jealous of your adventures, though it maybe isn’t as glamorous as I have it in my head.” That is the most accurate portrayal of our life abroad as we could state. It is absolutely amazing, and we LOVE exploring. But most weekends in January we’re running errands, trying to work on our taxes, doing meal prep for the week and/or fighting the urge to take a nap or binge something on Netflix.
January has been rather dull but Berlin on New Year’s Eve is anything but! Every store sells fireworks, and people set them off constantly. We bravely ventured out for dinner and a drink with Tessa early on New Year’s Eve; it was a challenge navigating back home and avoiding people setting off fireworks. It wasn’t just intoxicated 20-year-olds responsible for all the fireworks. We encountered MANY families of parents and kids standing outside their flat, setting off fireworks and poppers on the sidewalk. A four-year-old threw a firework on the ground a few feet from us while walking back to our flat. It was obnoxious.
This video has not been edited. It may be too dark to see much, but this is what it sounded like on NYE at 8pm. Several groups of people were in the park in the middle of the video setting off fireworks. And you can hear in the distance the amount of popping.
This was what the streets looked like the next day.
After a loud beginning, January continued slowly due to Justin being sick for the first 9–10 days of the month. But we still managed to visit a few museums that had been on our list to check out. We went to the Wall Museum (better known as the Checkpoint Charlie Museum), which was interesting but poorly organized and overwhelming. For folks visiting Berlin this year, we’re not going to recommend this museum.
We also visited the DDR museum, which was very interesting. There were a lot of facts about life in East Germany. The museum was interactive and geared towards a variety of ages. Justin watched someone cry, remembering a Bruce Springsteen concert in East Berlin.
We also did a walking tour of the primary sights in central Berlin/Mitte. It covered places we had previously visited but provided more content and history to these locations.
January was a bit stressful as pet owners. Gizmo ended up getting very sick, and we had an emergency visit to the vet. He has lost A LOT of weight (has gone from 15lbs in July to 9lbs now) and his blood sugar was not stable. We had six vet appointments in January for Gizmo with blood drawn each time. The good news is that he is back to normal — meaning that he, from time to time sprints around the room, howls to be let in (or out) of any room with a closed door, and even tries to grab food out of our bowls. We’ve landed on a diabetes-management plan that seems to fit him better and after a few weeks struggling to get him to eat, we seem to have found some solutions that work now. This photo is him helping with German homework.
Tessa was sick for about four days too, which was unexpected. She has never been ill in the 4+ years we’ve had her. We canceled plans to explore a new park and neighborhood to take her back home after she vomited four times in 15 hours. The last time was out on the street. A combination of water and poop bags helped us clean up the spot, which was unfortunately in front of an all-you-can-eat sushi spot. We relaxed the rest of the rainy weekend catching up on Glow on Netflix and going to watch an English showing of Knives Out (with German subtitles). We highly recommend both.
A few miscellaneous moments from January.
Paige’s company started an Instagram feed for the dogs in the office. Tessa is one of the dogs that will be regularly featured on @DogsofCoya.
Justin has been shooting hoops twice a week for exercise. The court closest to our flat is near a day-care, and on one of the afternoons, he had nine 2–3 year-olds watching me, shouting instructions, cheering every time he made a shot, and groaning when he missed. It added some pressure.
Justin joined a co-working space this week. It’s a small office and a great group of people. Everyone is very friendly, and he has joined a few folks for lunch. There are also other dogs in the office too!
Justin keeps hoping for snow, but it’s unseasonably warm in Berlin. So warm that we recently saw that it was warmer in Berlin than CA (though it was 5:30am in CA).
But, for now we are enjoying the days getting longer (even if it’s still pretty gloomy) and are looking forward to small trips and outings planned throughout 2020. We promise to do our best to stay on top of those updates :)