Lake Stechlin

At the end of Fall break, we set out to visit Lake Stechlin which Ingm’s school is named after. The name “Stechlin” is well-known primarily as the title of a book by Th Fontante. I think of Fontane as the Berlin-regional Jane Austen as he writes about the trials and tribulations of the Prussian landed…

Budding Educational Sociology Comparativist

I recently wrote about my delight in seeing Berlin through my daughters’ eyes by hearing their observations. Well, let’s hear directly from Ingm now on her fieldwork as a junior comparative sociology researcher relying on participant observation and some limited action research in her Berlin elementary school:

Seasons Change

We have a nice view across a city park off our balcony and beyond across railroad tracks. Obvious place to observe seasonal change, too.

Kids’ Observations

I’ve always enjoyed school commutes with our kids for a nice time for conversation and hanging out with kids. Fresh air, somewhat purposeful walks… a nice setting to talk. A sabbatical with its (even more) flexibel schedule makes a lot of that possible and so far the girls haven’t asked us not to come along…

There Are So Many… Newspapers

I had been looking forward to the time in Germany for the newspaper-reading opportunities that it would offer. I realize that I date myself by being a dedicated newspaper reader (just like Twitter use = for old people), but there you go. I had anticipated cycling through different newspapers’ offers of trial subscriptions,for variety, but…

There Are Not So Many… Starbucks

I thought that Starbucks had become a very global phenomenon, and so it has. The brand is very present in (metropolitan) Japan and also China, so I had expected to see many branches in Berlin. Far from it. Yes, Starbucks sure exist, but I’ve seen a handful, not dozens. It’s not that there is a…

Playful Language: Smith’s Cat

One of the great joys of (multiple) languages is, of course, the discovery of new expressions, words, metaphors, etc. I don’t know if German is particularly rich in funny expressions, but I certainly enjoy them. Recently, my dad’s cousin (thus some kind of cousin to me) was talking about a fast car. What he said…

P.S.: Downtown Swimming

I recently wrote about a proposal to block off a portion of a canal in downtown Berlin as a step toward creating a swimming pool. I argued that this was an example of “trophy city planning”. Well, it appears that I’m at least potentially right about the “movement” part as the Munich-based Sueddeutsche Zeitung has…

Evaluating Market Fare

After two recent trips to the nearby market, some tasting notes: Donkey Salami Em and I have had the donkey salami now and it was very good. I couldn’t claim that I would  be able to distinguish it from other salami in a blind taste test, but it seemed to have a slight sweetness to…

There Are So Many… Cargo Bikes

… and so many different kinds too. Since I’ve decided to be a dedicated public transit user for the year, it’s not entirely clear to me what the bike routes look like, by they appear to be good enough that many people have decided that a dedicated cargo bike makes sense. The dominant demographic seems…

Dinosaurs of the Internet Age: Litfaßsäule

Some elements of urban life survive the communications revolution just fine, at least so far. These columns used to be as ubiquitous as phone booths. But while pay phones are gone the Litfaßsäule remains. Perhaps not on every corner, but on every other, at least in areas of the urban core. While they are advertisements,…

Dinosaurs of the Internet Age: Phone Booths

Yes, they still exist even when everyone in Germany seems to carry a “Handy” and even I felt pressured to join the mobile world when registering daughters for German schools. And here’s a more rural version paired with another dinosaur, the mailbox.