I don’t know how to start this post except to say that the difficulties mounted this week. Olivia passed away.

You may remember the posts I wrote about my sweet little cavalier, and how worried I was about importing her. About two months before we moved she began to get sick, but our vet assured us that it was only a food intolerance and that she was fine. She wasn’t. Our vet here eventually diagnosed her with congenital renal failure. Our puppy barely had any kidneys at all.

She’s been gone one very lonely week.

And then we had visitors. Welcome visitors, wanted visitors, but such a low low followed by running around the city was too much for me. Yesterday I stayed in my pyjamas, watched Gilmore Girls, and cried while stuffing Cheezits (a well-timed present from our visitors) in my mouth. It was cathartic. Today I got dressed, went out for coffee, and watched Gilmore Girls. Progress.

There are still fun things for me to cover and some new trips in the future (Rome! Bavaria!), but for now I think I’ll do a little wallowing, maybe have a junk food binge, and finish Season 2.


Tadshikische Teestube, Mitte

Have you been to Berlin’s worst kept secret? The Tadshikische Teestube is one of my favorite places in the city.

I’m not sure why I was convinced for so long that the Teestube was so unknown. Maybe it was because of its original location in the Palais am Festunggraben. Once known as the Zentrale Hause der Deutsch-Sowjetischen Freundschaft or House of German-Soviet Friendship,  the Palais is tucked behind the Neue Wache, a memorial to the victims of war and dictatorship,  and from what I can tell, doesn’t see much foot traffic.  I was never comfortable going inside, it felt a bit forbidden, certain that at any moment a very stern woman with a very German haircut  would pop out of nowhere to shoo us out again. What else was in this palace, I have no idea, but the Teestube used to be upstairs and to the right. Not exactly an obvious spot for a cafe.
Now, however, its located in one of Mitte’s beautiful Höfe, just a few doors down from the Neue Synagogue
We made a reservation so that we could drinking our tea lounging on pillows, but there were plenty of tables outside if you feel like just wandering by. Most of the other customers seem to be just stopping by for a quick drink, but we opted for the full Russian tea ceremony. For two people,  it comes with something like this.
 Off to the side, and unfortunately cut out of my photo, is a very lovely samovar filled with very good tea.
S was especially excited about the cookies. It was her first time there and she’s been taking about THE COOKIES for days. Frankly. THE COOKIES are not that exciting unless you are a 5 year old who has never been allowed to manage your own cookie intake. I’ve never had anything other than the Russian tea service at the Teestube, and I’m looking forward to going back to try more dishes. I might have to go without S, so that I can indulge in my own version of THE COOKIES for the Russischer Zupfkuchen.

happy purim!

Purim was this weekend,which means we ate Hamantaschen and I finally won S over to Team Poppyseed.





Usually I bake them, but was feeling lazy this year so we ordered them from a bakery. We did make these, however.



Hamantaschen necklaces! Beige construction paper, plus “filling colored” construction paper,tape and yarn. I trust you don’t need instructions, because  that’s as crafty as this blog is going to get.

holiday conversations

For a while I thought S had resigned herself to her new life in California. I was wrong. A few days ago she started asking about Germany again – maybe her its her internal clock telling her its time for snow and Baumkuchen.

For example, her first most recent mention went something like this:

“Did you know its almost time for Chanukah?”


She was later pacified with a bag of gelt. and did you know that latkes can be used for your latest art project?


There was also this more contemplative mention, which came after S asked to go to the carousel at the mall. The usual carousel horses have been replaced with reindeer for the holidays, something that disturbs S greatly. I tried to explain it to her by telling her that the carousel horses went on vacation. She thought about this for a few moments before coming up with…

“Yeah, in Germany with Barack Obama”

Exactly, little girl, exactly.

Thanksgiving weekend

Somehow our Thanksgiving ended up very busy.

We learned how to swim

and ate pie for breakfast.


We blew bubbles


took the Laufrad out for a spin.



and sustained ourselves with more pie!



I successfully roasted a turkey breast


and we rewarded ourselves with shopping.

By the end I was exhausted – maybe I should have eaten more pie like S!