As if the “Present Box” wasn’t enough to make me smile on my way to do the grocery shopping, this mobile telephone box turned Bibliothek has just popped up a few yards away. You take a book, and if you have one spare, you leave one back. I’ve picked up a German copy of Sue Townsend’s Downing Street No. 10. I sent an over-zealous email of gratitude to the group that organises these things. Unfortunately it came back to me instantly with a notice that delivery had failed permanently. So if you’re reading, good people at Dorf Dienst, I love your telephone box-library.
I’ve been sitting in a cosy café, on a brown leather sofa, ordering coffee derivatives all day. I can’t describe how grateful I am for the free Wifi they provide. A fuse blew in my flat last night and I’ve been forced to shower in the dark and to plug the kettle into one of the remaining functioning sockets in my bedroom. When the water boils, it looks like my carpet is breathing. At least I haven’t been deprived of my last remaining comfort: a cup of tea in my Chinese mug which comes with a lid and in-built filter.
Today is a public holiday in Germany. Berliners are supposed to be celebrating national unity but I suspect they are all sleeping. The streets are eerily empty. It took me ages to find a coffee shop open. Even Starbucks has closed its doors. My plight seems all then more acute today of all days, given that a personal wall has been erected between me and the outside world.
I can do without lolcats and Youtube and even breaking news. But I find it deeply distressing to be without contact to family and friends. Katekatharina.com lives and breathes off a web of readers Googling things like “Armpit hair.” I’m yet to encounter a person who stumbles across me in real life with the same enquiry. When you begin blogging, you write to a void, but over time that develops into a small and precious collection of loyal readers who are kind enough to read your twitterings as soon as they’re posted.
I have now sat through an entire shift here. The waitress who served me my iced latté and more recently my cappuccino, has been replaced by a blonde lady with an impressive pony tail and crinkly scarf. I am relieved because the new staff do not know for how long I’ve been here (though I suspect the waitress from before may have warned them of my infinite presence). They are tactful and haven’t asked me once to re-order. I’m going to show my gratitude by ordering a third beverage shortly.
Anyway, on a happier note, I was delighted to find out that I’ve been chosen as a finalist in the Blog Awards Ireland. I’m terribly sorry not to be able to attend the ceremony. I wonder if the organisers would consider streaming it online.. They’d have one avid viewer in west Berlin for sure. Check out the wonderful bloggers in my category here: The Style Account, Wise Words, Nialler9 and Iblogfashion.
When I next get online, I will tell you about the old man for whom I called an ambulance last night. I might even tell you a little about my new job. In the meantime, do send me a text. It’s my last remaining way to instantly communicate.
The word Erfolgserlebnis means experience of success but the usage in German is much more subtle than that.
If you win the lottery or get a great job, you don’t have an Erfolgserlebnis; you’re simply “erfolgreich”, or “successful.” But if you finish a particularly tricky Sudoku or make a delicious apple pie, you have an “erfolgserlebnis.”
My first erfolgserlebnis in Berlin was finding my hostel successfully. I am notorious for having no sense of direction. That’s still the case but because I was so anxious before I came here, I took extensive notes of the landmarks which I could expect to see when I got out of the Strassenbahn. When I then managed to find the hostel without difficulty by identifying the gigantic Fernseher Turm: the tower which was covered in mist that time I almost died while climbing the Victory Column I positively glowed with success.
My second erfolgserlebnis was finding out that there’s a marzipan flavour of Milka chocolate and that you can buy it for just 57 cent at Kaufland. I plan to stock up this weekend.
My third erfolgserlebnis was last Friday, when I had my first article published on Spiegel Online. I was convinced I would be the first intern not to have anything published so when the story came up and my ridiculous name appeared in the byline I was more than chuffed. I was smiling so stupidly on the U-Bahn on the way home that I had to hide my face in my scarf to avoid offending the other passengers.
On the way home that night I bought myself some raspberry flavour beer. Since making friends is still on my “to do” list, that evening it was just me and the cat.
After heating up some of my leftovers, I decided it was high time I settled down with some of the local brew.
Then, in one of my life’s more unfortunate epiphanies, I discovered I usually drink beer in company and often with with LSB, who is kind enough to open the bottle.
Now that I have become emancipated, I had to search helplessly for a way in to the promising brew.
I have seen cool people open beer bottles with their teeth, or by levering the edge of the lid against a counter-top.
I tried both these things. Then, remembering about the evolution of tools, I searched for a bottle opener.
I scoured the kitchen and then grabbed a little implement triumphantly from the drawer.
After several minutes, I realised that I was trying to open my bottle of beer with a garlic crusher.
This, dear readers, was not an example of an Erfolgserlebnis.
For the anxious among you, I did eventually manage to find a bottle opener and savoured the raspberry beer all evening long. Would recommend.