Berlin and Back…plus a GIVEAWAY!

Remnants of the Berlin Wall

So last week I took a quick trip to Berlin to visit a friend of mine–fellow writer and agency sister, Amity the Awesome.

Despite having lived in Germany for over 2 years, I had yet to see the nation’s capital.

Turns out, Berlin is really darn cool–not to mention, REALLY darn different from southern Germany, where I live.

For one, the German language is different. I actually had a hard time following the speed with which people spoke (what can I say? We speak slooooow in the south…) and understanding the slang they used. Also, totally different accent/dialect.

For two, the houses and the buildings were different. We have a LOT of historical buildings in the south. Castles, churches, medieval villages…but up north (especially in Berlin) a lot of that stuff was destroyed during WWII. As a result, the buildings are…well, newer.

We went to this amazing museum about the history of Berlin, actually, and I learned about the Trümmerfrau, who were tasked with the MONUMENTAL job of clearing away all the rubble after Berlin was destroyed. Because most of the men were dead or prisoners of war, it fell to the women to clean up the 4 million destroyed homes. (Yes, I might have started crying in the museum when they showed videos of all these women working without complaint to clean up after a war they really weren’t a part of.)

Of course, there are a few “old places” still around–like this palace we visited in Postdam. The Schloss Sanssouci was home to Frederick the Great, King of Prussia back in the 1700s. He built this palace to be his personal hang-out/chillax villa…and I gotta say, it’s pretty spectacular.

That tiny dot is ME.
Amity is a freakin' TROOPER. She's über pregnant, yet managed to trek with me all day long.

One room has all this crazy gold stuff on the ceiling–leaves, branches, vines, and even spiderwebs.

Just look at those gold spiderwebs--complete with gold spiders.

And because Frederick the Great was just SO into “thinking” and “debating”, he had a special room designed to look like the Pantheon, where he entertained the great philosopher Voltaire on many occasions. (Voltaire’s bedroom was actually that jungle room above. As a result, that room is named the ‘Voltaire Room’.)

If I had as much money as ol' Frederick, this is NOT what I would build. Though it is undeniably cool.

What’s kind of terrible, though, is that we took almost NO pictures of ourselves. Like…this is the ONLY photo we took of ourselves, and it was quite by accident…and it’s not even all of Amity. Le sigh.

Sooz and half of Amity.

But as cool as all that palace stuff was, the highlight of the trip was definitely the gift Amity brought me. Honestly, this has to be the MOST THOUGHTFUL present ever transported across the Atlantic Ocean. EVER EVER.

She saw on my Halloween post that I was craving a certain kind of candy, and WA-BAM. She hands it to me on day 1 as if everyone just has corn candy lying around for gift-giving purposes.

Um, can we say 'best present EVER'?

Needless to say, the first moment I was alone, I ripped into those packages and gorged until I was sick. Bag #1 lasted all of one day. I have been smarter with bags 2 & 3 because THIS HAS TO LAST ME UNTIL NEXT HALLOWEEN. Or possibly forever (you never know when the apocalypse will strike, my friends).

I might've ripped into the bag Hulk-style and started gorging right away...

So now I’m back from Berlin and on strict candy corn rations. My NaNo days took a hit (you can totally look at my stats and tell which days I was in Berlin–can we say ‘NaNo Plateau’?), but I’m rejuvenated (all that high fructose corn syrup helps) and ready to write.


I have a present for you. 

This is for YOU

Germans are all about the advent calendars and and the Christmas cookies, so I decided I ought to share some of these fabulous German festivities with YOU. I’ve got an advent calendar and assorted cookies for you to place in said advent calendar, and it can ALL BE YOURS!

It's a little house advent calendar so you can get in the HOLIDAY SPIRIT!
Traditional Christmas cookies to place IN the above calendar.

The giveaway is open internationally, and I’ll announce the winner next Monday (and choose said winner via

Just leave a comment below for a chance to win.