Givin' it Another Go

:: Clears Throat ::     I'm back!!

Ok, I'll admit I never really left. I did, however, end up first being forcibly disallowed to post to my travel blog (more on this later) and then had some major life changes which led to me not wanting to continue my blog due to certain associations I had with it (you'll have to be content with that last explanation). But, I've taken my leave, done some personal growing and searching, and am ready to give this thing another go.

I did keep a (ok, several) paper journals 'en place de' this blog, so I will be publishing them as a 'backlog' in the next couple of weeks. Also, you will likely start to see some changes with this blog, including a potential shift in platforms (I haven't decided how far my complete reclaiming is going to go yet).

Let's give it another go, eh?

Everybody wants to be a cat!

Kleo (kleopatra), the mama cat at our home in Werneuchen.

UP/ICJA 2te Arbeitswoche (Feb. 7 – Feb. 11): DONE!

Naehen, Naehen, Naehen!  (Sewing, Sewing, Sewing!)

The dance studio has a public performance in two weeks, so most of my time at work this week was spent repairing and altering costumes. The dance costumes are made from a lycra based fabric, for stretch and ease of movement. However, for some strange reason, the company that sewed the costumes for TwS (Tanzwerkstatt) used a non-stretch fabric for the chest band of the dress. Therefore, if the girls grow at all the dress no longer fits. ::sigh::  I just made a simple fix for the costumes, but I stressed to the other organizers that the chest bands need to be completely reworked with stretch fabric to make these costumes last as long as they need.

The week really wasn’t that busy. In fact, I think I would call it comfortable. I wasn’t running around like crazy, but I always had something to do, which I really liked. Next week I get to start sitting in on classes and preparing a formula for leading my own class!

Lex has also installed Wifi in the studio, so we can now check our emails and do our work from our own laptops! Woohoo!

UP/ICJA 1ste Arbeitswoche (Jan. 31 - Feb. 4): DONE!

Hurrah! Ich lebe noch! (Hooray! I'm still alive!)

Our first Arbeitswoche (work week) in Germany is over, and we (Lex and I) both survived!  I confess it wasn't that strenuous. Our main 'project' this week was to help keep the studio clean during the Theaterwoche, to meet everyone working (currently) at Tanzwerkstatt, and to help out whenever the teachers asked.  This doesn't sound like very much, but trust me; 35 children (ages 4-11) being cooped up in a building for 7 hours a day means LOTS of cleaning and an extra set of hands to help is always wanted.

Berlin schools were all closed for Winterferien (Winter break) this week, so the dance studio offered a 5 day long theater day camp for children wishing to learn about performance art, crafting, and Tanzwerkstatt No Limit. The kids got to experiment with different forms of performance theatre (theatre, dance, story/radio theatre, and also crafting simple stage props and picture stories. The children had a blast dabbling in everything, and the parents really seemed to enjoy the exhibition at the end of the week. :o)

Next week is supposed to be more like the 'norm', as it won’t be a holiday week. I'm looking forward to that, as it means I'll have more to do, but also wondering just HOW strenuous it’s going to be... I don't think it will be too bad, as we are only supposed to work 35hrs/week. We are supposed to have a more ‘set’ work schedule laid out by the end of this coming week.

UP/ICJA Quest: Host-Mutter Behm's Salatesosse u. Kaese-Kartoffeln.

Last Saturday we drove to Bernauer for some 'richtiges Einkaufen' (proper shopping) at the E-Center (Can you guess what the E stands for?). Our main goal was groceries and SIM cards, which we completed with ease.  However, with several hours of shopping, 2 hours walking the dog, and nothing but a traditional Deutschefruehstuck (German Breakfast, which consists of rolls, butter, cheese, jam, and coffee), poor Lex and I were exceptionally hungry by 6:00pm, when we got back to Werneuchen.

Though I am fairly certain these recipes are, in fact, truly delicious, I cannot be sure how tainted my perception was by my hunger that night. :o)
Guten Appetite!

Salatesosse (Salad dressing)
2-3 spoonfuls of fragrant Olive Oil
2-3 spoonfuls of lightly reduce Balsamic Vinegar (this vinegar should be distilled from grape, apple, and pear juice, or similar fruits)
1 spoonful of Clover Honey
Salt, Pepper, Tuscan spice blend, and Middle Eastern spice blend

Whisk all of these ingredients together in a salad bowl. Toss with salad greens to coat.

Kaese-Kartoffeln (Cheese Potatoes)
1 kg small/baby golden potatos, boiled
100-150g shredded Swiss cheese
Salt, pepper, olive oil

Preheat oven to 375F (C).
Quarter the potatos and place in a heavy casserol dish. Drizzel olive oil over the potatoes and sprinkle on salt and pepper to taste. Toss gently to coat.
Sprinkle the Swiss cheese evenly over the potatos.
Place in the middle of the preheated oven and bake until the cheese is melted and the edges have started to turn brown.

UP/ICJA Quest: Host-Family, The First Days.

On January 27th our host family picked us up. We enjoyed a nice meal at their favorite Indian restaurant (which was DELICIOUS! I had the Chicken Tandoori and Lex had Snapper in red sauce), and then to their favorite Cafe for an after lunch espresso (in my experience this is very typically German after enjoying a large meal). It was wonderful to be able to speak German freely (during the Orientation Camp we were asked to speak English as not everyone could speak German), and I was very proud of Lex for practicing his German and enthusiastically participating in our conversations.

The Behms (our host family) drove us around Berlin center, pointing out important landmarks and sharing some of their own personal stories growing up in Eastern Germany/Eastern Berlin and living through the imposition and destruction of the Berliner Mauer (Berlin Wall). Since both are artists (Our Host-Vatter (Host Father) is a percussionist (specialties are set/trap) and Host-Mutter (Host Mother) is a dancer (performer) and dance instructor) and both grew up in artistic families, their stories tended to focus on performance art and the use of performance art in political demonstrations. It's absolutely fascinating and I can't wait to learn more!

UP/ICJA Quest: My Birthday 'Cake'.

Here is the recipe the incredible master cook Maggi used for my birthday dessert during the In-Country Orientation Camp. No, there are no measurements, as Maggi, like all true Greek women, cooks by taste only.

Baking apples of choice (think one apple per person)
Whole Cloves
Almond slivers

Preheat the oven to 350F (C).

Wash and core the apples, taking care to keep the bottom of the apple intact. Butter the outside of each apple lightly then stud each apple with a few whole cloves.

Fill each apple with some tahini and honey, topping with the almond slivers.

Bake until a fork or sharp knife inserts easily into the side of the apple.

Serve warm as is, or with unsweetened cream (cinnamon or vanilla ice cream would be delicious, too!). Or, cool and serve cold. (They are great for breakfast, too!)