Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"Magnesium White" at Wansee Beach

Strandbad Wansee

Today I went to Wansee beach with the kids I take care of. It was super fun and to add to that, it was a gorgeous day. I packed all my beach paraphanalia this morning, sunglasses, snacks, change of clothes and of course ... the bathing suit. I put it in my bag trying to ignore the anxious knot in my stomach caused by its presence. I used to hate wearing a bathing suit (and even skirts for that matter) because I hated my legs. I used to think they were not straight enough. Now I don't mind them so much anymore, but I have another issue. My skin. Yes, I have very fair skin. Porcelain skin, some have said. Overall, I like it. I like my white skin - except when I have to wear a bathing suit. It's not so much my face or shoulder or back or arm skin that bothers me, but my abdominal and leg skin is a problem. Because those areas don't get much exposure, they are super white. Really white. Pasty white. Practically green. Almost glowing! I'm so conscious of it, I feel like I'll blind people with it. And there's not much to do about it. I'm to lazy for regular spray tans. Maybe once in a while, here and there, but I know I'll never maintain it. Plus, it's fake. Turns me off a bit. And as it fades away, it can get blotchy. Maintaining it is too much work, whether professionally or DIY-ing it from an aerosol can. I'm also not a big fan of tanning booths or prolonged baking sessions in the sun due to the skin damage these cause. That means I'm doomed to accept my intensely white skin until a better fake tan technology comes about. Or I could live somewhere really sunny and let nature take its course. Even then, I would always be white ... but at least after a couple of years I'd be acceptably white.

Anyways ... I wore the bathing suit, a yellow and brown flower patterned two piece, and I paraded across the beach in my glow suit. I don't think I caused any severe cases of blindness today, but who knows. The main thing is that I had a fun day and got to lounge a bit in those charming beach baskets.

And then, this evening, I was reading my book, and came across this sentence: "The girl was pretty and nervous, the boy was large and pale, almost magnesium white in the morning sun." MAGNESIUM WHITE! Amazing. I've tried to describe my pale skin in many ways. Some ways insult it, some ways praise it ... but describing it as magnesium white is bad ass! I think from now on I will think of my skin as magnesium white and describe it as such.

Here are some facts about magnesium:

- Magnesium is the 11th most abundant element by mass in the human body; its ions are essential to all living cells.
- Magnesium is a fairly strong, silvery-white, light-weight metal. It tarnishes slightly when exposed to air, although unlike the alkali metals, storage in an oxygen-free environment is unnecessary because magnesium is protected by a thin layer of oxide which is fairly impermeable and hard to remove.
- Magnesium is a highly flammable metal, and once ignited, difficult to extinguish.
- Spices, nuts, cereals, coffee, cocoa, tea, and green leafy vegetables are rich sources of magnesium.
- Aluminum-Magnesium alloys are praised for their lightness and strength.
- The bright white light produced by burning magnesium contains ultraviolet light that can permanently damage the retinas of the eyes.

So yes, my skin is magnesium white. Somehow, that's funny, fitting, and empowering.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Volkspark am Weinberg

I'm interested in 4 things lately. The first is getting my bike geared up for summer. I need fenders, a bike rack and a basket or saddle bags ... haven't decided yet. Next, I'd like to take some more German lessons, some Tango lessons and Sewing lessons. So these days I've been doing lots of research on these topics. I'm in the process of booking my German lessons for August since that is when I have time off from work... Oh my god! August! Oh my god! I'm turning 29! Ok, breathe ... relax ... !!@@$&**??@!!!

Sorry about that. As I was saying ... I'm booking my German lessons. I found a Tango school I'm serious about checking out. I plan to go to Mauer Park this Sunday to see if I can get any cheap, second hand and preferably "retro" looking accessories for my bike. I also found a Fabric/Sewing store that also gives sewing lessons. I went to check it out this past weekend. It's super, super cute! But, of course, they had no room so I had to accept being put on a waiting list. I know I could always look somewhere else, but this place is just too darn cute! I want to go there. I will wait.

But really what I want to tell you about today is the perfect park I found just across from Frau Tulpe (that's the sewing store's name), and conveniently just two stops away from home by street tram. It's called "Volkspark am Weinberg", which translates to the People’s Park At The Vineyard. Apparently, it's called that because of the former vineyards that used to be there. The park, situated on slopes (which are pretty rare in Berlin) includes a large lawn, used by local residents (mostly hipsters), especially in the summer. The day I was there, people were seriously lounging around. It was so picture perfect, I suspected these people were professional loungers! Children were flying their kites, groups of friends and families were picnicking, lovers were cuddling, people were reading, sleeping, drinking, playing leisure badminton and blah, blah, blah ... the list goes on! Below the lawn is an artificial pond filled with lilly pads. Above the grassy lawn is a nice looking Swiss restaurant with an amazing terrace, a playground and a sports complex with Ping Pong tables and a small soccer field. And the best part: A rose garden! Tons and tons of roses! Beautiful. Of course, a small but super sweet outdoor cafe is nestled in the corner by the rose garden and it's called "Rosen Garten". I think Pauli and I will be spending a lot of time there this summer!

Here are some pics:

Goodnight all!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Back in Berlin

I got back on Monday. I'm still fighting the Jet Lag. I want to sleep at 8pm and the urge is so strong that I cave and then I can't get back to sleep until 3:30 or 4... And at that time, it's practically day out! Crazy. The days are so long - sunrise around 4 and sunset around 10. It's only pitch black by like 11:30-12:00. I guess it's good since it makes up for Germany's super short winter days ... it's practically dark all the time. I didn't realize how North we are here.

My trip was fantastic. Stressful, jammed packed, emotional. I know that doesn't exactly sound fantastic, but it was for me. I got to see all my friends and spend time with my family. It was all worth it. It was funny but when I met up with my family and friends (that I haven't seen since my departure nine months ago) I didn't feel at all like it had been that long. But I came back to Berlin with a stronger presence of these special people in my heart. It was like recharging the battery. That's good.

Another interesting thing... I was excited to be back in Berlin. I kind of missed it. And when I got back, I felt at ease. That's also good.

Today, the weather in Berlin was amazing. Not a cloud in the sky, hot shining sun and 24 degrees. Perfect. (knock on wood).


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Montreal Visit

I'm leaving to Montreal tomorrow for 10 days. I have crazy butterflies in my stomach today. I feel anxious, nervous, excited. This will be my first solo trip. So far I've always traveled with someone; friends, Pauli... I hope I don't get lost in the airports =)

See you soon