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Wednesday, 6 August 2014

BYE BYE BERLIN // TEXMEX PREPARATIONS

When the decision was finally made to move to Houston, it was time again to say goodbye to Berlin. It was still winter and although a mild one this year, and it is always easier to say good bye in winter, when city is grey and cold and repellent, when the snowy slush creeps into your boots and you either freeze or sweat on your bike. Now writing from the Texas heat, I look back at it wistfully, as always memory is better than reality.
I used the time to sort through my extensive collection - or shall I say amassment? - of clothes and things, that are at least twice my age. I "inherited" a lot from my deceased grandparents, and with "inherited" I mean I took what nobody else wanted - and I took all of it. Or rather tried to: all I could carry and pack into my parents basement and shipped the rest over to Berlin to furnish my apartment.
And it is a wonderful and beautiful apartment. At around the same time, my former flatmates and I were looking for our own apartments, either to move in with boyfriends or to live on our own. We had this intense face of nesting going on, with frequent trips to the city's flea markets and afternoons spent perusing ebay's small ads.
While I imported the ballast from my family's past, my friend Jessica (who is a great cook and blogs about her culinary adventures here) mastered the art of interior design and every time I visited, their apartment looked different with new and/ or rearranged furniture. We were building our homes, our own nests at a time when we had left university and were now looking into our insecure future.
I only lived in my nest for a little over a year, and then moved to Croatia, which ever since became a second home, although in a more metaphysical sense. Being new there and only temporary, buying furniture was out of the question and I had to revert to the pre-nesting phase where you make do with whatever you've got, knowing it won't be forever. Berlin remained my home, my chosen place where I had put down roots that materialised in my falt there.
I was only to return for a brief few months, and this time filled with planning to leave it again, this time with a uncertain and as it seems now more and more unlikely return. The fact that I got new and incredibly loud neighbours contributed to the conviction to finally part and start a new home somewhere else.
I still have my furniture and stuff in Berlin, sublet the apartment but just to postpone the final goodbye.

However, I prepared for my new destination. Conveniently, a new food trend hit the city: TexMex food.
The staple Santa Maria in Kreuzberg dishes up the classical Mexican fare in a cool environment, but gets packed.
source: http://www.santaberlin.com/photos.html
Dirty South in Friedrichshain combines TexMex food with a typical German Kneipe environment, but has some interesting takes on the grab, like Kimchi cole slaw. They also offer American beers like Pabst Blue Ribbon. (Just checked and they closed for remodelling)
Photo Copyright: Tom Tomczyk, as seen on the Dirty South Facebook page
My favourite was small and then brand new Burrito Baby in Neuk├Âlln. They call their stuff "Mextralian street food" and offer only vegan varieties, although you would never guess you are not eating meat. The Burritos are massive so go hungry and plan time for a nap afterwards. And it is a tiny space, so come early or be prepared to wait a little.
http://berlinfoodstories.com/2014/02/11/burrito-baby-mextralian-vegan-street-food/

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