Tuesday, April 22, 2008

My Cake

Forgot to post this yesterday:

Monday, April 21, 2008

Today I biked to class, spent an inordinate amount of time with a classmate trying to find a place to copy our reading, went to Dolores (fast Mexican) with Jenn, then sat outside at an imbiss with her.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I Spoke Too Soon

Spring? What was I thinking? As my flatmate Kathrin put it, "The Berlin weather in April is very unstable." A girl can't help getting excited about potential flip flop weather, but I jumped the gun. We are back at 40 degrees-- lovely.

Meanwhile, Humboldt is driving me nuts. This is what happened this week, our first week of second term:
3 classes were cancelled.
3 classes just decided to start next week.
The new Spanish class designated for people on the waitlist filled up while I was in another class.
I actually only had 2 classes. TWO!
I like the response my English friends have to this: "It's a joke, mate." No kidding. I try really, really hard to not impose my standards or North American standards in foreign situations, but it actually boggles my mind that my degree from Toronto will hold the same weight internationally as a degree from Humboldt. Yes, I know how elitist that sounds. But the workloads are just completely incomparable.
HU is showing a tiny bit of promise, though. They have a Central Asia Studies department, and I am taking two classes there this term, From Folk-Islam (it works better in German) to Radical Movement: Islam in Central Asia, and Critical Reading on Central Asia (in English). I hope they will keep me engaged.

Not much else is happening here, since we are all trying to figure out our schedules. I have been missing friends lately, so it'll be great to see my friend Meaghan, who is studying in Paris right now, in a little over a week. And I am so excited to go to Stockholm! If anyone wants to do a little online preview of the shopping I will be doing, go to .

Meanwhile, I hope everybody appreciates how great we have it these days. I hear about the food shortages all the time on NPR and BBCWorld, and it makes me very grateful to be where I am. It sounds cliche, but it's so true. Also, as many criticize the use of biofuel, which certainly deserves the criticism, I want people to think about the repercussions of eating meat. As much grain goes towards biofuel, similar amounts go toward feeding livestock. Cutting down meat consumption can help free up grain for those who need it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

It's Spring!

I. LOVE. Spring. We have had some gorgeous days lately, and I've tried to spend as much time on my bike (which Steph named Sven) as possible. I even wore my new Birks today. Life is good and full of sweet Spanish strawberries. And tomatoes.

Last week, my Gran and Aunt Steph were here to visit, and they, unfortunately, got to experience some of the nastiest weather I've seen here. Although that put a damper on their visit, we still saw a lot, including Potsdam, and ate a lot of great food. I have only had one bad eating experience here, and that was at a Mexican restaurant, which you can't expect to be good in Berlin. So I have a theory that basically any place here will turn out a good meal. I just have yet to be disappointed. I also think that no one in Berlin has a clothes dryer, dishwasher, or microwave.

I've still been having a great time cooking. I baked a vegan coconut cake last night that, though it didn't rise, somehow ended up tasting a lot like my mom's coconut icebox cake. I still don't understand how that happened. I managed to make my faux-buttercream icing without a mixer, too, and it still turned out almost perfect.
Then today I made a huge curry. Note the professional-looking tofu:

Also, there are new pictures on my Flickr that Steph took.

Friday, April 04, 2008

"Best of the Wurst"

Here is a link to "Best of the Wurst," a short film made by a woman from LA who fell in love with currywurst, the typical Berlin street food. It's fun to watch and shows Berlin off well. When they go to Konnopke's, pay attention! That's my kiez. I walk past Konnopke's almost every day.

For some reason the link is not showing up, so you will have to cut and paste.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

After two gorgeously wonderful spring days, we are back to chilly and humid. Well, actually, it's not that bad, but I miss our preview of spring! It was sunny, the air smelled like spring, and I was able to bike around in a t-shirt. It was so nice that I didn't mind that I got out of bed to bike to Humboldt just to find out that my trip was for naught, because the lady I needed to speak with decided to not work that day.

I have been doing a lot of cooking lately. I bought a cookbook, Vegan With a Vengeance, while I was in Pittsburgh, and it has done great things for my kitchen skills. Mostly, I always ate curry or pasta (not too shabby if you compare it with Kraft Dinner), but now I am branching out! I dunno, I have time to kill because we are still on break, so I have plenty of time to marinate seitan and bake casserole.

Rosenthaler Platz, a large intersection just south of where I live, is currently covered in these huge Converse ads:

I read that they are controversial because they are referencing dead people, but I think the bottom line is that Rosenthaler Platz looks really cool. And M.I.A. is in them. And also, Converse lost lots of cool credibility once it was bought by Nike, so the detractors can just see it as part of a downhill slide.