Happy, Quiet Birthday

Time flies, doesn’t it? I still remember the cold winter days like they were yesterday…

It was my birthday last week and we quietly celebrated it, just me and the wife. After a toxic work week it felt like a quiet birthday weekend was long overdue. Although I must admit, the celebration was month-long considering that I have received some of my birthday gifts really early and the anticipation of the things we were about to do kept me going.

I somehow lost my wife’s little JBL bluetooth speaker so she got me this one which is big enough not to misplace it. 🙂
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We have been searching record stores and flea markets for weeks now for some quality second-hand vinyls.

Also, a few months back we got tickets to Sam Smith’s concert here in Berlin and it was just a few days short of my birthday. To be quite honest, I did not expect such a great show. He’s just adorable and a great performer and I’m glad I didn’t give away our tickets or else we would have missed out on all his cuteness. 🙂

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Then on the first day of my birthday weekend, we had theatre tickets to see Die Therapie, from Sebastian Fitzek’s book of the same name which I have written little bit about here. I really loved the book so, sadly, I already knew the twists but it was nevertheless a really good performance and I realised that I actually do like going to the theatre and will be looking out for more shows in the city.

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So on the day before the birthday itself, we checked into the Hilton Berlin. Last year we were in Warsaw and got a great deal on a room at the Hilton hotel there and just loved everything about it, especially the breakfast buffet. Since we decided to stay home this year, we chose the Hilton again mostly for the breakfast but also because I got us a room with a view at a discounted price.

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The hotel is right at Gendarmenmarkt and from our window you can see Deutscher Dom from up close. Waking up to all this was the whole point. We also had access to the wellness area and executive lounge that served snacks and coffee and wine so I can really say it was worth every cent.

We lost track of time the night before my birthday when we took advantage of the facilities of the hotel by going to the gym, then the pool, then the sauna and next thing we know it’s already late in the night when we were ready for dinner. We went out and walked around Gendarmenmarkt looking for a place that still served warm food at 10 PM and ended up at a Bavarian brewery and ate crispy Schweinshaxe (pork knuckle). Really, Keto has not been more fun than that night, indulging in what we Filipinos would call crispy pata without any guilt whatsoever.

After our dinner, we walked through Gendarmenmarkt, appreciating its stillness. The moon was bright and only few people were out considering it was a Sunday night. While waiting for the clock to strike midnight, we took a few photos.

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On the day of my birthday and after checking out, we stayed a bit longer in the area since we don’t really get to roam around there like tourists do and just pretended we were one of them. Really, I can’t even remember the last time I stepped foot inside Galeries Lafayette. Since we have been on Keto for almost two months now, we skipped the whole birthday cake thing and I chose something I get to eat even less often – oysters. We had lunch at Seaside Fish & Seafood Bar for my oyster fix and I was positively surprised. It’s the only restaurant of its kind that we’ve found in the city so far and has instantly become one of my favourites. Fresh seafood reminds me of home. ❤

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My this year’s idea of a birthday cake.

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Soon the day was over and we went home feeling relaxed and I have been receiving birthday greetings by the minute which is always a great way to spend the day.

When I got back to work doing the AM shift, the table was set with flowers and cakes and gifts, a tradition we have that I usually coordinate. But since this time it was my turn at the receiving end, I did not know what to expect. I was even scared that they will all just forget about it. This clearly wasn’t the case, though, and I was glad to be back at work again. They even made a low-carb cheesecake that suits my current diet situation. 🙂

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More greetings came in that day from my colleagues and everyone politely asked if I had some sort of celebration. I always replied that I had my peace and quiet, which I seemed to value more these days. I don’t really miss having a birthday party with food and drinks and friends and family and lots and lots of gifts, or even having to spend it somewhere far from home. I’m not saying that I will only ever be spending my birthdays like this in the future because I might want to throw a party or two at some point, but I am sure that I’d be happy to have some days like this one – just me, the wife, and a view.

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(Had my sister not broken her leg last month, she would have come to Berlin to be with us on my birthday. Not sure what our plans would have looked like then, but I’m sure it would have been a fun day nonetheless.)

The thrill of living in this city is still the same as when we first moved here almost two years ago. We get lazy sometimes but it’s satisfying to know that to avoid boredom, all we have to do is get out of the house, maybe drive a few kilometres, and we’ll see something we’ve never seen before. ❤

Lady Wood – Tove Lo Live in Cologne 2017 and Feminism

A two week break from work means finally getting to work on my drafts. I have been meaning to do this for a while now, sure, but life gets in the way every so often. Believe me, I’m not complaining. I have actually come to a point in my life where I am mostly satisfied – career, social life, even my health is going in the right direction. So forgive me if I take a break every once in a while. 🙂

Two weeks ago I took ICE train to Cologne to meet with my sister. I got two of those 20,- € fares they offered some while back, and I’m SO GLAD I have made this choice. I would usually opt for a pair of RyanAir tickets whenever I go to Cologne/Bonn (which I so often do because of family) but for this event I chose Deutsche Bahn because, really, I haven’t been in an ICE in maybe ten years. But on that very day, Berlin was nearly falling apart because our only two operating airports are on a strike so just imagine how elated I am to not have chosen a flight to CGN. Close call though. 🙂

So the train ride was uneventful but a good five hours later I was welcomed by my sister in what I’d like to call “only the second coolest city in the world”.

The next day we went to Live Music Hall for Tove Lo’s show. I had been to one of her shows about two years ago and I told myself I’d go again if given a chance. I gotta give it to her though, her performance has improved dramatically since I last saw her. I wasn’t familiar with some of the songs from her latest album, Lady Wood, but I knew the ones from her first album by heart. It was entertaining to see so many young people in one place listening to the same music you listen to. While I didn’t see much of the artist herself because, well, I’m tiny, I was perfectly happy just being surrounded by all the energy coming from the crowd.

Another thing that has changed in the last two years is the price of her merchandise! I remember buying one of her t-shirts for maybe 25,- € or even less and now I get a sweater for the price of 55,- €! Lucky for her, though, I’m kind of obsessed with her brand logo so I got it anyway and I even believe it’s worth every penny but, geez. Good on her though for becoming really famous. 🙂

Had to add this pin to my haul simply because I’m obsessed with this logo and also girl power

 

So I don’t know when I will ever be back in Cologne but I do believe this blog needs a little touch of the Dome. 😉

Red Hot Chili Peppers Live in Berlin

Let me tell you a story:

Back in 2011, when I just got back to Germany after living in the Philippines for 13 years, I was excited about all the things I felt like I missed out on in all those years. For instance, I’ve always wanted to watch my favourite artists live in concert but none of them would come to the Philippines. There are only a few international artists that do a show in Manila as part of their world tour and most of the time, they are not the ones that I actually want to see. So when I got back here, one of the first things that got me excited are the news of the upcoming concerts being announced on the radio. One of which, if you can guess, is of the Red Hot Chili Peppers!

But considering that I just got back, that meant I didn’t have a job. The frustration just grew bigger when I saw the opportunity to realise my dreams but didn’t have the funds to do so for it just wasn’t the right time.

The funny thing about giving up sometimes is that, when you’re lucky, another opportunity just shows itself out of the blue, reminding you that it’s not too late to still keep going. So my first job happened to be none other than serving drinks at the very location of all the biggest concerts in Cologne. Sure, the job didn’t involve watching the actual concerts that are going on, but I did get the glimpse of the happenings from time to time. And that’s when I first saw the Red Hot Chili Peppers perform live – for like five seconds.

Now, a good five years later,  and a few cents more than 80€ richer, I can finally afford to go to the RHCP concert. And I must say, they don’t seem to have aged a day! They have been around since forever but they still have all this energy to stimulate the crowd of the, not surprisingly, packed Mercedes Benz Arena.

I am so glad to have experienced their greatness the other night because, for me, it wasn’t just a concert, but something more sentimental than that. It’s a reminder of what I’ve achieved since their last world tour and it gave me something to look back to whenever I feel like a failure. ❤