Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Wrapping Up 2016 and Ringing in 2017

We arrived back in Berlin on December 27th and were happy to have few plans for the next week.  There's always the post-vacation exhaustion and a to-do list of things like grocery shopping and laundry when we return.  Luckily, this week, Mike was still on his winter break, so he was around to help out.

The most exciting thing about returning home was that we had our second big ultrasound scheduled for the next day, so we got to see lots of Baby Maximus.  He was a little camera shy and had his hand in front of his face, but he looked great and the ultrasound technician was pleased with his growth.  Keep on cooking, buddy!!

That evening, the Nutcracker was at the Berlin Opera House.  We have these great things called Classic Card, which is available to anyone in Berlin under the age of 30.  They're 10euros to get, but once you have one, you can go to any ballet, opera or show and pay a minimal price for tickets (if they're available).  It's a great deal and a great way Berlin is trying to get the younger crowd involved in the arts.  We thought the Nutcracker would be a fun way to try out our Classic Cards and we were right! We saw the Nutcracker in DC and both agreed that the choreography here was better, but the dancers and the company were better in DC.  What do we know, though?  We are not ballerinas by any means. Overall, it was a great performance and a cheap and fun night out!

We "celebrated" Christmas by exchanging gifts and opening gifts from home.  I think Baby Maximus made out best of all, but nobody walked away empty handed for sure.  One of the most prized gifts was the ChromeCast that Mike got in his stocking. It allows us to play Netflix (although only German Netflix works), Hulu, and lots of other television shows on our TV from our computer. A great investment since we don't have cable!  We have spent an embarrassing amount of time watching TV since setting it up.

Happy Hanukkah from Berlin! We spotted this huge menorah in Pariser Platz when we went to go pick up our mail at the embassy

We brought in the new year here in Berlin!  We had heard such great things about New Year's Eve in Berlin that we knew we wanted to experience it ourselves.  Brandenburg Gate is similar to Times Square on NYE and is supposed to be one of the top places to bring in the New Year around the globe.  We weren't feeling like dealing with those kinds of crowds, but that turned out to be okay because we found a great alternative.  One of the beer bars near our apartment was hosting a (free!) NYE party, so we figured we'd check it out.  The party started at 6pm, so we got there around 7:30, not sure what to expect.  We were the only ones there for the next two hours!  People began trickling in around 10:00 and by midnight we had a group of 10 of us including the bar tenders.  It was small and intimate, but a lot of fun.  Plus, since fireworks are legal here, everyone was setting them off outside.  It was amazing, albeit a little dangerous!  After ringing in 2017, we stayed for a couple of more hours where even more people showed up.  I think the trend in Berlin is to go out after midnight, but both of us were ready to call it a night around 2am.  I was impressed we made it that long!

Thirty minutes in to 2017 and having a blast!

Last, apparently I grew about 498576594 million sizes overnight because this came out of nowhere!! :D

We hope your 2017 has been off to a great start and that everyone had a relaxing and joyful start to the new year!  

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