We are traveling the world one Starbucks at a time.  It is our compromise.  I love to travel, Dave loves Starbucks.  He indulges my need to see, do, touch, taste new things as long as at some point there’s a Starbucks involved.  Don’t tell him, but I like Starbucks too. Win. Win. Win!

My dear friend, and fellow Designer, Min (Carin Grobe Design) invited all of us to Berlin for New Years Eve.  We had zero sickies on New Years Eve.  To Berlin we went! I’m not sure whether to recommend Berlin on New Years Eve or tell you to run far, run fast.

I thought our little village was insane.  In Germany, between December 27 and NYE, fireworks are on sale. All the fireworks.  Batteries. Craziness.  All of it. Between December 27 and January 1 there are constantly fireworks going off, but nothing like on NYE.  On NYE the sky is lit up.  Ear plugs are recommended. And for the faint of heart, stay away from Germany.  I thought we’d seen it all.  Until Berlin.

Berlin is a sprawling, huge, city.  No big sky scrapers but rather miles &  miles of city.  Beautiful city. Lots of old trees and landscaping. You’d never think you were in one of the most famous cities in the world.  Min’s neighborhood has a lovely small town feel to it. Usually. On NYE it’s a war zone. I spent most of the night trying to run away from fireworks looking to take me out, jumping out of my skin, or desperately running after Dane.  Fireworks went off everywhere.  Next to me, behind me, in front of me, above me… under me! It is both beautiful and terrifying.

Obviously I have no photo’s of this. I was a big ol’ scaredy-cat.  So let’s skip to Saturday and my very first, please don’t let it be my last, trip to Poland. Dave, Dane & I hopped into the van for a quick trip across the border to Szczecin, or Stettin, Poland. It has a very contentious history, with it finally reverting to Polish sovereignty in 1945. I am extremely proud I can spell Szczecin, but I cannot for the life of my pronounce it.

I found Polish to be like no other language I’ve ever been exposed to. I am bi-lingual. I was born Dutch and immigrated to America at an early age, to California where I picked up some Spanish. We now live in Germany, and my sister in France.  Other languages are frequently spoken around me and I can get by in most of them.  I am by no means a linguist, but I try very, very hard.  I feel it’s respectful to speak the language whenever possible. I tried to speak Polish.  My  mouth would  not do the acrobatics necessary to be successful. I really, really tried. I never gave up. But after a day in Poland all I managed was Thank You.

Thank you that, to me, sounds like chinkuhya and in Polish is spelled dziękuję.  Thank you that I had to ask three different people, multiple times each, to pronounce for me.  Thank you that still takes me a minute to say in my head before I can say it with my tongue. Luckily the Polish people are amazingly warm, friendly and accommodating.

We had a fabulous day in Szczecin. A day I hope to repeat in the future, something easily done with a tank full of gas on a free weekend.  A day I hope to repeat when it’s warm. When there’s no Siberian winds howling about my ears.  Don’t let the gorgeous blue skies fool you. Last Saturday was an extremely cold day in Poland. My fingers are still tingling as they defrost.