Only in Berlin

Only in Berlin the beggers are so creative and genuine! at least they don’t lie about how they are going to use the money you give them.

When I tried to take the picture of the guy who is allegedly a begger he pulled a sign saying that the photo will cost me 2.78 Euros! but it was worth it! After that he gave me a piece of paper with a website on it http://www.lazybeggers.com, when I googled it it seem like some one came up with an idea to push people to try the experience of living the beggers’ life for a short time and be funny about it…I wish I had more time to research this whole movement but I will do it one day… and maybe try it for few hours.

Thank you anonymous begger, you made my day and everybody’s on Unter Den Linden.

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15 minutes of fame, Berlin Fashion Week.

It was such a wonderful experience going to Mercedez Benz Fashion Week. The best part is the preparation leading to it and discovering that one of my dear friends was going to be there too. Without you Shereen most of my pictures would not have seen the light, and it would have been just pathetic close-up selfies. Thank you Shereen!

Anyway, so on the day of the show, I took hours to get dressed and put together the outift I have picked up two days in advance, with lots of rehearsal.  I took out the big guns a.k.a my favorite baby a.k.a. my Birkin Hermes bag and my adorable red sole pumps a.k.a. my loubies, and went out.  I Arrived an hour and a half earlier to the show. After fighting my heel sinking in the cobbler stones of Brandenburg Gate and tripping few times, I made it inside the tent and start exploring. It was amazing! Some artist personalized a tote bag for me with their creative drawings.
Enjoy the pictures and thank you for not judging!

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I am wearing: Elie Tahari dress, a Tory Burch sweater, Ferragamo scarf, Christian Louboutin simple pumps and the one and only Birkin bag :)

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Berlin Fashion Week is here!

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Since we moved to Berlin in 2012, even before, when we were still at the Foreign Service Insitute learning German, I was obsessed by the idea of going to the Fashion week in Berlin. Fashion weeks take place only in New York, London, Paris and Milan, and very recently started in Berlin, so I thought as a fashionista and in the diplomatic circle, maybe it will be more easy for me to have access to the runway shows and see the future collections of renowned German designers. I was wrong!  It is as difficult as anywhere else, only professionals are allowed to attend, and by invitations only. By professionals they mean designers, distribution agencies, institutions, retailer, producers and wholesalers. It is not open to private individuals and people without connections to the fashion industry. Like me.

In January 2013, when the winter Fashion Week took place, I decided to explore myself the eventual possibilities of attending the shows (meaning forcing my entry, gently, with a smile, and lot of diplomacy) So I went on the http://www.fashion-week-berlin.com/de/ and spotted the main shows and places where the runway shows were taking place. Of course no way I was able to get even close to the Mercedes Benz tent it was so well guarded. Big Mercedes Limousines, huge fences and TV vans were surrounding the place as if Lagerfeld or Wintour were just stepping out.. Oh well so I turned and tried the showrooms. The showrooms are venues were the designers display their future collections so buyers can choose what they would like to sell in their shops, so for example, Berkinstock would exhibit all its new collection for winter 2014 so KADEWE would pick the colors or models they think they will sell. So I went to one of the venue where it was advertised free fashion designer collection screening, and when I arrived I found myself in the UGGs showroom, and then the 7 for all mankind, it was so much fun! I was able to see the beautiful brand new collection, designs from the future, because they were not available in the stores yet. There was champagne, food and a DJ playing live music. It was fun until someone  asked me for my credentials, so I looked around me and realized that I just crashed the place, everybody had tags on them but not me. Anyway, I terribly felt embarrassed and out of place, I found my way out as fast as I could.

But my adventure didn’t stop here, I was finally able to get it right and found places I could go to, with dignity. The places were, still not the Mercedes Benz tent but pop-up stores, where amazing designer’s clothes were sold, and some of them at reduced prices, and I also found free runway shows for D-list designers, or young emerging totally-unknown-unheard-of futuristic designers, but very promising.

Anyway, the story is, this year and through an organisation that I joined lately I got an invitation to a runway show in the one and only Mercedes Benz tent!!! Yes! fianlly! I will be sharing my experience in the coming days so stay tuned.

Meanwhile if you are a fashionista and would like to explore what fashion week in Berlin looks like, just check the website. It is really not all about the tents and the runways. There are many other events going on that you can attend for free and without invitation, just check the website. It will be fun, funky and a wonderful way to kill the greyness of the short days of winter in Berlin.

Telling history and owning the truth, is it an antidote against inner development?

Few months ago I went to the Lebanese film festival in Berlin with Jim, it was about remembering the Lebanese war. I thought I was going to be angry and remember all the political struggles accompanied with violent wars that I lived during my childhood all the way to my early 30s. But it was not the case. The Lebanese movies portrayed a different Lebanon than the one I knew. It suddenly hit me that it has been more than 20 years since the war was over, and the Lebanon I once knew doesn’t exist anymore. My enemies and my allies have vanished! the truth told in the films is absolutely not what it was back then or at least in my memory. I suddenly realized that I should move on, move beyond my fears, beyond my old theories, of who was the enemy and who was the ally and try to get a new sense of history much more mature.
I saw myself in the mirror when an old german lady on the bus yesterday told me that she lived all her life in West Berlin and no way she would go to East Berlin, even now. Yes now! The Berlin wall fell in 1989 and this woman still have it up in her mind. Her fears and demons are still building a virtual wall making her incapable of going beyond Friedreich strasse.
I realized that when I bring up the past I sound like my old grandma who use to talk about the World Wars as if they happened yesterday.

What is striking is that when we speak about our personal experience that happened sometime back in history, we tell it as if we own the truth, we say: “this is what really happened”, “this is what the consequences were”, “this is how I am going to feel about it for the rest of my life.”

But what if we live a hundred years? Should we keep the memories of our own history alive? Should we be stiff but loyal to what we strongly believe to be the truth?

Whether one would argue yes or no, I tell you that it was a relief to know that I really don’t need to fight anything anymore, it happened so long ago it doesn’t matter anymore. I can let go now. History is history and it will not make any difference if we hold on to it.
My biggest fear is not to evolve with the world around me, to be stuck in time and to be carrying one weight after the other, accumulating unnecessary emotional burdens which makes my scars and wounds even deeper. I want to be free; no judgment, no prejudice, no preconceived ideas, then I will start again like a new soul enjoying a second chance. The chance to be living in a free world, free of wars and hatred. Then I will start again building up a new history for the second half of my life.

The Berlin and Prague TV towers

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I know that towers fascinate people, but what I didn’t know is that TV towers can be so important that they would be mentioned on a tourist map as a place to visit, or even have their own Facebook page!
Europe TV Tower on FB

Berlin TV tower is for Berlin what the Eiffel Tower is for Paris, and I don’t know about Prague’s TV tower but it has the cutest art embedded on it.
Enjoy the pictures that I took during my summer travel.

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Christmas pictures from Berlin

Another day in Christmas heaven…

Today I saw many Berliners buying and carrying natural trees. For an American it may seem a little bit late for one to buy a Christmas tree. We start decorating the Christmas tree in our house as soon as Thanksgiving is over, and by now the Christmas trees would go on sale at Walmart… but here in Berlin Christmas is Christmas and it hasn’t been exploited yet… we can argue about that… but it is just my opinion.

Enjoy more pictures of Berlin under the Christmas spell.

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