A City East & West, The Studios North & South

Fodenvensel Friends,

David’s 90-day Schengen visa is already coming to an end. Not sure how that happened because it seems like it’s only been 6 weeks or so, but we suppose the calendar isn’t lying. Since our last post we have continued to power through the dark, cold, bleak Berlin winter. The highlight of the month of January was having Austin’s mom Anne come visit to hibernate with us. She rented a one-bedroom apartment near a canal in Kreuzberg and the two of us moved in with her for the entirety of her stay. In proper winter fashion the three of us cozied up with coffee, snacks and our respective computers, books and knitting needles and just spanned time. We made some forays out into the icy, harsh outdoor world for necessary provisions and explorations and then retreated indoors for cooking in the evenings. Our meals included liverwurst, sausage and sauerkraut in an effort to pay homage to our location. We watched some documentary films about the Berlin Wall and then in the blink of an eye our two weeks with Anne were over and we said a tearful goodbye to her.

20140204-151306.jpgReflecting on our time in Berlin, we’ve been successful and simultaneously directionless. Austin has managed after 2 and 1/2 months to enroll in an integration course where she is learning German. David made some new friends and survived his first snowy winter, although he is escaping before winter’s end with a southbound flight on February 12th. For the most part we have managed to learn impressively little about Germany and Berlin in the 3 months of our tenure here. We made a few forays by bike to some touristy spots and navigated our hip neighborhood. We visited parts of the Berlin Wall still standing and got to see other parts that have been knocked down but memorialized with stones left criss crossing train tracks, dividing neighborhoods, and weaving around strangely. We looked on at the “death strip” on the East Berlin side of the wall that once served as an unobstructed shooting area for the soldiers enforcing the border. Now the death strip seems to be used mainly as a nice wide boulevard.



Since Austin will be staying in Berlin for some time longer, Fodenvensel Studios will be losing a unified cohesion and gaining a second location in order to report on two major metropolitan locations on two separate continents. David will be flying to Casablanca, Morocco and Austin will hold down the European headquarters of FS. The blog will continue to be a work of mutual participation, but the visuals will likely shift to a more Islamic, African, red sand sort of vibe.

Craving a change of scenery, we are posting this edition of Fodenvensel Studios from our temporary northern headquarters in Norway. We are visiting our great friends the Ovas. We are staying at Erik and Ewelina’s house with our good buddies, Ingrid (5), Eliza (12) and Veronika (17). Two days ago we piled into Erik’s car and zoomed 25 minutes to Gunnar and Lise’s place in Moss and enjoyed a massive holiday smorgasbord that included 6 or 7 different offerings from the sea, each with its own traditional saucy counterpart. After getting absolutely stuffed with deliciousness, we laid on the couches together and had a slide show right out of the 1970s. We saw Erik as a three-year-old white headed kid hiking and swimming in Glacier National park and then we looked on in amazement and mild horror as we saw numerous slides of Gunnar hooking and gutting seals and their babies during a seal hunting expedition.

20140204-151850.jpgWe now have a week to relax and enjoy our time with the Ovas until its back to Berlin for our final few days as a travel team. At that point there is a tiny chance that half of our posts will be appearing in German. Just kidding. Talk soon, friends!

To clarify, the upcoming chasm in Fodenvensel Studios is of a solely political nature that manifests only geographically and not in our hearts. We plan to reunite once David can re-enter Europe, a mere 90 days down the road.


6 thoughts on “A City East & West, The Studios North & South

  1. As much as I love Norway, I could not ever watch seals, especially babies, being slaughtered. The rest of the trip sounds totally wonderful! (what a contrast!)

    • Sue,
      It is so interesting the way we value life. I agree, it’s so much harder to think of adorable, big-eyed baby seals being harpooned clubbed. But at the same time baby cows and their moms are pretty darn cute too. I’m not sure how I reconcile it, but somehow I must and I can tell I’m drawn to the dilemma. Thank you as always for your comments.

  2. As is evident in the 2 (that’s right–just 2) photos taken of my visit I am wearing all of my clothes at once! It really was cold for us folks now acclimated to the Pacific NW but I think David takes the prize for the most layers!
    I really miss you guys.
    Love you

    • Anne,
      We miss you. Having only 2 photos of your visit to Berlin is inexcusable. I must figure out the timer option on my camera soon. If you make it to visit us in Africa I’m pretty sure you won’t need many layers:)

  3. Wow! The last time we faced off the Immigration Service was when Brigitte’s visa to the US ran out, but we got married a few weeks later so no problem Than again, that was in 1972, but some things never change. Sollen wir das alles auf Deutsch schreiben? Anyway, glad you got back up to Norway, but the snow up there must be a lot deeper than in Berlin. Best if you come to Frankfurt soon, where we have 10C-plus. Very mild. Separation is no good for male-female relations, so hope your time passes quickly. All our best wishes in this Year of the Horse! Hope to see you here whenever it fits. Denny & Brigitte

    • Denny,
      The EU immigration regulations are no joke. I’m not sure why it’s so hard to extend a stay in the entirety of the Schengen Zone for more than 90-days. Not sure who is benefitting from the short allotment of time. Luckily the time is passing very quickly and Austin will arrive in Morocco for a two week visit on April 10th. I always enjoy your comments and that you’re following along.

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