Nine interesting things you learn by spending Christmas in Berlin

Christmas in Berlin is always interesting…

I love spending Christmas in Berlin. I haven’t done it for a while, but there’s something charming and playful about it. The city is quiet, and the people who remain have either had interesting childhoods, have freed themselves from the blah of traditions and expectations, or come from places that are not feasible to return to every year (India, New Zealand, Siberia…the U.K. has now joined that list seeing as it’s been deemed a high-risk variant area or whatever). The get-togethers during this time are wonderful — no small talk, just interesting interactions.

Photo by Alvaro Sanchez on Unsplash

I know someone who realised that whenever he met someone for lunch or a coffee, they would spend the entire time talking about what they did since the last time they met. Literally just ‘catching-up.’ Surely there’s more to good conversation than that. Maybe it’s the given mode for late capitalism; you achieve things, you perform, you consume life, and then report back on what you did. (The said person, in order to combat this type of small talk set up an intellectual discussion meet up; it failed).

Anyway, here are ten interesting things I learnt from conversations I had during Christmas.

  1. Every child born in 1988 in Australia got $50 from the Queen to celebrate 200 years of colonisation.
  2. In Russia, Christmas is on the 7th January, with celebrations for the Holidays starting on 31st December and ending around the 14th January, bookended by the Chinese New Year. Also, there is a good Russian supermarket near Heidelburger Platz. Be sure to try the Russian salads at the cafe.
  3. The skies were blue over Beijing during the 2008 Olympics because the Chinese modified the weather using cloud-seeding — a technology that adds chemicals to the clouds to make it rain. Everyone agrees this technique should be used in Berlin.
  4. Dr Pepper reduces your sperm count, or at least that’s what we used to say in school. However, there may be something to it, since sperm counts are dropping worldwide and Dr Pepper seems like a good enough candidate to blame. After all, Dr Pepper was created by a pharmacist called Charles Alderton, who probably wanted his progeny to rule the world exclusively. They are part of an elite who are appropriating student loan repayments and rule the world. This is now termed the Dr Pepper conspiracy theory, and if you want to help fight against the evil Dr Pepper powers, you can stop paying your student debts.
  5. There are people who want to do drugs and party.
    There are people who want to party and not do drugs.
    There are people who want to do drugs and stay at home.
    Berlin seems to be best suited to the people who fall into the the first category.
  6. To make amazing German cakes, use the YouTube channel Sally’s Welt.
  7. We still have many outstanding questions about the Flat Earth conspiracy theory. The Dr Pepper conspiracy theory makes more sense.
  8. Codenames is a great game to play at parties. It’s all about words (my thing) but more interestingly, it gives you an insight into how other people think and the associations they make. We should learn to apply this level of delight and effort to understand to the conversations we have with people that have different perspectives and ways of looking at things from us.
  9. Many more people have ADHD, anxiety and depression than you might initially be aware of.

Happy Holidays, wherever you may be!

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