It’s been two months (!!) since we moved to Berlin and I thought I’d share an update on how it’s been. We’re slowly settling in and getting to know the city. So far so good! But I thought I’d share with you some adjustments we had to face when we first arrived.
No complaints in being this city since I’m now really enjoying it. However, I want to share some realities with you in case you’re thinking of moving here or to some other city in Europe as some bits may be applicable. Just to avoid a teeny bit of shock and hopefully, help you adjust faster. 😉
In case you’re a personal friend, a relative, or if you’ve been following me on social media, you may have noticed that we’ve moved posts. Yes, my treatment of this personal space of mine online has been quite appalling the past few… Err… Weeks? Months? But between packing, tying loose ends (freelance work wise), saying goodbye to dear friends, and moving from one continent to another, there just wasn’t enough time to actually sit down and pen something down.
So where in the world am I?
**I’m finally starting an Etiquette Series! That took a while – like everything else that I promise, come to think of it. It’s not you guys – I’m sorry! It’s me and my workload. But here it is finally! Hope you enjoy this and find it helpful as well! xx**
So as not to commit a grave faux pas back when I was a diplomatic journalist, I read up on some of these topics. It turns out that proper introductions are sort of an art among certain crowds – I kid you not. Mix it in with protocol and then you get rules.
Back when I was a young(er) and cocky reporter, I scoffed at the thought of having rules for such seemingly minor things. Later on, however, I noticed the importance of it at formal events and made it to a point to remember how to do it properly – especially when I’m doing it for other people. We all want to be respectful, don’t we?
When it comes to year ender posts, this has got to be one of the last that will come out. However, I still wanted to do it for reasons that are quite sentimental.
The past year was indeed something a lot of people would like to forget. I admit that there were some things that did leave me feel gutted despite being physically (and somehow even figuratively) detached from them. Like the deaths of Carrie Fisher and Alan Rickman as well as news of violence all over the world and of course, there’s politics – but I wouldn’t go into that anymore.
Despite all of those things, 2016 ended up being good year for me personally. It was a year that brought me a lot of good things. From my career to my relationships, it’s been pretty great and I’m nothing short of thankful.
Last October, I got the fright of my life – just in time for breast cancer awareness month. I imagine it would be nicer to say that I’m only writing about it now because it took me a while to get over it. It sounds more dramatic, doesn’t it? In reality, I just didn’t have the time to do so. I’ve never been the dramatic type – well, at least in public.
I’m a serial cheese eater. Pair a great cheese plate with wine then add great company, and a cosy living room and you have a very happy Carol right there. This is the really Danish bit of my personality, I guess. (Hygge!)
So it was quite amusing how, when my husband and I decided to host one of our first dinners with friends from the diplomatic corps at home, I found myself struggling when it comes to putting together a cheese plate.
The struggles of a diplomat’s wife are quite mundane to some, I know. Failing at this won’t start a world war nor turn into a major diplomatic incident. However, to fail at something so minor may kill the perfectionist in me inside.
In fact, I was having a minor panic attack that day. Surely, I would have retained some knowledge from all the diplomatic events I attended as a journalist and later on as a wife? I knew the most popular cheeses. How they taste and their textures. But choosing was a different story and I have a tendency to overthink then just want everything in there.
Ah, National Day. Usually the biggest event an Embassy or a Consulate will host for the year. It’s something that a lot of people either enjoy or stress over – depending on your role for that night.
As a diplomatic reporter and later on as a diplomat’s wife, I’ve been attending a whole lot of National Day celebrations and Embassy events from Manila to KL. Too many for me to count at this point – to think I’ve only been in the diplomatic circle for 5 years. (Diplomatic life does mean events left and right)
Such events are usually a good opportunity for a country to share something from home – their food, culture, history, the talent of their people. For us Filipinos, there’s usually a part of the program dedicated to how talented Filipino performers are.
One thing I love about attending diplomatic events is the dressing up that it comes with. I happen to love wearing Filipiniana – all forms of it. From the well-known Terno and Maria Clara down to the clothes worn by the different tribes all over the Philippines. However, one thing about National Dresses/Outfits is that they can cost quite a bit. I’ve had one too many fellow diplowives telling me that dressing up for National means parting with a hefty amount. The fact that it happens annually means you also have a repetitive (big) expense.