Champagne Trails Blog Live!

After trying out facebook with a following of 7000++ and an Instagram account of 12000 followers, both of which are inactive now, Champagne Trails has found a new home on WordPress. Visit the new site, TravelCat Diva: Champagne Trails Before you ask, yes of course the Lolita Bonita and Cherry Pie series have moved along with it.

The Smell of Spring

After so many weeks of rain, sleet, and sunless days, it is strange to be basking in the sunlight again, be able to takes sunset walks along the river, and more importantly, finally take my dearest adventure cat Champagne along again! She has been cooped up since November, and with the ever-present scaffolding around the building which eats up half of our mini balcony, she hasn’t even been motivated to sit outdoors for some fresh air. Winter in Berlin with all its grey and dreariness has completely ruined my sense of outdoor pleasures, so it will take a while to…

On The Eighth Day of Christmas… Packages go missing

Champagne misses her little trips to the tennis court. For as long as she could go out on these short escapades to the outside world, she didn’t bother much about running out into the stairwell. Winter is not something that this native Asian understands, and she is suffering from cabin fever. She thinks that every delivery person is the walking incarnation of an opportunity to make a dash out the door, much to the amusement of others and my frustration. But the entire building knows her, so they know where to send her back to. Winter and Christmas are also…

Full Circle

I returned to Bonn, the city where my life in Germany began in 1993. Since departing for India in 1994, I had been back only once and stored the memories of the brief interlude with the city at the very back of my mind. Spending the weekend with a dear friend was an interesting experience, not just for the re-discovery of the city, but because we both realised we had come full circle in our lives. Bonn is not a spectacular city or large metropolis like Berlin or even Cologne, and now that all the government offices have moved away…

Scaffolding: Invasion of Personal Space

I resent being told what I can or can’t do, and this has nothing to do with following rules and regulations. Impingement of my freedom of choice, decision-making power, opportunity for growth, and privacy is a no-go, and it has taken me decades to come to this point. I am still learning the ropes about standing my ground as an independent woman, and for the life of me I cannot engage in a loud discussion or argument, so when my personal space is invaded and endangered, my first instinct is to panic. Once my brain decides to kick my senses…

“Schauen, Stehen, Schlagen”*

*(seek, stand, strike) It sounds like a military strategy, but actually it is the fundamental rule of tennis: 1. focus and seek the ball (concentration), 2. stand in the right place (gauge the distance and assume the right stance) and 3. use all your strength and power to strike at the right moment. OK, I’ll admit, it still sounds like a military strategy, but it is the most difficult lesson of tennis to master. I took an eight year break from tennis after leaving Manila in 2010, and my game has suffered terribly since. Like my own life, I took…

I Brought Johnny Home

I have always dreamed of having my own apple tree ever since I read the story of Johnny Appleseed as a child. Some years ago I tried my luck raising one but after a month or so it either decided that it didn’t like the tropical urban weather or me. So yesterday I decided to get myself an early birthday present and visited a nursery I had seen a couple of times out in the Potsdam area but never stopped to visit. Unlike the fancier nurseries I usually visit in my corner of Berlin, Baumschule Kania one was more of…