Taxi! (Berlin): Bedar

I am not really sure where to start when it comes to telling the woeful tale of Bedar. He hasn’t been a taxi driver in Berlin for long, six years tops he says. Before that he did a series of odd jobs with no permanence or long-term to his name, and in spite of living in Germany for the past 28 years, his language is wobbly, a fact that he bewails. Bedar is a Palestinian born in the refugee camps of Lebanon. His parents fled Palestine and have remained there all their lives, like so many others. Bedar´s mother once…

10 Effective Morning Rituals to Supercharge Productivity

Earlier this month FrogDiva Thoughts launched a blog-sharing project with Tenfold, a cutting-edge platform for customer telecommunications infrastructures (CTI). It being a Monday and the first day back to school for Berlin schools, I thought this might add a little inspiration for parents and students struggling with overcoming holiday and weekend hangovers alike: Rise and shine! – by Dan Sincavage, Co-Founder of Tenfold and Chief Strategy Officer. Are you a morning person? Studies have shown that some folks are naturally hardwired to be morning people, while others function better as night owls. Whichever you may be, chances are you already have…

Scaffolding: The Ornithologist Has Spoken

Who knew that an ornithologist could wield so much power? About a month ago the scaffolding went up around our building as a precursor to the roofing work that had to be done. For our own protection, we had to individually report this to our insurance companies (assuming that everyone had a third party liability and household insurance). I obediently did so and complied with the instructions given to me by the insurance company, which also included a clause about not leaving any window open if nobody was home. This would be fine and dandy if it were winter, but…

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…

Taxi! (Firenze): Giovanni

I believe in (road) diversions and am always up to exploring new paths. Having said that, I decided that there was no particular reason to stick to the Berliner taxi drivers for the series, and why not – language permitting – interview the taxi drivers around the world whose cabs I end up in. When my daughter and I arrived in Florence over a week ago, we took a cab from the train station with all our luggage – and the cat. Like anywhere else, the amusement over the cat in the backpack was great and Giovanni wouldn’t believe me…

Taxi! (Berlin): Frank

The first thing that struck me about Frank when I got into his taxi was the absence of a GPS. Up until that point I had assumed that an electronic navigation system was a requirement for all taxi drivers here in Germany. When I gave him the address of my destination, Frank immediately pulled out a thick map book. I stared like a goldfish in amazement and asked whether he was actually going to look it up in a map! He chuckled in amusement and said that he knew every street in Berlin almost by heart but hadn’t been in…

Taxi! (Berlin): Salman

I will call him Salman because for once, I didn’t take notes during the drive and failed to write the blog about him right away, so four days later, I have no clue what his name is anymore. When I got into Salman’s cab I was running late, was tired, and not particularly impressed in the beginning. It was only when he opened up during the drive and began to tell his stories that I began to pay attention. Born in Afghanistan into a large family, this charming poet was amused when I asked whether he spoke Urdu. He immediately…