dismantle: the vona anthology

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Hey y’all!

Long time no see, huh? My apologies. I’ve been taking a B1 German class since the end of January. It’s just like the class I took last year–four days a week, four and a half hours a day–only harder. By the end of the day, my brain is fried. The #DeutschStruggle is real, y’all.

 

So I’m not sure when I’ll get back to regularly posting, but I did want to drop in make a quick announcement: I have a short story appearing in the forthcoming anthology Dismantle: An Anthology of Writing from the VONA/Voices Workshop. More about the book:

 

Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation (VONA) was founded by Elmaz Abinader, Junot Díaz, Victor Díaz and Diem Jones in 1999. Each envisioned an arts organization that could change the landscape for writers of color by supporting individual writer growth, creating a platform for community engagement and providing a workshop and mentor focus to expand writing opportunities. Over 2,000 writers from around the globe have participated in VONA. Dismantle is an anthology of creative work from VONA alum and its award-winning teachers including: Chris Abani, Nikky Finney, Maaza Mengiste, Minal Hajratwala, Justin Torres, Cristina Garcia, Mat Johnson, Laila Lalami, Mitchell Jackson and many more.

 

This book includes the work of some super talented folks, and I’m honored and grateful to be included. If you’re a lover of literature (and if you’re curious to see what I write about outside of the blog) then PLEASE pick up a copy. You won’t regret it.

yay! i was featured on TheLocal.de!

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Guten Tag, y’all!

Today, I went on Twitter and found a nice surprise waiting for me: TheLocal.de has included me on its list  “Ten of the best English-language blogs in Germany”! Woop, woop! I’m in good company, too. Check out the other blogs listed, especially the hilarious Oh God, My Wife is German.

 

Now, if you’ve ever checked out my Moving to Germany page, you’ll see that TheLocal is one of the first resources I list. It’s my number one source for keeping up with all things Deutsch, so I’m very honored that they’d include me. So Danke!

 

And if you’re new here, be sure to check out some of my favorite posts, including…

 

Would you Move for Love?

Dispatch 69: 30 Years, 30 Lessons

Natural Hair in Germany

Horse Meat vs. Chitlins: 6 Cultural Differences Between the U.S. and Germany (pt. 1)

As always, thank you guys for reading and for sharing my adventures!

are there black people in germany? and other questions you were afraid to ask

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Guten Tag, y’all!

 

Ever had a question you felt silly asking? I have! Especially before moving here. I wanted to know about Germany, specifically from a black person’s perspective. Let’s face it–there are certain concerns that many black people, especially black Americans, tend to have when traveling or moving to another country. Luckily, I have family who’ve lived here before, so they were able to answer some questions. For other concerns, I turned to the good ol’ Internet to read the experiences of black people who live and have lived in Germany. Now that I’ve lived here for a few years, I feel like I can add a little to the conversation. So, here are a few questions that people often ask me privately!

Continue reading →

Happy 2014!

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Happy New Year, y’all!

One of my goals for this year is to be more creative with my blog content. So this year, to share my goals, I made a little video! Granted, it’s kind of a #struggle video, but I had fun making it. :) I’m thinking about doing some Q&A videos (which will be a lot better looking than this one), so if you’re interested in a particular topic, let me know!

And for those who’d rather read than watch:

My 2014 Goals

1. Write consistently

2. Dress well everyday

3. Exercise for health (and vanity)

4. Make money, save money

5. Speak B2 level German

6. Don’t shop mindlessly

7. Skype more (with friends, family and sorors)

8. Travel to new places

 

 

What about y’all? Any big plans or goals for 2014?

a few 2013 snapshots

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2013 was pretty good to me. If I had a theme for the year, it could probably be summed up as “simplicity and gratitude.” I spent most of the year trying to de-clutter and un-complicate. Still not quite finished, but I’m definitely heading into 2014 with a lot less physical and mental baggage than I came with. I also had some beautiful moments that I’m supremely grateful for, like talking for hours with my best friend (while eating ALL of her Krispy Kreme donuts), watching my son play with his cousins, and getting to play with my cousins. It was a happy year.

 

 

2014, I think, will be the year of Supreme Effort. I’ve got dreams to achieve. Time to put in the work. But first, a last look back at some of my favorite moments.

 

 

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One of the owners at our favorite Italian place. He let the Babycakes help him make this crocodile breadstick.

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My first trip to Paris! Hopefully not my last.

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Minus 7 Celsius. It was a LONG, cold winter.

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Getting his hair cut by my brother, the best barber in Greenville!

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Even though I was sick with the flu during our trip, seeing this made it worth it.

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Exploring in the forest. I live for these moments.

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I told them to say “cheese.” This is what they did.

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My little fearless guy, who wanted to ride all of the most dangerous rides at the fair.

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Got my hair laid at the dopest natural hair salon in Germany.

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Second anniversary breakfast in Cologne.

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My husband we planted a balcony garden.

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Looking forward to more adventures in 2014.

Happy New Year, everyone!

travelogue: cologne, germany

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The Man and I spent a few days in Cologne last week. Of all the German cities I’ve been to so far, Cologne is definitely the friendliest. It’s a beautiful city, especially during Christmas: we spent one day trying to go to all of its Christmas markets. We made it to five of them. And I have to say: even though I love Berlin, I have a sneaking feeling that Cologne might become my new “weekend escape” city of choice. It’s one of those rare big cities that manages to feel “in the moment” as opposed to “of the moment.” Bis die nachstest mal, Koln.

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“Tat, where you been?”

A fair question. The simple answer is I’ve been offline. More detailed:

I been writing, I been writing.

Listening to Beyonce.

Decorating our Christmas tree.

Playing Wii with my guys.

Celebrating two years of marriage.

Reading about Jon Snow and ‘nem.

Essentially, doing everything but blogging. These little breaks are necessary now and then, but I think I’m back. :)

 

Tat

into the wild…

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Guten Tag, y’all!

 

It’s been a surprisingly sunny (and not very cold) autumn here. Partially inspired by this beautiful weather, and partially inspired by Natalie’s latest post, I decided to get my family out of the house this weekend. I packed up a backpack, put on some outdoor-appropriate shoes, and we headed into the wild…

 

…well, into the woods. We had a really good time traipsing along walking trails and wandering, literally, off the beaten path (though that DID result in my falling on my behind. OUCH.). Germany is so pretty, and I figured we ought to get out and experience it before it’s time to lock ourselves in with fuzzy blankets and hot tea.

 

What did y’all do this weekend?

places: afghan warehouse, braunschweig

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Guten Tag, y’all!

 

So–if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, the you’ll know that on Tuesday, I locked myself out of the house. Sadly, this is not the first time it’s happened. Because I’m the type of person who locks herself out of the house at least once a year, I’ve developed a plan for what to do if when this happens. My plan: I get out and explore, and I document my adventures on social media; if you want to see them, just search for the hashtag #TatsLockedOut.
 
In this latest edition of #TatsLockedOut, I was lucky enough to have my purse with me (the last time, all I had was my phone). So instead of moping about, I decided to hop on a train and explore Braunschwieg, one of the cities near Wolfsburg. I’ve been there lots of times, but I find that the nature of cities means there’s always something new to discover. And y’all–I struck gold, in the form of a store called Afghan Warehouse. It all started with a peasant skirt.
 
I’m pretty sure that I was a hippy in a former life, so any time I see  flow-y clothing or smell incense, I feel a magnetic pull in whatever direction it lies. What got me this time was a rack of peasant skirts standing out in front of the store. I crossed the street to check it out, then went in to find the place that bohemian dreams are made of: shelves of African and Asian inspired art, baskets of earthy bracelets, stacks of brightly colored fabrics. Incense, henna, scarves, carved wood. I loved it. In my part of Germany, it’s very rare to find non-European stuff that’s not kitschy, so I was beyond stoked to find this place.
 
Afghan Warehouse
Waisenhausdamm 4
38100 Brunswick

What about y’all–discovered any interesting places lately?

pushing past your limitations

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Guten Tag, y’all!
 
Yesterday, when I asked the Babycakes what he wanted for breakfast, he said “Pancakes!” No problem, right?
 
Well…
 
We had pancake mix, but we didn’t have syrup. If we still lived in the States, I would’ve just packed him up and made a quick run to Wal-Mart (or the always awesome Tar-zhay), but this ain’t Kansas Alabama anymore! This is Germany, and just about everything–including grocery stores–are closed on Sundays.
 
Now, Old Tat would’ve said, “Oh well,” and made some toast.  But Expat Tat has turned out to be way more solution oriented. Hmm, I said to myself. My mom and my granny used to make syrup for us. Since it’s too early to call home, lemme ask Google. So I Googled, found a recipe, and made some pankcake syrup! It came out a little too sweet, but otherwise it was good. Check out those pictures.*
 
I’m sure I’ve mentioned it a time or two, but cooking was never my strong suit–before I moved. So much so that whenever my family had a get together, I was usually assigned to bring paper plates or drinks instead of a cooked dish (trust me–this was the best thing for everyone involved). But since there’s so much stuff that I want that I can’t just run to the store and get, I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to cook lots of things from scratch.
 
When I moved to Germany, I figured I’d pick up new skills like speaking German or working in an international office. I never for one second imagined that cooking is would be one of the skills I picked up. It just goes to show how getting out of your comfort zone can make you push past your limitations.
 
Pancakes, anyone? #ThatsWhatPrinceSaid

 

*Because I’m me, I TOTALLY spilled half the syrup while I was trying to take pictures. And I was feeling so proud of myself..I guess pride goeth before a spill, too.

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