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Ekaterina Basinkevich

expat blog Lifestyle opinion Travel

5 Ways to Maintain Your Language Skills

After more than half of a decade of classes with occasional breaks and six months spent in Mexico, I have finally managed to speak Spanish with a certain fluency. But now that I am back in Berlin, after using this language on a day-to-day basis, I feel like something needs to be done so that all of the knowledge doesn’t get lost on me. The best way not to lose one’s language…

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What a Day to be Alive, Said the Dead

Ever since my beloved old-fashioned hand written letters were replaced by E-Mail, Facebook & co. , conversations with friends have not only taken new dimensions in the distances traveled by our words but also in the topics being discussed. Hence, while walking the streets of Mexico City not too long ago, a question from Israel kept crossing my mind. What did I think of the fact that there were different religions in…

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Book Review: Let’s Take Berlin by Jessica Guzik

Have you ever been planning a trip, a short vacation or maybe even an entire move to another country for so and so many months or years? If you have, then you surely have at times wanted to know what may await you at your destination . What is life like outside the tourist bubble? What can I get at the supermarket? What do people eat after a hangover? etc. I can…

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Why We Need Libraries to Fight Social Inequality

In a district in Berlin among its Turkish residents stood once the Jerusalem Library, not far from the city’s Jewish Hospital. With a gloomy face, 10 year-old me walked up to the building in search of a book to read, as ordered by my mother. There was a new rule in our house at the time, that at least two hours of my day as a third grader with little to no…

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Language Classes are the Mirror of the Soul

  When I came home this afternoon, instead of continuing my crochet project, I started thinking: “I totally want to take Italian classes when I get back to Berlin”. I was somewhat taken with the sound of the word scrittrice, meaning “writer”, when I came across an Instagram post of a book café in Milan I have always wanted to visit but have never come around to doing. My next thought was that…

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You’ve Come to the Wrong Neighborhood, Güey

We’ve all heard them: rumours about what countries are like. The ones say Kosovo is a war-torn country, where tanks dominate the streets. Others get goosebumps at the thought of living in Saudi Arabia and Belarus is apparently exotic enough to be a destination serviced by travel companies like Young Pioneer Tours alongside North Korea and Chernobyl.  In the case of Mexico, German reporters don’t fail to mention that although they have been living…

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The Earthquake After the Drill

At 11 a.m., on the 32nd anniversary of the Mexican earthquake of 1985, there was the customary earthquake drill, so people could practice for a real-life situation. Same procedure as every year. At 1 p.m. we agreed to have lunch. At 1.20 p.m. hell broke loose. I sometimes can’t help but think about the situations I find myself in when the most inconvenient things happen. When the skyscraper, a very noticeable one…

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A Tribute to the Grasshopper I Had For Lunch

There would come a day in my life where I would find myself on a weekly market in Cholula, thinking about whether dried grasshoppers have bones. If somebody would have told me that way in advance, it probably wouldn’t have been so much of an intense moment. I may be an A-student in university and a curious person with glasses which makes most people think I am some sort of super smart…

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Observant Thoughts From Mexico By Someone From Berlin

I have lost count of how many times I have used the sentence other countries, other customs  on this blog. I may have done that so many times that it is almost like a cliché by now. On the other hand, at the end of my fourth week in Mexico City I notice that some things are really different from Berlin. In a good way. In a way I find so interesting that…

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Where Will You Be When an Earthquake Strikes?

Two days after my security instructions meeting as a novice to Mexico City, I woke up to an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.2. It felt like a dark way of destiny, the universe or whatever it is you want to call it, testing how well I have been listening during the talk. I can luckily say that I am fortunate enough to be well. My thoughts go out to all of…

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