JOHN MEANEY

31.12.04

HEUTE IST SILVESTER!!!!

Und ich wünsche Ihnen ein fantastisches neues Jahr! It is New Years Eve, which is known as Silvester here in Germany (as in Switzerland and, I guess, Austria). The lack of an apostrophe in the previous sentence reflects the fact that I am using a German keyboard to write this... I am here in Berlin, looking forward to the biggest street party ever, tonight. Yvonne and I checked out the site last night; the whole of Straße des 17. Juni, from the Große Stern in the middle of the Tiergarten, all the way up to the Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor), was filled with vendors of hot drinks (including Glühwein) and cold drinks and curry sausages and woolly hats and strobe-light jewellery and a ferris wheel (which Yvonne went on, but I didn't... ha, she just found the apostrophe for me) and there are sound stages at both ends of the boulevard, for the live bands. Right up at the gate was the ice bar, formed entirely of ice and decorated with ice sculptures of bears (Berlin's symbol). Marvellous. Ausgezeichnet.

My German was pretty rusty, but I used the amazing Michel Thomas courses to get me up to speed before coming here. Even if you believe you have no talent for languages, check this guy out at www.michelthomas.com . His courses will have you fired up with excitement and conversing in another language in hours. I know how to teach stuff -- software engineering, martial arts, other stuff -- but this guy is fantastic.

I hope that 2005 will be a wonderful year for you. May your dreams come true. Fly straight, Pilots.

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