when MOMMA came to town (& other stories)

Hello, all my favorite humans!

So what was the most exciting event of 2017? Momma came to Berlin! Truly the best thing. Ever.

We picked her up last Tuesday morning at the airport. While I may have not appeared too excited on the outside (I had caught some nasty cold on the subway #suburbanchild), I was so happy. I hadn’t seen her in person since last July when she dropped me off at SFO. Almost-seven-months is a long time to go without seeing yo Momma!

We laid low Tuesday and let my little bug run its course. By Wednesday I was up and running, Mom had kicked her jet lag (she’s an expert at this, by the way) and we were ready to go. We headed off to the Deutsches Museum to soak up some history. I must admit, after four weeks of going to museums almost every day, I was a little museum-ed-out. One can only see so much Jesus art, World War II memorabilia, and Berlin Wall photographs… Luckily, Grandma Carol had recommended the trendy, delicious cafe (no surprise there) within the museum. Mom and I dipped out of the exhibit and had a ladies lunch, discussing the latest Los Altos “village” updates, summer plans and Israel experiences. After a quick round of shopping in the center of the city, we headed back to Spandau to cook dinner for Marion and Lucki.

The majority of Thursday we spent in Potsdam, outside of central Berlin, exploring a fabulous new art gallery. When Mom and I entered the gallery’s sleek, white-on-white, modern lobby it became clear that I was undoubtedly the youngest person there…by say, fifty years…grey hair was everywhere! Luckily, I’ve gotten used to being surrounded by lots of older people while exploring Berlin (after all, who is going to museums at 2 PM on a weekday besides a grandma and her girl gang?). Anyways, the gallery was breathtaking. The art was la creme de la creme, but what stood out to me most was the impeccable harmony between the collections of paintings and the wall colors of the gallery. Thus, I spent most of my time in the gallery standing really, really close to walls admiring someone’s expert color-swatch-selection skills. #justCassthings

Friday morning my friend Emily Sims from high school, who’s studying abroad in Barcelona, flew in to join Mom and me for the weekend. I hadn’t seen ESIMZ in over a year but quickly found that she is, indeed, just as sassy, brilliant and stylish as she was in our high school days. Gotta love old friends! In typical weekend trip style, we hit the ground running, and packed in as much as we could. We checked Markthalle Neun, the East Side Gallery, the Holocaust Memorial and the Brandenburg Gate off the list. Lots of walking, talking and freezing was involved. For some reason, Friday was especially cold, meaning I slightly resemble someone from the Walking Dead in all our photos. California girls aren’t meant for the cold!

Friday evening Mom made a delicious chicken noodle soup for the whole gang. I felt like I was home and it was the holiday season— the aroma of soup filling the kitchen, old friends sharing memories, cold temperatures outside, good wine, yummy food, the works. Both Emily and Sam joined for the evening, adding even more fun and conversation to the gathering. We had a blast recounting high school memories, sharing college experiences, laughing at each other and most definitely laughing at ourselves! We even FaceTimed Jordan (the last fourth of the historically dynamic Talon foursome) into the gathering for a while, which involved lots of question asking and iPhone grabbing (mostly from ESIMZ, obviously). So fun to have the Talon crew virtually back together (#punny)!

The weekend continued with visits to the Pergamon and Berliner dome on Saturday. We had another delicious dinner that evening, this time at Lucki’s. Emily and Sam joined again, and we feasted on a traditional German meal of pork, potato balls, and green beans. Yum! After dinner, we watched Hannah’s Freestyle video from school, which may or may not contain passages that are questionably similar to an essay I wrote Junior year of high school…hmm…The video was followed by a long conversation between us regarding how different countries deal with military service and military culture. It’s always interesting to have conversations about the military now that I’ve spent a significant amount of time in Israel— where most Israelis my age are currently completing their mandatory military service. We had a great time exchanging different perspectives and opinions. Lord knows that between Emily, Sam and I (not to mention Marion, Lucki, and Mom), there was no shortage of opinions to be shared. Gotta love a group of strong personalities!

We bid adieu to Emily Sunday morning. Mom, Marion and I braved the cold and took a walk by the river, ate a scrumptious Turkish dinner and settled down for a cozy movie night. Oh, how I missed simple weekend days with the Momma! She left the next morning, with a big hug and a bit of a teary goodbye. Good news is that this time the goodbye is more of a “see you later,” as the Craford clan will reunite in its entirety come April in the HOLY LAND. Get hyped!

Whew, what a whirlwind week, and month! This afternoon I did my last load of laundry, scoured Marion’s apartment for anything I may have forgotten and packed up life here in Berlin. A huge shout out to Marion and Lucki for making this month easy, comfortable, exciting and enriching. And a big thank you to the number one Momma for flying across the world to come to see me. From friends and food to culture and conversations, Berlin has been so good to me. How lucky am I to have studied abroad, from my study abroad!

That’s all for now. About to board a flight to Madrid to meet up with my friend from Israel, Mimi. And so begins the final month of adventuring before I return to Israel for #roundtwo!

Love you all a wholeeeee bunch.