I celebrated my 50th birthday last year with a family bike ride down the Old Hiawatha Trail on the Montana-Idaho border.  It was a truly joyous occasion with crisp weather, physical exertion, the loving care of my family, and an ideal setting. There was none of the same hoopla about my big day this year and the rest of the family actually had to be somewhere (“I’m really cool, cool, cool, cool because I go to school” sings Sam every day) so I decided to spend a quiet day in nature to reflect on all the changes in my life since coming to Berlin less than 2 months ago.

The serene beauty of the Grunewald was the ideal spot to celebrate my life.  The Grunewald  (Greenwood) is a huge forest on the western side of Berlin, just a few train stops from our apartment. After taking a wrong turn out of the S-Bahn station and wandering around a neighborhood of mansions from a long ago century, I retraced my steps and was soon enveloped by a green and brown wonderland.  I only took in a tiny portion of the Grunewald’s 3,000 hectares, but it was enough to make me want to return soon.  Next time I hope to find where the River Havel runs through the forest, see some of its many lakes and ponds, and enjoy a picnic lunch with the rest of the family.

After my short hike, I was back in the city in no time for some cappuccino, apfel kuchen and a little birthday shopping.  The day ended with dinner at a Greek restaurant (oh, how I love moussaka!) and a blue margarita. I’m not sure what made the margarita blue, but I suppose it was fitting since my birthstone is a sapphire.  Olivia’s birthday was two days before mine and we received matching hat and scarf sets for the cold season. Here we are, ready for a cold and wet winter!