Summer is slipping into Fall and we are approaching the two month mark of our time in Berlin. After exploring one of Berlin’s best open air markets yesterday afternoon (Winterfeldtplatz), we had one of those rare quiet hours of peace and quiet that transcended the forces of puberty and youthful exuberance that typically ricochet off the walls of our apartment.  I stepped into the kitchen and saw everyone contentedly at work and felt very much at home.

Watching the rain fall from the windows of our 4th floor apartment and seeing how much the colors have changed on the trees that line our street also drove home the feeling that this is more than a long vacation. The standard-issue Ikea furniture in our apartment is now covered with stray pieces of clothing, mail, toys and school work…… maybe it is the gathering clutter that has made me feel more at home.  We’ve got our favorite coffee shop and bakery, know where to shop for clothes and other essentials, and make daily small talk with our neighbors in German.

But thoughts of Bozeman are never far from our minds.  A few days ago Olivia said that she missed the mountains.  This was the first wistful comment about Montana from any of the kids. We are surrounded by parks, rivers, forests and lakes in Berlin, but there are definitely no mountains! Still, there is much yet to explore.  Today is a gray and rainy Sunday so we are off to check out one of Berlin’s 37 indoor swim centers.