Thursday, December 17, 2015

Nailed it!

As I was putting the kids to bed tonight, Peter cornered me. 

'Papa, you need to write more blogs. You used to write stories when we just went to the playground and threw mud at each other and now we went on a road trip to so many countries and you didn't even write about that.'

I was speechless. After so many years of being married, I wasn't really ready for a family member to start making sense, but there it was. 

I've been writing the blog for eight years and at some point, the focus has somehow shifted from its original intention. 

When I started the blog, I simply wanted a way of documenting our family memories for the boys to enjoy when they are older. Something more than a dusty photo album that captures the snapshot but not the content. I wanted both and I wanted to make it funny. Okay, as long as I'm being honest, I really just wanted to make fun of Angie; the fact that I can and have humiliated the boys repeatedly over the years as well has just been, you know, gravy. 

I often joke about having two readers, but this is exactly what I had for quite a while in the beginning. Angie and my mom were my two readers, but over the years, the audience has grown and I think this has influenced my writing. I've found myself not writing about certain events if they were not funny enough or if I didn't have exactly the right pictures. Tonight, Peter reminded me that I am writing his memories. Thanks, buddy, for resetting me. 

I will write about our road trip, but tonight I wanted to reassure Peter that his message was heard. Today was one of those days that I probably would have skipped, but there definitely were a few memories. 

Lately, Peter has been using the phrase "nailed it" way too often. The other day, he poured himself a drink and proudly proclaimed that he had "nailed it". I explained to him in my normal gentle fashion that pouring a glass of apple juice is not something worth patting yourself on the back for. Since then, he's been a bit gun-shy on using the phrase. Until today. 

Peter had a presentation today in Biology on trees. This by itself is not funny until I explain that a few days ago, the mother of his "poster partner" called to ask Angie when Peter was going to meet with her son to work on their project. 

'Project? What project?'

Yeah, slightly embarrassing, but I think Peter learned a valuable lesson shortly after Angie stopped apologizing and hung up the phone. 

Peter felt bad for forgetting to tell us that he had a major project and then spent the past few days working his ass off with his partner on the poster and presentation. I'm a natural born procrastinator and some of my best work has been done in the 11th hour, so I was not that surprised when Peter totally scored today, getting a 1+ because, according to his teacher, it was not possible to give a higher grade. 

'Nailed it!'

Next, Peter had hockey. I walked in to pick him up as he scored his sixth goal. I know this because he is still too young to care what other people think and screamed this tidbit to me when I walked into the hall. 

'Nailed it!'

Peter was rightfully impressed with himself, but I think his biggest ego boost came from David. David has hockey training directly before Peter and because Angie and I both agreed that the hockey shuttle bus only makes one run, David has to simply wait around and watch Peter play. In the car ride home, David, who has been playing hockey longer than Peter and is one of the star players, turned to Peter.

'You were really awesome tonight.'

Older brothers typically ignore compliments given by their younger brothers, but I think Peter took this one to heart. 

When we got home, Angie told me that David had a class breakfast the next morning because it's their last day before the break. Angie was in panic mode trying to finish the quiz, so I was volunteered to go to the store and pick up a cake or some pastries for him. I then went to the store and wound up buying ground beef and bread. When I came back home, Angie summed it up nicely. 

'So, what did you get for Davey's breakfast?'


'Not again?'

A few years ago, Master gave me the task to go to the store to buy toilet paper. I got distracted and came home with a kick-ass wireless printer/scanner/copier and, surprise, surprise, I forgot the toilet paper. Hey, shit happens.

Since I was cooking, I sent David back to the store to get what I had forgotten. We gave him 15 euros, thinking this would be more than enough to buy the dry cake that we told him to buy. When he came home, he dropped 20 cents on the computer table and proudly flaunted his brain's idea of what would make a perfect BREAKFAST for his class. 

As Angie was wasting her breath trying to explain nutritional concepts to an overly proud nine-year-old, Peter poked his head around the corner and high-fived his brother. 

'Nailed it!'

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Oops Upside Your Head

Getting the kids to bed is always a drama. Tonight, Tommy was the queen.

Tommy entered stage right by ripping out four pairs of pajamas until he had found his perfect sleeping costume. Then, instead of folding the other three in a mother-approved fashion, he simply tried cramming them back in. When this didn't work, he did what Chuck Norris would do and proceeded to kick the crap out of his dresser.

After the third roundhouse kick, the curtain came down, only instead of paisley cloth, it was a hard plastic robot-bank that was full of money and apparently not too happy that Tommy was rocking its world. Exit stage left.

Back in my day, Tommy's noggin would have been shaved bald and he'd be sporting a badass Franken-tatt until spring.

In Tommy's day, they just super-glue your head shut. Not nearly as dramatic, but enough to get a standing ovation from his brothers when he finally came back from the emergency clinic.

Peter has had his head glued shut before, but he was still filled with admiration and respect. Amazingly enough, David is the only one who has not cracked open his skull yet, so he was definitely the most impressed.

I'm sure that getting the kids to bed will continue to be a drama for many curtain calls to come; I just hope we get through the rest of the year without an encore.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Tree Climbing with a Yank

Today's feature film opens with a parking lot scene, where Barb and Leif have just met The Johnson's Zoo for a tree-top climbing adventure.

Barb opens the trunk of their car and begins changing her shoes, prompting her overly emotional sister to go through her mental list of things she has forgotten which, among many other things, includes tennis shoes. Before the incredibly sexy Director could even show how little he cares, Leif steals the stage by stripping down to his boxers. There goes the PG rating. 

'CUT! Leif, what the hell are you doing?'

'Um, I'm changing into my climbing jeans.' 

'Your what?? You know what, never mind! Let's go, people, we only have two hours for this shoot.'


'Listen up, everyone, I want to see excitement from everyone except you, David. I want you to look like a sleepy ghost.'

'CUT!! Okay, Angie - you need to throttle back on the happy. Davey - perfect! You nailed it!' 

TAKE 23:
'Okay, Leif, you're up. Now remember, I want you to look nonchalantly impatient. Of course you'd like to move to the next obstacle, but you have all the time in world to wait for the slow kids to catch up. And for God's sake, keep your pants on this time! And...ACTION!' 

'Perfect! Nailed it.'

TAKE 29:
'Take your time, Barb, we've only got one shot at this scene. We're going for the whole death-grip-while-smiling look. And...ACTION!' 

'Perfect! Nailed it.'

TAKE 34:
'Next up is Tommy The Gun. I want you to show the camera your war face and don't hold back! And...ACTION!' 

'Perfect! Nailed it.'

TAKE 41:
'Okay, Disco Dave, what we're going for is the intersection between "Eyes Wide Shut" and the Jaws character from "The Spy Who Loved Me". And...ACTION!' 

'Perfect! Nailed it.'

TAKE 44:
'Could someone get Peter "The Python" back from make-up? Oh, there you are. This one should be easy, just look peacefully cool, with a slight dash of badass. And...ACTION!' 

'Perfect! Nailed it.'

TAKE 49:
'Okay, Butter Buns, this is the last take. Now, what you need to do is....whoa, are you kidding me? You're not even dressed yet?'


TAKE 65:
'Um, is this thing supposed to spring back?' 


TAKE 94:
'Ooops! Sorry, I think I jumped off a little crooked.'


TAKE 135:
'Okay, take a deep breath and try and nail this one. You just need to slide down and NOT look petrified. And...ACTION!' 


TAKE 167:
'First off, thank you for reminding me to never again cast people married to the Director. That said, it's late, we really need to wrap this up. Could you just try walking across this bridge without falling over? Nice shoes, by the way.'

'Perfect! Nailed it. Barely. That's a wrap!'
Ladder Talk: 
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That we went to the climbing park.
David: That we was with Barbara and Leif in the Kletter park. 
Tom: That we was in the Kletter park. 

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That David always like did stuff wrong and we couldn't play the game in the car. 
David: That I couldn't spend the night by Luca. 
Tom: That I hurt me so often. 

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to see Arman.
David: I want to play soccer outside. 
Tom: I want to see Mama again.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Blown Away!

You should know by now that the zookeepers at the Johnson's Zoo are absolute crap at keeping time. If not, I can probably drive home that confession by explaining that today we celebrated David's birthday. Which was in May. It is now October. Yeah. 

Now, before you sensitive types go galloping off to call the PETA hot-line, I should explain that David did get presents from the family in May; we just never got around to organizing the loud and expensive party where the birthday boy gets to invite every human he has met in the last nine years. 'We' of course being a cute euphemism for 'Angie' because my ears were definitely not reminding anyone that we had almost succeeded in skipping the whole ordeal. Almost.

As we were getting ready to go, I saw David on the balcony blowing bubbles. I thought it was cute that at the ripe age of nine and a half, he was still innocent enough to enjoy blowing bubbles, so I snapped a quick memory. 

Tommy's ear-piercing screams a few seconds later led to several discoveries. The loudest one by far was that David was blowing bubbles that actually belonged to Tommy. Apparently David had snatched the bubble bottle out of Tommy's hands shortly before my ears had arrived. The second noteworthy discovery was actually threefold: 

1) Tommy was also on the balcony; I hadn't seen him before the screaming game started 
2) David was not blowing bubbles just to be cute; he was trying his damnedest to blow the bubbles directly into Tommy's eyeballs
3) David has incredibly good aim 

I resisted the urge to high-five Davey on his aim and tried to explain to a red-eyed Tommy that it was David's BIG DAY, but Tommy is like his mother and has a response for everything. 

'Yeah, but it's HIS party and I'm not even invited!'

Tommy did have a point. Normally, all brothers are invited to another brother's birthday bash, but Peter had already arranged to hang out with Arman and we weren't exactly sure if we wanted to teach our seven-year-old how to shoot other people. Yet

That's right. To the delight, I'm sure, of all the other parents, we decided to have a typical American 'shoot-em-up' round of Laser Tag. Hooah!

But let me briefly backtrack to the night before when Angie was trying her least worst to ruin my Saturday evening. 

'But there's 11 kids and 2 adults. The big car fits 7 and the Smart can only hold 2. How are we getting the other four there?'

Whenever I am confronted with naggy questions that I can't answer, my response is always the same. 

'Bring in the Godfather!' 

Sami was actually just supposed to help us drive the kids to the Sudden Death Match, but as soon as we arrived he made his intentions clear.

'I'm in - where's my vest?'

'Um, actually, the birthday package was for ten kids and we're already paying extra for the 11th kid, so...'

'Yeah, got it. I'm gonna go check my gun. This is gonna be GREAT!'

So yeah, Sami totally annihilated the kids in the first round. He more than doubled the score of his closest competitor. 

After Round One, Angie gently reminded the Finnish Rambo that it was a kid's birthday party and then not so gently suggested that maybe he should not dodge so many bullets. 

In his defense, Sami did seem to consider my wife's proposal before responding. 

After Round Two, the gloves were off.  

'Okay, Davey, listen up - you need to take out The Godfather.'


'Sami! Just aim for the chest. GO! GO! GO!'

I stood by to watch the take-down and quickly realized that I had misjudged two things - David's loyalty to his Godfather and Sami's ability to get my children to turn on me.  

'Hey, Papa! Sami told me to tell you "nice try, sucka!".'

'HEY! What are you doing? You can't shoot the war photographer! I don't even have a vest! That's it! Go tell your leader that I'm going back home!'

Angie is only half-American, so technically, David is only 25% German and 75% American. There's no real point there; I just thought I'd add that mathematical tidbit because I know that it somehow annoys Angie and she occasionally reads my ramblings. You can thank me later, Butter Buns. 

In any case, David was close enough in my book to being a full-breed that I made hot dogs for him and his guests. Angie was, of course, forbidden from helping with any cooking-related activities, but she did unwittingly support me by passing around the American yellow mustard. You're the greatest Mom EVER!

After devouring a taste of America, Angie came racing up to me and, for a change, she wasn't trying to seduce me.

'Steve! Tommy has a concert at the "Senioren Herbst" and we have nobody to take him.'

'Doesn't that mean "Senior fall"'?'

'Yes, it's the singing event in the fall for senior citizens. How is that funny?'

''It's not. Not at all. I'm sure Tommy will have a blast watching the seniors fall. Hahahahaha!'

'He's not watching, he's singing and please stop laughing! So, who's going to take him there?'

Whenever I am confronted with naggy questions that I can't answer, my response is always the same. 

'Bring in the Godfather!' 

Ladder Talk: 
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That David had a good birthday.
David: That I celebrated my birthday with all of my friends at laser tag.
Tom: That I was with Lisi ice-skating, that David had his birthday party, and that I had my performance. 

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: That David faked his head thing 'cause he jumped. 
David: That Peter hit my head against the corner of a box. 
Tom: That I couldn't go to David's birthday party. 

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to have a nice day. 
David: I want to play with Ben. 
Tom: I want to go ice-skating and I want to have fun by gymnastics. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Seven Up

Tommy's 7th could also have been called Six Up, since that's around the time that the birthday king began preparing for liftoff.

My ears slipped out to make a coffee and when I came back, the living room looked like Edward Scissorhands had broken in and gone to town on Tommy's stash.

I turned to check if Tommy was okay and almost vomited. Now I know what you're thinking - 'How could a chisel-chested man-hunk like you possibly have a weak stomach?' Well, even Superman had kryptonite.

Truth is, only two things can make my jelly-belly roll. The first is the smell of cooked liver. I hate liver. With a passion. I even spent a good portion of my life trying to get rid of mine, but I don't have the time to incriminate myself with stories from my Navy days. Besides, in addition to all kitchen-related activities, I get the pleasure of doing all the shopping, so my nostrils can testify in any court of law that liver has never been brought or cooked on these premises.

The second thing that will send my gut bucket-hunting is whenever I am subjected to cuteness. Not the 'oh, look at the cute pony' type. No, I am talking about the purely innocent public displays of cuteness that questions your manhood and rattles your position on hugging.

As I was gagging away in the corner, Angie came to my rescue with the real truth. 

'You do realize that Peter and David's gifts to Tommy were actually things that they wanted, right?'

'But when I went shopping with them the other day, they assured me that Tommy would totally love...ah, wait a minute. Are you sure?'


With that, my faith in humanity was restored and I left Tricky Pete and Sneaky Dave to play with their 'gifts' for Tommy.

After work, we met Sarah, Chiara, Alessio and Lisi for schnitzels. We got our food and everything was going well until Peter finished his drink and decided to order another one all by himself.

Angie was in the middle of telling me yet again how much she admires my biceps when Peter selfishly interrupted my praise by whistling as loud as he could. My jaw dropped and Angie's opened. 

'Did you just whistle for the waitress?'

'Yeah, I need another drink.'

'Peter, you can't just whistle for a waitress - that is really rude.'

'Oh, okay. Sorry.'

I looked and was relieved to see the waitress busy at the register. I was fairly certain that she hadn't heard Peter's harmonic faux pas until she finished cashing out that customer and stormed over to our table. 

'Did you just whistle for me?'

Instead of answering, I pretended not to speak German and flashed her my pearly whites. 

When that didn't work, I pointed to my first-born. 

'It was him - he did it.'

And that, folks, is the true story about how I witnessed Peter blushing for the first time ever.

'Check please!'
Ladder Talk: 
1) What was the best part of your day?
Peter: That Tommy got such cool presents.
David: That Tommy has his birthday. 
Tom: That I had a birthday and I had good presents. 

2) What was the worst part of your day?
Peter: When I whistled and the woman was made with me. 
David: That Tommy hurt himself.
Tom: That I hurt me really often and that in school that I was trying the whole time to get a turn and didn't get a turn. 

3) What would you like to do tomorrow?
Peter: I want to go in the city with Sebastian. 
David: I want to play with my friends and with Tom and with Peter. 
Tom: I want to play with my new presents when I'm done with gymnastics. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Live from Berlin

When it came to planning our family vacation this year, Angie and I agreed to keep it cheap. Unless you take reality into consideration, this agreement had nothing to do with Angie's nagging desire to build a ceiling-high bookshelf in the living room. With a ladder. 

We started looking at cheap flights to the Caribbean, but then I realized that my passport had expired, which led to a lively response from Angie that involved several threats that could be the grounds for prosecution if I didn't love her so much.

The funny thing about not having a valid passport is, ... well, nothing; it's not funny at all. On the flip side, though, we live in Germany, which is part of the European Union, which means that we could theoretically travel anywhere within Europe, even without a passport. Theoretically.

After several one-sided discussions that ended with 'Yes, dear', Angie zeroed in on France. Three days before hitting the road, though, I read that the G7 summit was being held in Bavaria and that the normally open borders between Germany and France would be shut down and passport-controlled. Shit!.

I'll spare you the ensuing commentary, but that, folks, is the funny story about how we ended up driving to Berlin for our family vacation.

When we arrived at the hotel that still had rooms even though we booked a whopping one day in advance, I kinda expected to find one of those half-run-down hotels that flaunt a classy plastic bear out front that just screams 'jump on me'. Tommy was the first to be sucked in.

After being in the car for several hours, Tommy's energy reserve kicked in and as I was walking over to tell him to stop jackassing around before he fell off the bear, he fell off the bear. Luckily, Tommy's father has the reflexes of a cat and the speed of a mongoose and caught him a split second before he broke the sidewalk.

After dropping our bags, we hit the streets. I don't have a brother, so I tend to get sentimental whenever David and Tom stop trying to kill each other for more than a minute and just, you know, bond.

Our first stop, surprise, surprise, was the massive Lego store that the boys sniffed from a mile away. After a few minutes, I reminded Angie why I should not be left unattended, well... pretty much anywhere.

After narrowly avoiding getting kicked out of a kid's toy store, the boys wanted to hit the Hard Rock. I tightened my stomach muscles and told them to swing away, but apparently they meant something different.

As we waited for overpriced food, David found Lenny Kravitz's guitar. They share the same birthday, so David was in awe.

The next day we did as nature intended and took the animals to the zoo. The Berlin zoo is pretty big, so we even got a complimentary map when we came in. Tommy designated himself as the navigator.

After a few unorthodox turns, Peter tried pointing our self-appointed tour guide in the right direction.

Tommy impolitely thanked Peter for his unsolicited help and countered with a power point of his own.

This exchange heatedly ping-ponged and I was making mental bets as to exactly when Peter would snatch the map out of Tommy's hands and rip it to shreds when Mama intervened and steered us in yet another direction.

At one point, Peter asked for the camera and plopped down in front of a fish tank. After fifteen minutes or so, I came back to check on Peter and he was almost in tears.

'I just want to get one picture of the sea lion and every time he swims by I take the picture but then he's already gone.'

'Oh, here. Let me try.'


I only wish I had had the camera trained on his face as I nailed the picture with my first try. Did I mention that it was my first try? Yes, I did. Several times, in fact, and Peter told me to shut up each time.  What he didn't know is that Angie has given me years of practice at that game.

As we were leaving the zoo, I tried to become one with the animals.

It was at this point that Peter started walking well ahead of us. I thought about reminding him that Tommy was our leader with the map, but he was out of earshot and my voice was nearly gone after trying to sound like a deer in heat.

After the zoo, we split up. Angie took Peter to the KaDeWe, a massive shopping mall in downtown Berlin. I took David and Tommy back to the hotel to recharge their batteries. When Peter returned, he was carrying a bag full of goodies. Apparently the KaDeWe has a small section with American candies, cereals and other hard-to-get items like peanut butter and yellow mustard.

It took a second for David and Tommy to realize what it was that their brother had just dumped all over the bed and why he was grinning from ear to ear. When your older brother does something cool, you give him a power hug. When he does something oh-my-freakin'-mega cool, you pile drive him to the mattress and smother him with a dog-pile of gratitude.

After jacking up their sugar levels with Twizzlers and a family pack of Nerds, we hit the streets, where David started to show us his new 'walks'. See David recently got bored with walking like a normal human. Instead, he transforms his body into a big rubber band and shows how he can get from point A to point B without doing anything that anyone would recognize as walking. It might sound strange because it is. It's also pretty mesmerizing to watch.

David makes it look so easy, but it's not. Just ask his protégé.

The whole ordeal reminded me of an old Monty Python skit called 'The Ministry of Silly Walks'. I told this to them and Tommy apparently liked the name.

'Yeah! The Mystery of Silly Walks.'

I thought about correcting him, but trying to tell Tommy he is wrong about anything can be rather exhausting and I wanted to save my energy for the barbecue. Barbecue? What barbecue?

I cannot walk with Angie down the pedestrian zone without running into at least ten people she knows, so it did not surprise me that my social butterfly of a wife knew people in Berlin.

Meeting Kay was great, the barbecue was delicious and the boys absolutely loved their fenced in trampoline, but the true amazement came at the end, when Kay gave us a jar of his homemade honey, and then showed us who actually made it.

I was a little surprised that Peter did not run away screaming as soon as he saw the bees, but he's been surprising me lately with a lot of things. Without my usual dive into the details I will simply say - he's growing up.

He may be growing up, but he has definitely not outgrown the habit to flash the peace sign with damn near every picture. Thank God for digital. 

The next day we took a double-decker detour back to the famous and wildly popular KaDeWe.

Except for me, the family thought we were going back there to score another bag of American sugar for the boys. I was just after the yellow mustard, which Angie and Peter had somehow forgotten. This is amazing, though, since they know that I get the shakes if I don't have at least three bottles in the cupboard.

'Hi. My name is Steve and I am addicted to yellow mustard. I once pretended to take a picture of my first born in front of a display.'

After taking care of my mustard fix, we decided to go on a boat tour of Berlin. When we got to the docks, though, we had just missed the boat and the next one wasn't for another hour and a half. No problem, we'll just stuff our faces with pizza!

If you haven't picked up on it by now, I just love pictures of Angie eating. Yup, that and her forehead. Probably because both are very hard to photograph. Or because she gets mega pissed when I post pictures of either. Could be both.

The cruise ship of course had a top deck, so we ventured out for the penthouse view.

Peter is still peace-full and David looks happy, but the sun apparently burned Tommy's eyeballs shut. I know this because that is what he screamed to passengers top-side as he raced downstairs to order a rather expensive ice-cream to, you know, help him get over the trauma of being blinded by the sun.

When we hit land again, we allowed a complete stranger to photograph pure beauty.  I even let Angie and the kids join in.

On the way back, we stopped to get fresh fruit. That's when we met Wurmy.

I have a soft spot for anything that moves through life one inch at a time, so at first, I really liked Wurmy. It wasn't until Angie and Peter made it their mission to find Wurmy a proper home that things became weird.

I insisted that the subway was a perfectly fine place for a worm to grow up, but Angie insisted that Wurmy needed more "nature". I then suggested a nice bush under a bridge, which disgusted Angie because 'that's where everyone goes to pee!'. Hello, you said it needed "nature".

At some point, I just gave up and followed the bug-huggers to a big tree in the middle of the city that apparently met the stringent criteria that they had come up with.

Tommy was so relieved that we had found Wurmy a home that he started doing flips when we got back to the hotel.

Okay, bullshit. Tommy had already forgotten about Wurmy by this point, but he was mighty eager to show his older brothers what he had learned at gymnastics, partly because neither Peter nor David can do a handstand, but mainly because neither Peter nor David can do a handstand.

The next day, we rubbed elbows with a few celebs before heading back home. Tommy was first up and, according to him, he mingled with a guy named Bo-Mama.

Angie stopped her tour for a long-overdue sofa-session with Sigmund.

Years from now, I'm sure that Angie will be wondering at exactly what point David got into cross-dressing. I won't be.

I'm man enough to say that the wax museum was interesting, but I wasn't having any part of the whole 'posing' trap.

In my defense, it was Oliver Kahn and he started it. In any case, I promise that that was my only weak moment.  


Okay, fine. But who could possibly resist the Vettel-finger? Sorry, Sebastian.

At one point we lost Angie. I thought about checking the Betty Crocker exhibit. Then, when I was done chuckling, I walked over to witness a hot hotty who really wants to be a millionaire.

Not surprisingly, David chose to twist and shout.

The real reason we even went to the wax museum was because they had a Star Wars exhibit, which turned out to be the grand finale. What we thought would be fun turned quickly into tragedy when Tommy somehow managed to poke his eyeball into a laser sword.

As if losing Tommy's eyesight wasn't enough, David accidentally fell asleep on the same laser sword and damn near cut himself in half.

I was so not having any more to do with Madam Tussauds' death-trap. I've watched The Sound of Music more times than any human should be subjected to, but at least I knew that there were only two way to make it out of Germany. The first involved singing while wearing re-purposed curtains, but that wasn't really my thing. I went for option B, which involved smuggling my entire family out of East Berlin in a Trabi.