Friday night I invited my new friend Kana to teach us how to make sushi rolls. Kana brought her friend who is visiting from out of town and our sushi party was a great success! Our German friends were amazed at the process and loved the sushi, needless to say. It ended up being all-you-could-eat sushi night with crab, fresh salmon, avocado, egg, cucumbers, cream cheese, and many other ingredients. Matthias tried his hand at nigiri sushi and we were all impressed. Kana and her friend were thrilled to be able to share their culture with young German people.

We have been so blessed through Kana who has a very sweet, sincere spirit and we’ve also enjoyed getting to know her friend “Mana” who is visiting from another city in Germany. I have to admit that although Germany is a great place to live, I miss Japan so much that it hurts. I am hoping and praying we are back in Japan by 2012 but of course, only God knows the future. We are thankful we’ve been slowly but surely getting to know more and more people here in Berlin. We’ve been getting to know new friends who are German, Japanese, American, and even Taiwanese.

With friends from church chowing down on amazing German food!

Christimas here in Germany is lovely. Most of all, I enjoy the Christmas Markets that are all over the city and the lovely, delicate holiday decorations. My favorite decorations are the stars made of paper seen here:

I’d like to buy about 10 of these in various colors and hang them all over the place…but I will refrain.

At the Christmas markets (Weihnachtsmarkt) there are tons of stalls selling mouth-watering food and drinks as well as gifts, crafts, pottery, decorations, etc. and I even saw an ice skating rink at one location I visited yesterday. The markets are so charming and beautiful and I want to try all the seasonal foods for sale but they are so pricey.

I have some good news: I applied for a job teaching English to kids and I have an interview tomorrow! I am very hopeful I will get the job since the job description seems to be a perfect fit for me and it doesn’t require a teaching degree. I hope it goes well!

Last of all, Matthias and I have started volunteering at a cafe that reaches out to those struggling with drug/ alcohol addiction and prostitutes in Berlin. Pretty much all the people that come in are women, mostly young girls from many different East European countries. I have to admit, I’ve never met a prostitute before before I came to Berlin…nor did I know that prostitution  is legal here. The cafe offers a warm, safe place to relax (for some girls while they are “on the job”), hot tea and cafe, snacks and light food, and a listening ear and hug if one should want to talk or receive a hug. I am very thankful to be able to serve there, although for the first five minutes I was thinking to myself, “What am I doing here? I don’t speak German and I can’t even talk to these girls!” However, I did get to talk to a lovely lady from Thailand, attempted to chat with two Bulgarian girls, served tea and coffee, and helped in the background, offering a smile to anyone who came in. Matthias enjoyed chatting with one lady in particular who took a liking to us both and chatted a lot with us about her painful life. Hopefully we’ll be doing this once a week or more, and I hope to be able to bring some yummy snacks for the girls like muffins, fresh fruit, and pretzels.

From Wilkipedia: “Prostitution in Germany is legal, and so are brothels. In 2002, the government changed the law in an effort to improve the legal situation of prostitutes. However, the social stigmatization of prostitutes persists and many prostitutes continue to lead a double life. Authorities consider the common exploitation of women from Eastern Europe to be the main problem associated with the occupation.”

When I went home with Matthias from the cafe, I must say I was very emotional. I cannot imagine the pain these girls suffer day by day, and although I imagine some of them have chosen this life for themselves, it must be exhausting, extremely dangerous, and taxing on their souls. I felt such fresh wonder at the sweetness of Jesus’ command: I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward. (Mark 9:41) I suppose that giving a cup of tea or coffee with a smile to one of these sweet ladies counts, right?