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BBIS Parent Clubs UPDATE- January 2020

BBIS Parent Clubs are running strong, and we find them to be such a fantastic way to forge friendships and stay connected in our busy lives.  We’re hoping that ALL BBIS parents & staff feel welcome to join in at any time.  Here are updates on every club’s activities; please find contact information under the “Clubs” tab above.

 

The premier group for men - the Biergarten Club -  runs a WhatsApp chat that keeps members informed about the next meetup date & time.  In Book Club, we meet on Jan. 21 to discuss The Cuckoo’s Calling, and our two choices after that are Forty Autumns and Where the Crawdads Sing.  The hosts pick the books!  

 

Booster Club is for sports enthusiasts.  Members help to run food sales for the hungry athletes during various sports events at BBIS. If your kids play sports, please connect with the Booster Club!  We have two great options now for German learners, including a new Conversation Lunch Club, as having the chance to practice speaking is so important.  We meet every Wednesday at noon.  Those a bit more advanced can join the German Intermediate Class, which meets weekly at a BBIS parent’s home.

 

Another brand-new club is Knit & Stitch, for the crafters among us.  The first meet-up is Jan. 28 at 10am at Wald Café in Kleinmachnow – come for coffee & crafting, beginners to advanced.  An evening option has just started up – the Ladies Wine & Chat.  This social club gives parents the chance to get to know each other AND enjoy wine – what fun!  The first meetup for Secondary parents is on Jan. 23, and we are hoping a host will come forward for the first Primary parents’ wine night.  

 

Lunch Club hasn’t met for a while, but anyone who wants to set up a “lunch date” should post on the Facebook page, or on the PTA chat… it would be nice to try some new locations in Berlin.  The ever-popular Mamma Mias are going strong – this women’s choir meets every Thursday and is preparing for several end-of-year performances, and even has a member’s retreat booked in northern Germany in early March – join us!

 

The wonderful Museum Club strives to create opportunities for BBIS parents to explore some of the best museums in the world, together.  Our next activity is visiting the Picasso exhibit at Museum Berggruen on January 31.  On February 28, the group will have a tour at the Stasi Prison Memorial in NE Berlin. Meanwhile, parents of students in grades 11 & 12 stay connected through the IBDP/IBCP Parent Facebook page, for support and information exchange.

 

BBIS Players is a club that meets regularly to play games, for fun & relaxing camaraderie.  Our most popular meetups are for Mahjong, where new players are always welcome, and we sometimes mix in other games or host Bunco nights.  We meet next on Jan 24 to celebrate the Chinese New Year, with a buffet lunch and Mahjong in Teltow.  Last but not least, Yoga practitioners have two options here on campus!  Tuesday and Wednesday mornings at 8am, yoga of different styles with different teachers.

 

If you have not participated in any of these groups, please know that it’s never too late to join in! We have such an amazing group of moms and dads, and it is always a pleasure to spend time together.  Read about specific clubs by clicking on the “Clubs” tab above, or feel free to write in with any questions you have – pta@bbis.de.  See you soon!

Gillian Hargreaves, PTA Contributor

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To the Merry Christmas Market

Berlin winters are gloomy but nothing cheers me up more than the bright lights of a Christmas Market.  All over Berlin little wooden huts are springing up in clusters in preparation for November 25, the opening day of the Christmas Markets.
 

If you want to get an early start head to Potsdamer Platz where the market is already in full swing.  Combine some early Christmas shopping at the Mall of Berlin, a movie at the Sony Centre with a toboggan slide at the market if you really want to fill out your visit. 
 

With over 30 Christmas Markets in Berlin you need to make a concerted effort to visit them all. However this takes a little planning as not all Christmas Markets are equal. It’s well worth checking Berlin.de and WeihnachteninBerlin.de for the times and dates of all the markets, and also Visit Berlin for inspiration.  One of my favorites, the Fairytale Christmas Market at Grunewald Hunting Lodge, is only open on the second weekend of Advent (Dec 7 & 8).
 

Hidden amongst the forest just off Clayallee you walk through the forest with excited families.   However, a few tips from past experience. The hunting lodge is beside the lake so rug up against the bitter cold that comes off the water. Because it’s only open for one weekend it’s extremely popular and crowded so be prepared to wait to get into the actual lodge - the lines can be long.  Also there’s a 3 euro entry. But there’s lots of entertainment and great food.
 

I always like to start small so a quick visit to Zehlendorf, just near the Rathaus, is a good place to begin.  It’s great for little kids with a small ice rink where parents can enjoy a drink while keeping a close eye on the little ones.
 

From there I like to build up to the bigger markets and usually combine some Christmas shopping in Kudamm with an obligatory visit to the Gedachtniskirche Christmas Market which is open all the way through to 5th January.  
 

Then on to the big markets like Schloss Charlottenburg and Gendarmenmarkt in the early afternoon before the crowds to get a really good look at the stalls, then by 4pm it’s already dark so you experience the real Christmas market vibe. Gendarmenmarkt is the most “posh” of all the markets, with high end craftsmen/women, a spectacular setting, and a wide array of delicious foods.
 

 Another favorite is the Lucia Christmas Market at Kulturbrauerei for Scandinavian Handicrafts and slightly different market food and drink offerings like a hot Moscow mule – which is a welcome change from the many forms of Gluhwein.  Don’t miss the Artisan Market at Mexikoplatz, which is open on the four Sundays of Advent; it’s a super place to find special gifts for loved ones. Likewise, the market at Domane Dahlem is cozy and artsy, perfect for a cold winter’s night.
 

Then of course there are so many great Christmas Markets to visit outside of Berlin – like Potsdam, and even further to Dresden and Munich. No matter where you are in Germany you’ll be able to find the fun and festivities of a Christmas Market.

   -- Belinda Youlten, PTA Contributor

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The Quirky Museums of Berlin

Where to even begin? Berlin is famous for its wide and fascinating array of museums, and most of the time, I feel so overwhelmed that I end up not choosing any at all.  That's why I rely on the BBIS Museum Club to open my eyes and expand my scope.  

Our most recent meet up was beautiful and surprising, partly because so many of us had no idea that tucked in a big old house just a five minute walk from the Krumme Lanke UBahn station is the intriguing art museum, Haus am Waldsee.  Its exhibit of the works of Tobias Rehberger is on until Nov. 17, and it is definitely worth a visit. It's a great exhibit to bring your kids to, as each room inspires with color, form, and curiosity.  Best of all, there is an adjoining cafe, lovely and sunny, and staffed by the friendliest folk!

If Berlin has taught me one thing, it's that surprise is just around the corner.  Take the time to venture off the beaten path, you will seldom be disappointed.  Follow the BBIS Museum Club for pointers, and join us if you can, but if you can't, grab a friend and have an adventure!

Gillian Hargreaves, PTA Contributor

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The Berlin Festival of Lights

 

Ten days (or nights!) might sound like a long time, but if you aren't careful, you could miss Berlin's Festival of Lights, and that would be a great loss! 

 

We enjoy our time in Berlin no matter what the occasion, but a trip in to see the lights is a MUST.  Or perhaps, several trips. 

During the Festival, dozens of locations around the city are illuminated with the most stunning and beautiful displays, some of which are set to music.  Even the many canals are alight with colorful, sparkling boats, floating past. 

 

The Festival has its own website, full of great information, and an excellent map that shows every installation.

We have only attended for two years, so I'm not an expert, but currently my top three locations are easy walking distance from each other. 

Start at either end, along Unter den Linden, and visit the Brandenburg Gate, Bebelplatz, and the Berliner Dom.  Nearby Gendarmenmarkt is another crowd pleaser, and of course, Potsdamer Platz.  Every year, artists from around the world showcase their wild creativity at this event, through light, color, design, movement, and music.  Often, the architecture of the buildings themselves plays an important role in the designs. 

 

I'm curious what your favorite locations are!

What could be more fun than "lightseeing" on a crisp fall evening with your family or friends?

The Berlin festival of Lights

From October 11-20, see Berlin in a whole new... light.

 

Gillian Hargreaves, PTA Contributor