I haven’t seen Ali for ages, and so here is a photo from the vault, taken about a month ago. Ali was ill with a cold for a little while, and now we keep missing each other in the morning. Sometimes he leaves a chocolate bar for me with Doris, who owns the shop next door. Hopefully I’ll catch him soon!
It was my first day back at work yesterday after a lovely month off visiting my family and friends in Australia.
Ali made my return to work all the better with a delivery of two iced doughnuts and lots of hugs.
Even a temperature of minus 12 degrees couldn’t keep Ali from running his various errands today (returning plastic bottles to the shop and doing the grocery shopping).
I’m going to Australia for the whole month of February, and Ali has been keen to make sure we spend some quality time together before then. We had dinner in Wedding last week with his boss and his son and brother-in-law. Ali was recognised by the waiters at the restaurant and then again on the u-bahn on the way home. He was happy to pose for photos - worry beads in hand, of course!
Ali was quite impressed when I was able to ask him in German if he was wearing a new hat (which he is - I like this new silhouette on him). He’s very encouraging of my slow learning of the language, and it’s quite beneficial for me to have simple conversations with him in German.
Today for example, I was clearly able to understand that of the two persimmons he gave me, the softer one was to be eaten today, the firmer of the pair tomorrow. He was very clear with his instructions!
I never ask Ali to stand or pose in a certain way, except to maybe ask him to take a step to the left or to the right. So you can imagine my surprise when he pulled this one out of the bag!
He also took his gift giving to a surprising level yesterday, giving me the following on his way home from work:
1 woolen scarf, 1 beanie, 1 light scarf, 1 beaded bracelet, 1 Turkish ring bread (Simit), 1 persimmon, 1 packet of advent chocolates, 1 gigantic apple and a chocolate bar.
The cafe opens an hour later now that the summer is over. Unfortunately this means that I don’t always see Ali every morning. Fortunately I did catch him late this afternoon as he was on his way home.
I’m glad I did. That coat is something else!
Another Sunday outing with Ali and his boss today. After some Turkish tea and some lunch, we drove out to one of the apple orchards near Potsdam. There were no more apples to be picked, but we had a wander around the farmer’s market there.
We then drove to the opposite side of the city to the Dong Xuan Center in Lichtenberg. This is a huge indoor market selling all sorts of exotic things. Ali and his boss needed to stock up on purses and wallets which they sell at the shop. And they insisted that I pick one out for myself, of course!
It’s been a few weeks since the last photo as I have been on holiday in Morocco to celebrate my birthday. I saw Ali for the first time last Sunday, as I was taking out the rubbish at the end of my shift. He was leaning out of his window and after a quick chat he threw a Mars Bar out the window for me to catch!
I remember this leather hoody from last winter, although the leather backpack is new. It reminds me of the ones I’ve seen some of the other (younger) fashionable residents of Neukölln carrying around.