Someone misses us now

Dietmar and I at the Müggelsee regatta

Dietmar and I at the Müggelsee regatta

The tables have been turned. The blogger has been blogged about—in the Wannsee rowing club newsletter, by one of her own characters, no less. After dropping his name all year in my blog, club organizer Dietmar has done the same and written an article about “a certain American rower” who kept a blog.

I’ve been outed; the people I wrote about in Berlin are becoming aware that during those months I rowed with them, I was soaking it all in, carrying home stories of how life is from their shores.

Gradually I invited a few rowers to read recent blogs, people I’d written about and thought they deserved to know that I was telling stories about our rows and times together: Anke and Scheiss Wetter, Anne and The uneven nature of homesickness, and finally Dietmar and Good times on the high seas, but for the most part I kept quiet about my blog. I was writing about people I was just getting to know, capturing impressions and my own feelings of displacement, trying to describe what felt different about a setting that was also remarkably familiar and comforting.

I don’t know what I would have done this past year without the rowing club. It would have been an altogether lonelier sort of year. Most people make rowing an extra part of their life, beyond work and home life, but for me it was the only place I was expected or would be missed. To all the people who spoke English to me on the shores, who taught me the words auslager and dolle and langstrecke and bootsplatz and so many more, who told me what the coxswain was saying when she directed her comments to me, and for conversation over cappuccinos and apfelschorle at the Ekonomie, I offer my thanks.

Here is what appeared in the most recent issue of the club newsletter in German (you can see the PDF here). Below, you’ll find what Google Translate and I think it said in English. Thank you, Dietmar, for welcoming me at RaW.

Lost in Berlin

Zu den weitaus unbekannten Aufgaben des Ruderwartes unseres Klubs gehört die Betreuung des E-Mail-Postfaches Es ist nicht ungewöhnlich, dass dort an einem Tag eine Vielzahl von Mails eingehen, die beantwortet werden wollen. Neben reizenden Angeboten für Manneskraft stärkenden Produkten und von kyrillischen Buchstaben durchsetzten Nachrichten angeblich in Hong-Kong ansässiger Banker, die dem RaW selbstlos die Teilung horrender Vermögen andienen, richten Menschen aus der ganzen Welt den hoffnungsvollen Wunsch an das Postfach, am Wannsee rudern zu wollen. Und wahrlich aus der ganzen Welt: aus Brasilien, Frankreich, Australien, Großbritannien, USA, Ungarn, Holland und so fort.

Fragt mich nicht, wie die alle auf uns kommen. Wer rudern lernen will, versucht eigentlich sein Glück unter Neben einigen verirrten Anfängeranfragen werden also fleißig Mails bereits ausgebildeter Ruderer, wenn es sein muss auch auf Englisch, beantwortet. Das ist mittlerweile der übliche Weg, wie Menschen in unseren Klub finden. Besonders rührend sind dabei die regelmäßig von Studenten englischer und amerikanischer Universitäten eintrudelnden Bewerbungen für unsere nicht existente Klubachter-Crew. Diese, stets unter Nennung beeindruckender Ergo- oder 2.000 Meter-Zeiten übersandten Mails zu beantworten, lassen einen immer etwas hin- und hergerissen zurück. Denn ehrlich gesagt, finden diese Aspiranten bei uns leider nicht, wonach sie suchen. Aber die meisten finden, nach sie suchen oder sie erkennen, dass sie vorher hätten suchen sollen, was sie bei uns finden.

Irgendwann im Sommer 2013 erreichte das Post fach die Mail einer gewissen Jill Mazullo aus Minnesota und fand Antwort. Da nicht alle interessenten den Worten ihrer Mails auch Taten folgen lassen, hört man irgendwann auf, sich Namen oder versprochenes Erscheinen zu merken.

Jill machte es aber wahr. Sie war mit ihrem Mann, der als Hochschulprofessor hier ein Sabatjahr verbringen wollte, nach Berlin gekommen. Irgend wann schaffte sie es in unser Bootshaus. Wir haben sie dann zeitlich befristet zu unserem Mitglied gemacht. Jill ist Ende Juni wieder nach St. Paul und zum Minneanapolis Rowing Club zurück gekehrt. Unsere Masters-Frauenachter-Crew hat ihr zum Abschied eine Halskette mit einer silbernen Miniatur-Dolle geschenkt. Was aber besonders bemerkenswert ist, über das Abenteuer Berlin hat Jill fleißig einen Blog gefüttert:

Darin ist zu einem nicht unerheblichen Teil von an einem gewissen Wannsee gelegenen Ruderklub und dessen putzigen Mitgliedern die Rede. Wer mal eine, nicht selten verwunderte, Außenperspektive auf für uns völlig normale Dinge gewinnen möchte, muss diesen Blog unbedingt lesen. Ich glaube, jemand in Minnesota vermisst uns jetzt!
Dietmar Goerz

Lost in Berlin (translation)

Among the far unknown functions of the rowing warden of our club includes taking care of the email mailbox It is not uncommon for there one day to receive many emails that need answering. In addition to lovely offers for virility-enhancing products interspersed with Cyrillic letters allegedly coming from Hong Kong bankers who selflessly tender the RaW the division of a horrendous fortune, judge people from all over the world the hopeful request to the mailbox to try rowing at Wannsee. And indeed from all over the world: from Brazil, France, Australia, UK, USA, Hungary, Holland and so on.

Do not ask me how they all come to us. Whoever wants to learn to row, actually tries his luck at Besides a few stray beginners questions in diligent emails from already trained rowers are answered, even if it must be in English. This is now the usual way that people find their way into our club. Particularly touching are the regular groups of students from English and American universities with applications to our non-existent club eight crew. To answer this, always sent quoting impressive ergo or 2,000 meter times, results in a back and forth. Because frankly, this aspirant did not find that we have what he/she was looking for. But most find, search for them or they realize that they had previously are looking for, what they find with us.

Sometime in the summer of 2013 reached the post times to mail a certain Jill Mazullo from Minnesota and found an answer. Since not all interested parties also put the words of their mails into action, you will stop at some point to remember the names or promised appearance.

Jill made ​​it but true. She was with her husband, a college professor who wanted to spend a sabbatical year in Berlin. Eventually she made ​​it to our boathouse. We then made ​​a temporary basis to our member. Jill returned to St. Paul and the Minneapolis Rowing Club at the end of June. Our Masters Women Eights crew has given her a necklace with a silver miniature oarlock in farewell. What is particularly remarkable about the Berlin adventure is that Jill has diligently fed a blog:

This is in no small part about the Wannsee Rowing Club and its funny members and ways. Anyone who would like to gain an outside perspective on what for us are completely normal things must read this blog carefully. I think someone in Minnesota misses us now!
Dietmar Goerz

* * * * * * *

Dietmar got that right. Someone in Minnesota is missing the Ruderklub am Wannsee now.

Yesterday I was at the chiropractor’s and the nurse asked me if I could please take my necklace off so she could massage the sore rowing muscles in my neck, and I thought about it but soon answered no, actually, I couldn’t, I hadn’t taken it off since I’d received it; she would just have to work around it. It was, of course, the silver oarlock from the women’s eight who so kindly presented it to me after the Müggelsee regatta.

It’s not coming off anytime soon.

5 thoughts on “Someone misses us now

  1. Philipp

    Umfahrt! – Thanks to Dietmar’s article I learnt about your blog which I liked a lot. Your view on Berlin and rowing at the RaW is very entertaining.- And today, it’s Tuesday, of course we go for Umfahrt! All the best & viele Grüße

    1. Jill M. Post author

      Thanks, Philipp! Great to hear from you and glad you like the blog. I had so much fun rowing with you guys on that ridiculously wavy day. I hope you enjoy today’s Umfahrt. Take care.

  2. Emma Aspell

    Hi Jill,
    I somehow stumbled on your awesome blog as I sit here in Berlin searching for somewhere to row. After reading the comment Dietmar made about american college kids emailing him I figured maybe I’d ask you first. After sometime rowing for RaW did you become familiar with other clubs on Wanssee? I’m here for a year and would love to keep rowing. I rowed at four years at college and feel as though it would be a great place to spend time, stay active, and meet people. I’m not looking to be super competitive and train with their national team, as that was what I experienced the last four years, I am just looking for somewhere with a good balance of competitiveness and community. Would RaW be a good place or do you know of another that would be a better fit. If not it’s totally ok. I was just curious! Any and all suggestions would be so appreciated.
    Sending my best,

    1. Jill M. Post author

      Hi Emma, Thanks for your note! I can only comment on RaW as I didn’t become familiar with other clubs (except for one that’s men only). I would encourage you to contact Dietmar and try the scheduled Stammclub rows. I know there’s a contingent of younger rowers in their 20s who have weekly rows. Sounds like you have a strong background, but if you’re open to an all-ages rowing community and seek the social aspects, you really can’t beat RaW. And they have incredible rowers there in training, so perhaps you can get connected with them. I wish you well in your search and hope you have good times ahead on the Wannsee! -Jill


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