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#stayathome stories #10

In our latest installment in the series, Stephanie Biery shares the story of how she managed to find happiness during lockdown by discovering and embracing what really matters to her—her bare necessities.

The Bare Necessities

by Stephanie Biery

What have I learned from the corona pandemic and the Berlin lockdown? How could I discover my bare necessities and find happiness in a tragic situation? I learned that I needed my health, my partner Dan, contact with my family and friends, and a creative outlet.

I moved to Berlin in the spring of 2018. Dan was offered a three-year expat contract with his employer. We both decided to lean into this opportunity. We moved into the heart of the city and away from a traditional suburban home in New Jersey. We made a list of all the places we wanted to see before we moved back to the US at the end of October 2020. We had a steady stream of visitors in our guest room, including our two sons who are currently living in the US. While Dan was working, I became involved with the AWC Berlin as the philanthropy chair and have met so many amazing people, who I know will be lifelong friends. I could not have imagined a better outcome when I agreed to relocate to Berlin.

As the lockdown restrictions became our new reality, I needed to find a way to stay positive and healthy. I was worried about my family in the United States, adjusting to my husband working from home, and missing my daily routines. I discovered my bare necessities to stay healthy and positive. Every Sunday we call our sons and parents. It is comforting to hear their voices and know that they are OK. Several times a week I reach out to friends in Berlin or in the US with a phone call, text, or FaceTime. Almost every weekend Dan and I find new bike routes in the greater Berlin area. It is an activity that we have enjoyed doing together over our thirty-year marriage. We have discovered parts of the region that we would have never seen. I supplement the rides with home-gym equipment and appreciate all the free apps being offered right now for exercise.

I have also found my creative outlet. One of my bare necessities became making bears! I love working with my hands, so took the skills I learned in Pessi Margulies’s papier-mâché workshop and started creating rabbits and birds. While on one of our evening walks through Mitte, I saw a Berlin Bear and decided I would try to make one out of papier-mâché. It was definitely more challenging than the rabbits or birds I had previously made. I spent hours on end working on my first bear. Now I have four and am working on number five! I’m decorating them with newspaper clippings and other paper images that remind me of the corona lockdown. Creative work is therapeutic for me, especially while I listen to some great music and lose myself in the project. It has been a positive way to pass the time during this challenging experience.




As we all find our way through the corona pandemic, I wish you health, happiness, and the discovery of your bare necessities.


Please share!


  1. Holly says:

    Such a lovely story! You always find a way to see the bright side of any situation! You are a truly talented, imaginative, creative friend!

  2. Emery says:

    Your adventures are inspiring! The bears are pretty wonderful too. Maybe we can get in on the fun and learn to make some as well!

  3. Andrea says:

    Fabulous story Stephanie & I love love love the bears!! Stay safe & enjoy the time you have left in Berlin.

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