I’ve made it through my first week, and survived (and thrived). I’ve made friends, gone to museums, eaten good food, and been to places I’ve never gone before. I’m really loving it here in Berlin.
On Thursday, my Nachtmittagskurs (afternoon course) had our first Ausflug (excursion). We went to the Deutsche Welle studio, which was really neat. We learned about Deutsche Welle and what they do and all that cool stuff. I found out that most Germans don’t know what Deutsche Welle is because they produce news for other countries, not Germany. Deutsche Welle makes news in ~30 languages on the internet, in 4 languages on TV, and then ~12 (I think) for radio. They really are super international. We got to go into the production studio where they film the American news, so I thought that was pretty neat. We also went into the big work space where the journalists create articles and content for the DW website.
After the tour, I wandered around Friedrichstrasse for a while, stopping at H&M to pick up a few clothing items because I realized that my stuff a) did not fit in with the typical German style and b) was not enough and I would’ve had to repeat outfits within the same week (oh, the horror!). I did find some really cute items though, and I’m glad I stopped in. I found two pairs of long pants (not jeans) and a pair of shorts that fit PERFECTLY. I also grabbed some nice t-shirts in my two favorite colors to wear – gray & army green. Since I’ve been here, I’ve also bought a pair of cute, everyday sneakers, so I’m looking forward to showing off my new style once I’m home.
Yesterday (Friday) was a full day. I had Unterricht in the morning, where we worked on case endings, declination, and pronouns. Super interesting stuff. I’m enjoying what we’re learning because grammar has never been my strong suit, but it’s being drilled into my head here, so hopefully, thumbs pressed, it’ll stick this time. (Thumbs pressed is the direct English translation of the German version of ‘fingers crossed’ – ich druecke dir die Daumen.) My friends and I all had our Nachmittag free, so we went to Da Da Falafel, a falafel restaurant a few blocks from HU, for lunch. There I had some delicious schwarma and hummus. We sat at the table for while because it was hot out, and we were enjoying the shade. Afterwards, two of my friends went home, and Clara and I headed to the Berlinische Gallerie (Berlin Gallery).
The Berlinerische Gallerie is a museum of modern German art. The museum isn’t very big compared to museums I’m used to (Museum of Science and Industry, Art Institute, etc.), but it’s really interesting. Currently, they have an exhibit from Lotte Laserstein, who was a prominent artist during the early-mid 1900’s, and her art was verboten by the Nazis during WWII.
There was also art from other artists during that time period who had similar styles, as well as art that was completely different. I don’t remember the names of the artists or the paintings/pictures unfortunately.
After the museum, I hopped onto the U-Bahn (subway) and ran home real quick (although ‘quick’ is really not the correct word because it takes me 45 minutes to get from where I live to the center of Berlin, so ‘real quick’ is really like to go home, shower, take a power nap, and come back in under 2 hours). I had to do all that so quickly because my program at HU was having a little Ausflug (excursion) to Prater Biergarten, and I was meeting up there with my friends at 7:00. I made a quick pit stop on the way to the Biergarten to grab a Berlin classic, Currywurst. That stuff is so dang tasty.
At the Biergarten, I found my friends and ordered a beer, but I didn’t know what to get, so I ordered Berliner Weiss mit Schuss rot (Berliner Weiss with red syrup). I later found out that some people call this Maedchenbier (girl beer) because it’s what women drink. After my Maedchenbier, I decided to ask a real German what I should order, so I asked one of the women who works with my program, “What kind of beer should I order if I don’t like beer?” She recommended Radler, and as it turns out, I quite liked it. So now I know what to order next time.
The rest of the evening was spent talking with my friends, making new friends, and laughing a lot. It was so much fun and so interesting to talk with students from so many different countries and at so many different points in their lives. Most of us are working on our Bachelor’s degree, but a good number of students are working towards their Master’s of PhD, which was surprising at first, since I assumed it would all be undergrad students. But the diversity only makes conversations more interesting because not only are we diverse culturally, but also educationally.
Today has been a very lazy day, but I’ve very much enjoyed it after my busy first week here. I finished up my Hausaufgaben (homework), did my laundry, had the classic Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee and cake) with my Gastfamilie (host family), and now I’m going to run to Aldi and pick up some stuff.
That’s what I’ve been up to for the past few days, and I’ll (hopefully) post again on Monday (or maybe Tuesday…). Tschussi!