Every Monday, I have wanted to recap some of what my weekends entail – don’t worry I won’t write about it all, but this past weekend in particular – some things were happening here in Germany! Berlin as the capital was the place to be since 22 September was National Election Day. Yes, the vote on a Sunday. I think it’s a bit weird but it seems to make sense since this way no one is at work.
so quick recap:
Friday: I thought I would be productive and get a lot of uni work done. But alas, I did get some but not a ton done. I finally mailed out postcards that I have been carrying around with me for over two weeks! I even bought my stamps in German, well at least I tried to! I met up with a friend at Starbucks afterwards, Starbucks has wifi – you don’t realize how much you used WIfi until it is no where to be found- so we enjoyed some available internet and then went on to explore some thrift shops. I found the cutest top for 5 euros, so I think it was successful! …. Ok enough about Friday. Long story short for Friday night- life: we tried to take part in but it didn’t turn out as planned. Adventures with friends are still a lot of fun though, regardless of how they shape up.
Saturday: Again, I began it with the intention of doing a lot of uni work. The sun was out though – this is not as common here as in Massachusetts – so when an invitation to the zoo came my way- I went! (pictures to follow). Saturday night: Family dinner with a friends parents which provided a nice taste of home since they are visiting her from America and then off to a shisha lounge we went for hours of conversation, fun 90’s music and just a good time. now…
Sunday: the big election day has arrived! but first, I had a food tour to attend. The food tour took place with other students who traveled with the same Globalinks program as I did. It was a lot of fun and very filling. It took place in Neukölln, Berlin which some say is comparable to the Bronx in New York – I didn’t really see the comparison, but that’s OK. It is a borough filled with many foreigners and very ethnic food and hipster looking bars. – Definitely a cool place to go see in Berlin. After the food tour was over, I hurried over to my cousin’s apartment where some other friends and I were meeting. – quick side note: I feel so spoiled to have family here, it makes everything feel much more normal and natural. We stayed at my cousins discussing politics for a few hours. By the time we left his apartment, votes were already being counted. We had all registered to attend the Grün (green) election party. The Green Party did not do as well in the elections this year, but it was still a great experience to attend an election party and to see the candidate and other main people come out and speak to everyone. Of course with a loss in the elections it is important for the party members to rally their supporters so that faith in the party is not lost. Jürgen Trittin, the candidate for the Green party was ending his speech as we entered. It was interesting to me how loose the security was for entering this function. I mean they quickly scanned our bags but that is all. I am definitely more accustomed the large amounts of tighter security in the USA.
Overall, it was a great weekend. I was so glad that I was able to take advantage of the political scene here as well. All parties here make it on the ballot. Unlike in our primaries where only Democrat and Republican are present on the ballot. I much prefer the way that the ballot is set up in Germany compared to the USA. Pictures to come for this as well. 🙂
Hallo, again it appears that time is getting away from me. I guess it can be taken as a good sign. I am keeping busy and having a lot of fun too. University is in full swing now- I have midterms next week – Yikes! I have no idea where the weeks went. With classes only four days a week, the weeks do tend to fly by. At university I am enrolled in four courses. All but one meet once a week for three hours. My German language course meets two to three times a week for three hours each time. Next semester, I will be in the intensive track where German language courses are held all four days of the week, I am actually really looking forward to that. My other three courses this semester, my content courses are titled:
Berlin: History, Memory, Literature
Contemporary Germany in the European Perspective
History of Central European Classical Music
For the most part I love my courses. The work load is honestly more than I was expecting. For my Berlin lit class alone I have to read on average a 100-200 page novel a week. This is of course just for that oneeee class and yes it’s true, I am studying abroad and really am loving spending time exploring the city that I live in. Of course, all these things take up time.
This week I also began volunteering at an afterschool program that is down the road from my apartment called “Bus Stop”. It was founded by an evangelical church. The program provides children ages 5-15 with a safe environment to hang out in afterschool. I will be teaching pottery lessons there. Have I ever made things with pottery? Not really! But there is nothing like trying something new J This week was my first pottery lesson so that I will know how to teach the children. So far, So good.
As a study abroad student I attend the FU-BEST section of Freie Universitat Berlin. Fun fact: Freie Universitat Berlin has actually had a lot of financial support from America in years past back around the 1960’s which I did not know. The university definitely acknowledges this and has an incredible study abroad program in place.
Today for class my professor took us all out on an “excursion” to practice speaking the language… it was her birthday (Gerbustag) so we ended up at a cafe with incredibly, delicious cake (kuchen) at 9:30 in the morning!
After hours of university, my friend, Talia, my fiance, Jan-Philipp and I decided that it was about that Talia and I had our first taste of döner. We understood what all the talk was about after just one bite, Yum!
Today, my stomach was in food heaven : ) Guten Appetit!
on my first day in Berlin, during the Globalinks Bridging Cultures Program we toured the Berliner Dom … at the top one could walk all around the dome.. taking in the city views…
As I looked out… I saw a city which I was not just visiting for a couple weeks, but that I am living in for 8 months… what an incredible feeling that was.
Ach! I am really falling off the blogging band wagon and here is why… If someone tells you that they are bored in Berlin, then they simply aren’t taking part in all that the city has to offer. Each moment there is something new to see, discover and take part in. Tonight a couple friends and I found ourselves at a jazz club that is free on Monday evenings! … (That’s another great plus about Berlin – it is pretty affordable and there are many free events – so even on a student budget the city is an amazing experience). The jazz was different than other jazz that I have previously listened to… it seemed to have a modern edge to its sounds… incredible piano with some crazy drumming…
Jazz, friends, and a kristallweizen bier was a great way to end the day.
Tschüss for now!