Here are more pictures from my parents visit:
You may recognize these dapper siblings in front of a little known gate. Brandenburger Tor anyone?
Just me & my best bud
I’m so sorry for the super long delay! I’ve been so AWFUL at updating this! This has to be the longest time it’s ever taken me to update. I would like to make a shoutout to Kevin Peterson, who said he loves reading this blog! And months and months ago I told him I would give him a shoutout. So hi everyone! So this post isn’t going to be very long or have a ton of pictures, but I’m working on it! It will take a while to catch you all up.
So my family was supposed to come on the 17th of December, and I was so excited to see them & had to distract myself. So one night my friend Lisa and I went to a roller derby match. And it. was. LEGENDARY! I don’t know if you guys know what rollerderby is, but if you dont, i will attach a clip that pretty much shows you the gist of it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjILbdZ_d3Y It’s basically just rollerblading in circles and beating people with your limbs. And they have awesome nicknames. Thus, its totally fun to watch. We watched the 1st annual German finals, Berlin Bombshells v. the Stuttgart something or others. It was suchhh a good game! And really intense. One of the BB fans tripped the mascot for the Stuttgart team and one of the roller girls from the stuttgart team saw him and stopped playing to go over and beat his ass. She seriously was punching this huge guy, it was so intense! Here’s a picture of my friend Lisa & I at the game (its called a bout haha)
The pictures are taking forever to add! This one took like 10 minutes. So I will slowly but surely update you all on my trip. But as you all know (I’m sure), my family was supposed to get here on the 17th of December but London being dumb (no offense people from the island) they were stranded for 6 days…even though the weather wasn’t bad…at all. unless you count clouds and 32 degrees “severe weather”. But I was reaching the point where I no longer believed I would see them for Christmas and I would spend the holiday all alone (my favorite holiday too). But thank goodness, they made it here Christmas eve eve (the 23rd). It was completely overwhelming seeing them at the airport. My mom & i both started crying just being overcome with emotion. It was truly amazing seeing them and I think I speak for them when I say we had an absolutely amazing trip. We went to a beautiful Christmas market, I showed them around the wall and churches, we went to Potsdam for a day, and we ate delicious food! It was so so much fun being with them, but definitely too short. And I can even say my brother had fun too. He doesnt read this, so I can go ahead and say he loves his sister so much and had so much fun with her 🙂 But I think we all had a blast, just hanging out together. I forgot how cool my family is. But I was reminded. It was AMAZING! I will definitely tell the stories better in person, but in the name of having to cover a lot, I will be moving on. Here’s a picture (and I will of course have more pictures).
So last thing for now. I had this weird epiphany. Upon returning to Berlin from Heidelberg (I’ll go into that in my next post) I got off the train, and I literally felt like I was home. It was seriously this rush of excitement to be back home. Which is weird, because I have never felt that way about Berlin. Since then, the thought of leaving makes me insanely sad. I was always excited about going back to see my friends and family (who I am still excited about seeing), but the idea of leaving Berlin seriously breaks my heart. I’m so incredibly in love with this place. I haven’t had that hard of a time here homesickness wise, but I kind of fell into a rut where Berlin was feeling a bit ordinary, I guess cause I lived here. But I got off the train and it was like BAM, I’m in BERLIN!!! Since then, I have been going out with friends a lot and just really enjoying the city. A few friends and I went to this bar called Solar, which is on the 16th floor of a building and has the most breathtaking views of the city. It’s definitely the last place I want to go before leaving Berlin. You can see all of the historical sights and everything is so beautiful at night. Basically, I’m really bummed about having to go home. I’m so excited to see my family and friends, but the thought of leaving Berlin forever, or at least for a long time makes me so sad. I’ve never been to such an amazing place. Seriously, I’m gushing here like Berlin were a hot boy, but AHHH I’m seriously in love with this city. (As a sidenote, I have always liked it here, but I feel such a strong attachment to it now, it’s going to be really hard to leave). But yup, I hope that gives you a very short appetizer, a small smackerel of what my life is like as of now. But I will definitely keep updating with other stuff! Thanks again for reading and I miss & love you all! Can’t wait to see you guys!!!
By the way, I dont know if you all realized this, but I’m going to be home in like 6-7 weeks. Ummmmmmmmmmm. Question: Where the heck did the time go???
Hi everyone! So this is me keeping up to date with this blog. High five! Anyways, this past weekend I went to Ireland, Dublin, Ireland to be specific. I went with two girls from my program, and it was A BLAST! We flew the amazingly cheap Ryan Air and got there late afternoon. We stayed in a super cheap hostel, but for as much as we payed, it was actually quite nice (except no hot water for showers, that was kind of intense). That night we tried to find an affordable dinner, not really an option in Ireland haha. We ended up eating at a diner that was similar to Johnny Rockets. Now, to anyone reading this, you might be like why there? But it was really nice to eat a burger (since we haven’t had any) and listen to Grease Lightening and Dancing Queen from a jukebox. After dinner & walking around (ps – Dublin = amazingly gorgeous and cool city), we went to a pub called the Bleeding Horse, right across from our hostel. It was very fun and I had…yes obviously BULMERS! It was just as good as I remember it and I missed it so much! My friends were very impressed with it! I also decided to have a pint of Guinness, even though last time I was in Ireland I didn’t particularly enjoy it, but this time I actually thought it was really delicious!!! So I had another. Because it was that good! I’m definitely a fan of Guinness now. That night we walked around the city at night and I stumbled on none other than the Jury Inn & Christ Church!! Where we stayed last time 🙂 It was amazing and I was overwhelmed with all of the memories of our previous trip to Ireland, it really made me miss the family trip. It felt like just yesterday we were all staying at the Jury Inn and taking a tour of Guinness. It was so cool to see it again though!
Here are some pics from that night:
The next day we walked around the city a ton, I had porridge for breakfast (yummy!!) and we walked to Dublin Castle and took a tour. It was really cool to see the castle and hear about the history. Afterwards we walked around the city most of the day. I didn’t take pictures because my friends and i forgot to bring the right converter for our chargers, so we staggered days of taking pictures. I bought a new Claddagh ring! My old Claddagh broke, so I wanted to buy a new one, so now I have one! That night my friends and I decided to splurge on an authentic Irish dinner, I had Corned Beef and potatoes and veggies and gravy. It was sooo good and was super hearty because it was so cold outside. But the Corned Beef had nothing to Oscars corned beef, honestly. But it was still really good. That night my friends went out to an Irish pub to look for traditional irish music, but the pub was packed so we couldn’t really hear or see anything. But we drank Guinness/Bulmers and met a bunch of Irish lads who were really nice and had the cutest accents. I love Irish accents, and the Irish were so nice! That night I came out of the shower and my friends burst in and said how it was snowing a ton, so I stuffed my wet hair into a hat and we ran outside in the snow! It was so so so much fun and absolutely beautiful. Everyone was going crazy for the snow, because it was the first snow of the year. We played in teh snow for at least 2 hrs, until almost 3 in the morning. We had snowball fights with random groups of people and even with the bouncer at the Bleeding Horse Pub because he was on duty and bored. It was really really fun. Here are some pics!
The next day we went to Trinity College and it was beautiful with all of the fresh snow everywhere. We wanted to see the Book of Khells but it was pretty expensive, so we just walked around the campus. That day there was a ton of ice on the sidewalks and it was really really slippery. Also, my friend ate it on the ice, it was actually pretty funny. Oh & I took a picture under the Peterson of Dublin sign (the same one we took a picture under last time 🙂 ). We went to the National Gallery and saw some Caravaggio and other famous artists. We went to a Milkshake bar and tried a delicious nutella milkshake! Yum! That night (our last night) we found a legit pub with legitimate irish folk music. It was absolutely amazing. The music was soooo good and so traditional and Irish. I took like an hour of video. But video can’t even do it justice, because the music was so amazing. I was honestly in awe for like an hour. It was by far my favorite part of my trip. Here are some pictures and even some videos of it! If they will upload haha.
But anyways, overall it was an absolutely amazing trip! I really love Dublin, probably my favorite city in Europe. Nicest people, cutest accents. So basically, family, we need to plan another trip to Ireland, and soon! Such a beautiful country! I missed you all so much when I was walking around Dublin, reminiscing at our last trip. So let’s go to Dublin again soon, seriously! I miss you guys & love you all so much!! (videos arent working now, but i will try to add them when I’m back from Rothenburg, where i’m off to bright and early tmrw morning! My first trip by myself to a medieval town in southern Germany known for its amazing Christmas markets, I’m excited!!)
LOVE YOU GUYS!!!
Hi everyone! Okay I’m going to catch you up on the big events of the past month or two (and actually will update more normally haha). I went to my first professional soccer game with my program. It was so fun! We watched the local team, Hertha BSC play Achen and it wasn’t a super exciting game (goal wise) but it was still really fun! The game was played in Olympia Stadium (the Olympic Stadium) where the Olympics were hosted in the 1930s. It’s crazy! Jesse Owens, the famous black Olympian who won a bunch of medals and was then publicly shunned by Hitler who walked out all took place at this stadium! It’s a beautiful building, it kinda looks like the Colosseum. Here’s a picture at the game:
Speaking of the SNOW! It snowed here for the first time like a week ago!!! It was A-MAZING! I could smell the snow before it came. Like Lorelai Gilmore. I could sense it was coming, then it began to snow at like 1:30 am and I was so excited I put on my ski jacket, grabbed my christmas music and walked around in the snow. Basically, it was amazing! I’m in love with the snow! It’s really really cold here! It’s so hard to get used to the cold weather. I feel like it was a good level of cold & then it turned FUH-REEZING. Like literally overnight. Right now the high is 25 and it says that it feels like 16 degrees. Ahh! That’s so cold! It’s cold to the core.
Here are some pictures from “The Festival of Lights”. The Festival of Lights is in November for like a week and a half where pretty lights are projected onto famous landmarks in Berlin. Here are a few pictures:
Basically, amazing! It was very beautiful! What else has happened…hmm. Not too much. I’m taking my normal classes now. I’m taking the following in German: a language class, a pronunciation class, and the government system of Germany. My one class in English is Mass Murder and Armed Conflict: Developments in International Law. They are all pretty classes. But I don’t like my German government class very much. It’s really hard and we still haven’t received our books for the course, which is kind of ridiculous because he keeps assigning us readings. But its okay, my other classes are interesting. And I only have them once a week, it’s quite nice.
So there is a small town nearby to Berlin, called Potsdam and its covered by my train pass, so I can essentially visit it for free. I’ve been there twice so far because there is this big castle there. I haven’t been to the castle yet, but I got to visit a really cute Christmas market there. It has amazing homemade candles and mittens and hats, and wurst and cheese. Here are some pics:
Thanksgiving was sad to spend in Berlin. But I did get to skype with my family and that was amazing! I was so happy to talk to everyone, although it made me sad not to be there with them. But I think they had a great Thanksgiving, so I’m happy 🙂 I can’t wait to celebrate with them next year, they were dearly missed this year!!!!
So I miss you all a ton and I will be better at updating, so check back regularly! Love you guys & miss you so much!!
I just wanted to say that looking at pictures and such made me miss all you Petersons and Hoescheles out there (okay, not all the Petersons because Peterson is a very generic last name, but the ones who are related to me). I really really miss all of you guys and thinking about missing Thanksgiving makes me so depressed you can’t imagine. It’s my favorite time to spend with all of you guys, I love the annual football game and sitting around and laughing and talking and just enjoying each other’s company. I’m really really going to miss that. Being so far away has made me realize just how much I’m going to miss it. I hope you guys have a wonderful time together (i will be super jealous) and i hope my parents will make sure skype is set up so I can be there too, via the magnificent internet. I miss you all so so so much and love you all so much more and I will leave you with a picture, and a song that is worth OH SO MANY family memories 🙂 I love you guys so much!
Miss you all so much!!!
We’re having the biggest peterson party ever when I’m back!! 🙂 MISS YOU GUYS AND LOVE YOU ALL!!
Hi everyone! I realize I’m pretty awful at updating this. But every time I realize it’s been a long time, I just realize how much I have to talk about and then I don’t want to do it. But here we go. I’m going to try and speed through. My language class is going pretty well, although I just got a test back that I legitly failed. But in my defense, I got points of for something the teacher didn’t specify (the tense in which we were supposed to write, so not my fault). Also, an A was a 58%, so the class as a whole did pretty awful. And apparently she gave us a “hint” in the question, that basically told you if it was dative and accusative (giberish to you all non german speakers im sure), but I definitely missed this cue. Oh well. I have settled that I will never be a German master. But here’s the thing, many germans find my accent + the way i tend to say things (when I forget a word, i beat around the bush) as cute and endearing, so I’m happy with that 🙂
So classes = good. Umm. Oh my sense of direction. I don’t know why, but recently I have been getting lost. I had my definite epic berlin nightlife experience (to spare you old ones of the details haha). It was so much fun! We went to a bar that is infamous for the fact that girls get in for free and 10 euros worth of free drinks before midnight (thats around 13 dollars worth, just saying). Anyways, getting home on the trains is very difficult to do, but one of my buds helped me home, so all is well (don’t worry, i was safe). But people here stay out so late! I got home at almost 5 am…I’m just tired looking at that. Jeez oh man. 5 am. I usually wake up a few hours after that haha. But later in the week, I went out for drinks and unbeknownst (yeah i just used that word) to me, the SBahn stops running at 1 am. Basically I ended up having to walk home for 2 hours, quite an experience! Again, i will stress that having shared this story, I was of course so incredibly safe. Even though Berlin is a big city, it feels very safe (not to say I’m going to go crazy, but its nice to know).
Oooh I decided i wanted to go for a walk in this area of Berlin known as Templehof. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this already, but Templehof is the site of the famous Berlin airlift where the Allies brought supplies to the blockaded Berlin. So pretty cool that I got to go walking there. It was beautiful. I mean everywhere in Germany is, but wow, it was amazing. There were beautiful clouds everywhere. After walking around for a while, I found a nice place in the grass and lay on my back listening to my music and watching the sky and all the beautiful clouds. I love clouds. Oh my gosh, it was absolutely amazing. These pictures really don’t do it justice, but here is a shot:
The next week was whatever. I really don’t remember the order of things I did, but I did visit the famous Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe). It’s like Harrods in London, amazingly large and amazing. 7 floors of super expensive gucci and other designers. Here’s a picture of the amazing food section!
This is very confusing, the adding pictures and writing underneath it. So bear with me. This is the cake section. But what I’m about to display almost killed me with joy, yeah they had a TEA section. Like every tea in the world, in little pots. Brace yourself, you may be overcome with joy, as I was. Ready? Are you sure. Be careful. Deep breath. Okay look:
Anyways, if anybody who reads this decides to come visit me, I will personally escort you and walk through the store and aww at everything with you. It’s the most amazing store! I’m definitely taking my parents and even my little brother!
Oh here’s a big picture of the outside:
So what else did i do since then…i’ve gone to dinner’s at my friends places and out to dinner. Delicious food in Berlin. Umm what else what else. Well I guess this leads me to OKTOBERFEST! This past weekend I went to Oktoberfest in Munich and to visit my cousin Harriet and aunt Bille (I think its like great cousin or step cousin, but you get the gist).
I woke up at 4 am to catch my bus to my train to my real legit ICE high speed train. I was wearing my UCD sweatshirt on the train and the guy next to me asked me if I went to UC Davis, and I was like OH MY GOSH YES YOU KNOW WHERE THAT IS!? Apparently he was from USD! It was very cool and we chatted for like an hour, and then I attempted to sleep. Didn’t work. After my 6 hr train trip, I got to Munich and went back to my aunts house to change into a Dirndl, the traditional outfits girls wear to Oktoberfest. They are technically milkmaid outfits, back in the day and they are very Bavarian. Oh yeah, and adorable I might add. I really want to get one, but I did not feel like trying to wait in the mob like lines for one, so I will look for one here or look again when I go back to Munich before I leave. Anyways, I got to borrow one and then headed off! Unfortunately I didn’t take a ton of pictures because I didn’t want to stick out and I was too busy looking at everything.
First off, we got off the SBahn in downtown and so many girls were in dirndl’s and guys were in lederhosen. It was so cool! We walked for a while and finally got to the entrance of the Oktoberfest, it was PACKED. PA-CK-ED. Never seen more people in my life. It was like the CA state fair of the world. With tons of drunk people haha. The guys weren’t even discreet. They would yell at you in German or like drunkenly lunge at you. It was pretty funny. We headed to a tent after walking around for a bit. This isn’t like a tent made of cloth, but a big building (apparently they are called tents). We tried to get in, but there were so many people, finally we were like smashed inside. It was INSANE how many people there were. There were rows of tables, but you couldn’t even tell because there were people everywhere. We tried to find my cousins friends, because apparently they had reserved a table. Otherwise, you would have nowhere to sit. Her friends got there at around 9 am to get a table. Finally we found them. The only way we could all fit and not get trampled by the sea of people passing through the aisles was to stand on the tables. I think there were like 15 or 20 of us.
The beer mugs are huge, as anybody knows. It’s amazing seeing the women carrying them. They carry five in each hand and 2 or 3 balanced on top. It’s ridiculous. Those beers pack a punch though. One was all I needed to feel very German. Then the bavarian music started and it was sooooo stereotypically german, but in the best way possible. Basically everyone would link arms and have a beer in their hand and sway and yell the words to the songs, and everyone who was anyone knew the words (i didn’t, haha). But it was so fun, just standing there and yelling the words to the songs. My cousins friends were really funny and they thought it was so cool I was from California. I was like oh I’m from America, and they were like uhh oh. And then they would ask where. And I would answer, California. And they would go crazy “OHH CALIFORNIA! Are you from the OC? Do you know Mischa Barton? Do you watch the OC?” It was very fun. I got a migraine though, and so by the end, it was not so fun. But overall, i would say that it was quite an experience and I definitely want to go back.
Unfortunately, both my cousin and i were sick the next day (we walked home in the pouring rain and it was freezing cold). So that was no fun. I watched Monk in german with her haha. Overall it was a good trip to Munich and a good first Oktoberfest. Next time I’m going to get a better night sleep before I go. Here is a couple pictures I took. My aunt has other ones, I have to email her for them.
Oh, I also had dinner (right before I went to Munich) with my dad’s cousin and his wife from Antwerp, Belgium in Berlin with their friends. It was actually really fun to see him and to get to know his friends. They were so excited to see me, it made me so happy! I was even guaranteed an all inclusive trip to Antwerp (ticket and all!)
okay, I need to do my hw, and actually do it right so I’m done here. Oh here are some pictures. Love you all and miss you all!!! Ps if any of you want a postcard, please message me or email me or somehow send me your address! I love writing postcards, but I don’t have anyones address!
(Me and my cousin)
Here is one of my cousins friend and I:
Some of the actual Oktoberfest – i know it doesn’t look like a lot of people, but at times it was so claustrophobic! Trust me, packed like a shipping box.
*A note on the title. I have no idea how to title these things. Like honestly, I’m not that creative, so deal with the dumb titles to these blog entries.
So, not too much is new since I last wrote. I’ve had my language class all week, which as been interesting. Most of the class is full of french people and its really hard to understand them when they speak German. But it’s cool taking classes with so many different people. I’ve met some pretty cool people in my program, some interesting, some definitely weird (and when I mean weird, I mean really really weird). But for the most part, they are a pretty cool group of people.
I went to dinner with some friends over the weekend and I tried my first Long Island Iced Tea. That drink means business! And also, unfortunately, does not help with laryngitis or colds or what not. But as to be expected, eh? Anyways, my laryngitis is gone, i have my voice, but i think i have developed strep throat, because now my throat hurts a lot and i looked in the mirror and i have a bunch of red lines and dots on the inside of my throat. I want to not be sick! I’ve been sick for almost 2 weeks now! Its kind of ridiculous. But anyways, haven’t done too much this week. Registering for classes, going out to eat, drink, hang out.
(My super sweet roommate made me breakfast and wrote me a really nice note my first day back in Berlin) 🙂
Yesterday (Saturday) I decided to go to Potsdamer Platz (the old middle of Berlin) and look around. I went to the Sony Center (this time I will hopefully attach pictures), which was a super cool looking building, but there wasn’t really anything inside (places where you could drink, lots of restaurants, and tons of movie theaters, but i couldn’t find shops. Granted, I could be going blind, but I didn’t see anything). When I came out, I could see all these people and what looked like a protest or demonstration or something. I sat and listened for about 5 minutes and couldn’t figure out what it was for. So, I walked up to a police officer (because they were EVERYWHERE), and I asked him, in my best German “Was ist los?” (What’s going on). He answered me so fast and I could tell that I had the blankest expression on my face. And I just nodded and smiled and he looked at me like he knew I didn’t understand him. Overall, quite an interesting experience. After sitting down in the grass and watching for about half an hour, I decided the rally had to do with one or a few or all of the following topics: The government, the police, September 11th, shit shit shit, taxes, too much taxes, foreigners. That’s all I could really understand. But there were so many police officers. I have never seen more in my life. There was a street full of busses that were parked and were full of officers. I was like, hot diggity!
Anyways, today for our class assignment we were supposed to take a walking tour of a part of Berlin. I chose Prenzlauer Berg (Prentzl Berg) and I got lost like immediately, so i decided not to do the tour and just walked around. I found this really cute fair type thing. It was like a mix of a street market, a flea market, and then like little concerts and a little fair, all in one. Those Germans. I will attach some pictures. Among the things I saw: a teeny ferris wheel with 4 little compartments, little stands, a bunch of German 5 year olds dancing on a stage to Flo Rida and a song from high school musical (which I thought was hilarious, especially the Flo Rida).
On the subway home, some guy was lighting his pants on fire with a lighter. Which confused me greatly. But I also thought was kind of funny. I have no idea what he
So area I live in is super nice, but at night, it’s definitely legitly creepy. I live by this huge park and at night the park is dark dark dark and hoodlums hang out there. Walking at night is creepy because its completely deserted. I was coming back from dinner one night around 1 in the am, and this guy started following me on a bike and talking to me in German. I was definitely creeped out, but I pulled the hole “Oh my gosh I’m sorry I don’t speak German” card. And he left me alone. But I was creeped out to be sure.
Today on the U-Bahn I met this guy from New York! It was so cool. He was getting on at the same stop as me and asked someone in English if the U-Bahn went to Alexanderplatz, so I turned around and asked him where he was from (because he spoke English). It’s cool to meet people from America and compare where your from. He and I chatted for like 20 minutes and then he went to go take his tour and I caught my connecting S-Bahn. But it was super cool to meet someone from the US of A!
Can’t think of much more to write about…I’m going to go find me some dinner soon, I’m quite hungry.
Oh, as a sidenote, I have become completely and totally addicted to Sudoku. I always used to like Sudoku back home, but now I do Sudoku on the S-Bahn and find myself doing Sudoku before I go to sleep and when I go to lunch with my friends. Basically I’ve become the sudoku master. No big deal.
Here are pics of my place:
So I’ve been in Berlin for a week now, living in my cool new place (it’s pretty swank, if I do say so myself). It’s been a pretty good week. I’ve been homesick, not really all the time and not that bad. But the first night I felt really lonely. But at random points I will really miss being home. It’s very tiring speaking and listening to German, and its frustrating knowing I’m not coming off as intelligently as I think I am (not inflating my ego here, but I don’t speak at a very intelligent level).
But anyways, I moved into my place, and its really cute! I will try and attach pictures. My roommate is so incredibly sweet! I have 2, but one hasn’t moved in yet. But the one I have met is so nice! She always smiles and constantly speaks to me in German, but she is very patient if I don’t understand her and she always sits down with me in the kitchen at night for an hour and we chat in German about politics and life and Germany while drinking red wine and eating dark chocolate. Or banana beer. That one was interesting.
I still haven’t seen too many sights. I took a boat tour my first day alone in Berlin because I didn’t want to sit around and do nothing. It was nice, but I think there was a retirement center there, because there were all of these old people. They were so incredibly cute! Granted, I think old people are adorable, but these were old German couples and old German ladies and they were all speaking in German to each other, but they couldn’t hear each other so each was trying to talk louder than the other. Which was cute, except I couldn’t hear the tour, so I sat upstairs. And it was raining and kind of windy, but it stopped raining after a bit. But this little adventure might have led to, or at least aggravated…
Laryngitis! I’m about 90% sure I got laryngitis while in Germany. It sucked. I wasn’t feeling well ever since my mom left because she was sick, but I started feeling worse and worse, and the day before my placement test for my German language program, I lost my voice. I spent the next couple days without my voice and sounding like a damn fool.
The language placement exam we took was probably one of the hardest tests i have ever taken in my life. The test was a paragraph and words were taken apart where the first letter or two would be there but you had to fill in the rest, very difficult. I got a 49%. Which sounds bad, but its much better than most and better than most. Now this may not sound nerve-wracking, but if you fail this placement exam, you fail out of the program. Like LEGIT. I checked, and there were a few people that definitely did fail out of the program. I’m so thankful I didn’t. But I placed into the second highest course, and its been decent, but our professor speaks pretty quickly and explains grammar in German, which is harder to understand because I learned German in English, if that makes sense. I mean obviously I learned it in German, but the cases and different forms we learned in English.
But going to the university is pretty cool. It’s very pretty and there are about 150 people doing the Vorkurs Deutsch (which is our language program). I have met people from so many different countries; Japan, Italy, France, Hungary, Greece, Spain, Taiwan, England, Whales, etc.. It’s really cool, because meeting people from other countries you definitely have more to talk about. I sat with these two British girls the first day and they were so cute with their accents! They were talking about how hard it was to find ‘flats’ and how excited they were for our ‘modules’ (classes).
But anyways, all in all its finally settling down and I’ve started meeting more people now that the program has started. Its a lot different getting to campus though. It’s quite a commute compared to UCD, where biking would take me 10-15 minutes. Here I have to walk to the s-bahn station and transfer 2-3 times before I get to campus and have to walk, total trip taking about an hour. But I kind of like it at the same time. Also, they have an equivalent to the dinning commons, called the Mensa, and it’s got all sorts of food (and yummy cocoa!). You put money on a card and then go in and find food, when you pay, you set your card on a scanner and like magic it subtracts money from your card. But its like you set it on a counter and it takes the money off of the card, it blows my mind!
But the people are nice and I’m starting to feel a bit better, although very tired still. I attempted to cure the common cold with a nice delicious and refreshing Hefeweizen on Wednesday when our EAP group went to a beer garden, and I am sad to report that Hefeweizen, does NOT in fact cure the common cold. But I’m still looking around.
Love you all and miss you all tons!
Hello everyone! I’m so sorry it took me so long to post (and some of you may wonder who cares, but i would say a handful do!) I suppose I was too lazy to update because I knew it would take a while to write it all out, and the longer I postponed, the more I had to write about. So in a sense, I just made it harder work. But that’s okay. I’m currently on the train from Amsterdam to Berlin (7 hrs, all right!). But its one of the most beautiful train trips I have ever taken, so half of me is kicking myself for spending some of it writing. But because of a good education in Type To Learn, I can write this as I look out the window (yes, i am that talented).
The countryside is so beautiful, that beautiful isn’t even a good enough word to describe it. It’s absolutely breathtaking. For 7 hours, so honestly I spend the whole time looking out the window. Its basically passing huge green fields with trees everywhere and an enormous sky with lots & lots of beautiful clouds. Its absolutely amazing (see the many pictures I will hopefully be able to put below this, but who knows, it could be tricky).
Also, there is a girl next to me with the cutest kitten. It has orange stripes and blue eyes and keeps meowing and distracting me. It’s so cute!! It’s napping in this girls lap. I want a kitten!! (calm down mom, i’m not actually going to get one).
So where did I leave off?
Somewhere in London…Ah yes. I’m not sure what I wrote, so forgive me if I’m repeating myself but I don’t have internet so I can’t read what I have written. We got to London and my suitcase was lost. Which yes happens, but yes I was also upset about. We stayed in “central london” which didn’t seem central at all, because we either had to walk for a while to get anywhere or take the tube. A note on the underground in London. I love it! I wish I could take the underground to UCD. I love everything you see, and being underground is pretty cool too. Anyways, I’m trying to remember what we did…the first day we got there we just wandered around, but then the second day we went & did a tour of the Tower of London, which was really really cool. The Tower of London is basically where King Henry the 8th lived at some point (at least I’m pretty sure). It’s also the sight of super famous executions like that of Anne Boelyn (for you people who watch The Tudors, its basically where that show would have taken place). Its a surreal feeling to think it all took place and you are at the same place like hundreds of years later…We also saw the Crown Jewel (what the Queen wears, her crown). Its huge! We also saw royal scepters and swords and what not. I’m pretty sure we saw the largest diamond in the world, which I always thought was the Hope Diamond, but this one they said was 533 carats and it was HUGE (it was in the head of a royal scepter). Anyways, after that we went to….my memory is all tuckered out…we went to…oh yeah. The London Bridge (like the Fergie song & the same one where Joey and Chandler pass under on FRIENDS!) Then to Big Ben (all beautiful by the way). We spent a lot of time walking, but it’s refreshing and a nice way to see things.
One thing I love about traveling is eating out in yummy restaurants. A note on English food. It’s not very good. Scratch that, I would say it’s the worst ethnic food (if you can even call it that). I love their tea though. But their food is just weird.
Anyways, a note on my lost bag, it turned up! We think someone mistakenly took it for theirs and then realized it wasn’t and came back the next day to return it. Either that or they were planning on stealing it and then opened it and thought it couldn’t sell for anything…either way, I got it back! Needless to say, I was very happy.
I love British accents. Like so does everybody, but for very good reason.
After like a day and a half in London, we went to Berlin! Let’s just say that Berlin is the most wonderful city! It’s HUGE. Like HUGELY ENORMOUS (thats what she said) but it’s honestly the biggest city I feel I have ever been in. But the weird thing is, it doesnt feel that big. I guess it feels like many cities, and when you ride around on the U-Bahn (underground) you feel like you are entering different towns. Its really cool. Anyways, my mom and i had a series of unfortunate events (so it became dubbed) after we arrived. My laptop crashed (my beloved beloved macbook, may he rest in peace) the day after we got there, and I was again upset, a. because it’s my laptop, i don’t know who would be overjoyed if their laptop crashed, b. i was using it to search for apartments, which was proving to be a very stressful and time consuming task. Without a laptop i wouldn’t have the convenience of just searching on it but would have to pay for internet on a card downstairs (2 Euro an hr). So I was pretty upset, but my optimistic mom told me not to lose hope, we would buy one the next day. So we traveled to the Media Markt where you buy electronics and tried to buy a computer with a credit card. But lucky us, they said they couldn’t sell it to us with a credit card, so we had to pay for it in cash. So we take my dad’s bank card to the ATM machine to take out the money and it eats our card. Now that’s clearly not good.
So now we have lost our German bank account card & my mom and i are each left with our American ATM cards. So each day, we take out as much as we can (250 euro) and save up for the laptop and food and housing. So to end the computer saga, like 5 days later, I got a new mac with a German keyboard (but the computer recognizes an American keyboard, so when I type, even though some of the keys are different, teh computer recognizes as is). So, problem solved.
Housing: My program does not guarantee me housing. The dorms which are in a sketch area of Berlin (east berlin) are supposedly crappy and far from campus, so i decided that I wanted to live in an apt. Finding one is easier said than done. I searched a couple websites and because I didn’t have a cell phone, I had to email these people. A note on phones. For some reason, in Germany you can’t buy a prepaid phone that easily. Or so it was at first. You have to have your passport and proof that you have a residence. Which I didn’t. But to get a residence I needed to interview with people and make appointments, which I needed a phone to do. So anyways, I was a little frustrated. But people were actually pretty responsive to the emails. The first place I saw was ehhh and the woman was like super anal about it being quiet, saying that i couldn’t pee or shower after 11:00 PM, so I nexted it. Next place was pretty good. Third place I loved, but it was 45 minutes from campus (but not a lot of changes, just two S-Bahns (streetcars)). The last place was it. The one. Before I even saw it, we knew it. The area around it is so pretty and there is a church and a park down the street and it smells so green and is away from the center and only like 15 minutes from campus (and our housing guide said that anything within 30 minutes of campus is considered close). However I can’t move into this place until October, so I struck a deal with the 3rd lady and am living with her for a month and then moving in with the other one. Basically, YAY!
I spent so much time talking about housing because thats seriously all my mom and i did for the first like 5 days. Our place in Berlin was part of a hostel called the Circus Hostel. Honestly it was so nice (pictures below are from our balcony). It was even reasonably priced. A note on the food in Berlin. It’s honestly phenomenal. I know anyone thinks that the only food that is in germany are Wienerschintzels and Sauerbraten. But wow is the ethnic food good. We had Indian two nights and I LOVE indian and it was amazing indian food, like better than Kathmandu if you can believe it. But I have to say that I had this thing called a Kebap (similar to a gyro, but like a million times better). And its honestly the best thing ever. And they are super super cheap. Like 2.50 euro. I honestly want to send them home, if they didn’t spoil. But food in Berlin is amazing.
As for sights, we didn’t do too much sightseeing. I walked to a church one day after looking for apartments and climbed into the bell tower and had a beautiful view of the city. I went to the wall with my mom and to Checkpoint Charley, one of the crossing over points. We also went to the Berlin wall, which was a really surreal experience. Its weird to think that the city was so divided, when it seems so unified now, only 20 years later. It’s amazing that this city was so divided. The wall was literally built overnight, people who were visiting friends or traveling over where stuck there when they woke up because they set up borders literally overnight. It was really unbelievable to see. We also went to the Bundestag and the Brandenburg Gate.
Ps the random hotel is the same one where Michael Jackson infamously held his son Blanket over the railing, with a blanket on his head. It’s also where Obama stays when he goes to Germany!
A note on the campus: It’s not much of a campus. Campus buildings are built in residential neighborhoods so its hard to tell what is a school building and what is someones house (i almost walked into a house on accident). But its gorgeous, its so green and out of the busy part of the city.
I had the best cup of hot cocoa at this super famous chocolate store. It was like 3 stories. And amazing. And the hot cocoa was so good. It was like the movie Ciocolat. And they had a titanic made out of chocolate. Yummmm.
(I know this is super long, i apologize! But bear with me, they definitely won’t normally be this long).
My orientation is on Friday, and I’m excited to meet other people from my program (and go to the barsssss!) My language placement test is on Monday and then I start language classes from their, about 5 hours a day for 6 weeks, then school starts in the middle of october.
I’m going to take this time to say, if anybody wants to come visit, please do! I will offer free tours of the city with a complimentary pint of German beer. You just have to buy your plane ticket and probably your housing since my longer stay is a homestay. But I might even buy you dinner, depending on how much I like you.
Mom and I went to Amsterdam after we found housing and it was pretty good. Amsterdam itself is an odd city and i can’t say that i’m the biggest fan. There are really pretty parts, but its kind of…weird. “Natural” drugs and prostitution are both legal, so you see a lot of “coffee shops” that sell weed & shrooms and brothels. Its weird. We learned that the dutch aren’t very nice, for the most part, but rather snooty (no offense, if you’re dutch or have dutch relatives or like the dutch for some odd reason). Perhaps they are still disappointed about losing the world cup.
Anyways, Amsterdam is like the Venice of Holland. That doesn’t really make sense, but there are water canals EVERYWHERE. Like literally there are some like 60 miles of canals that run through the city. But we bought tickets for the water cruise thing and its like a taxi that stays on the water, pretty cool way to see the city. We went to the Rijksmuseum, where there are works by Verneer (girl with the pearl earring) and Rembrandt. That was pretty cool. The next day we went to the Anne Frank house. The Anne Frank house was where Anne Frank and her family went into hiding during World War II and where they were discovered. It was…eerie being in the place where she and her family hid and where she wrote her diary. The museum had left the rooms as is, and there were pictures she had put up on the wallpaper that were still there, as well as pencil lines for her and her sister Margot’s height. It was so real, and it was freaky to think that 65 years ago she was hiding there…They also had her original diary there. It was really moving. And having learned about the persecution of the Jews in one of my history classes last quarter, it was really surreal to be in the same place where one of the most famous recounts of the Holocaust took place.
We also went to the Heinekn museum that day, I suppose to take the edge off. It was a pretty cool tour and it was a huge ex-factory. The next day we went to the Van Gogh museum and saw his works, which was very very cool. I love his art, and so it was very cool to see the sunflower picture (my favorite one) just hanging on a wall.
Anyways, mom left this morning and that was sad. It was harder than i thought to say bye and I was sad after she left. But I will see her and my dad and brother in about 4 months. Anyways, I’m moving into my new place in Berlin tonight and have to lug all of my stuff across town, so that should be tiring. But overall, I’m doing well. Even though I think I am getting sick. My mom was sick in Amsterdam and somehow I avoided getting sick and then I woke up this morning and was like awww crappp.
Thank you for those who made it through that long post. It proves that whoever made it this far actually cares, so thank you for caring enough to read all that and I promise not to leave you all (or one person who can finish this) hanging for so long, so I don’t have to write so much but you will also know what is going on. So I’m super sorry to everyone or anyone who was curious what was happening. I miss you all very very much and don’t forget me, because I definitely definitely have not forgotten about any of you! I miss you all and love you with my whole heart (unless I don’t know you, in which case you need a hobby not snooping around people you don’t know’s blogs).
Tschuess for now!