Hi readers! It's been a while, and lots has happened in the month-ish since I last posted here. For starters, I took a trip to Denmark over the long weekend (October 3 is off because it's a national holiday) and spent time hanging out with my cousin, which was a lot of fun (also shoutout to his dog because fluffy things are hard to come by in Berlin).
I also attended the Reunification Day festivities on October 3 after getting back from the airport. There was a big festival going on by the Brandenburg gate, complete with pop-up shops, restaurants, kids games, and an enormous ferris wheel from which you could pretty much see all of the city.
More recently (today), I ventured out in the rain to see the East Side Gallery exhibition before the weather completely turns. I'm so glad that I went, because it's a beautiful art gallery to take in. I'll upload some photos here for y'all to take a look -- I think part of what is most interesting about the murals you see on the wall is when you take them in with the context of the time in which they were created, it gives you a new outlook on the fall of the wall... Each time from a different perspective.
I actually just got back to my dorm after spending a few hours out in the city taking in the Festival of Lights tonight -- which is a series of projections that are designed by an international collective of artists and then displayed on Berlin landmarks -- for example, the TV tower and the Berliner Dom.
Anyway, that's the rundown from me. More soon, Inshallah!
🎶I Didn't Plan It - Sarah Bareilles🎶
I know. Once again I am a remiss blogger, and for that I apologize sincerely. It has been a hectic few weeks in Berlin, but I have finally settled into a routine (and am pulling myself out of the illness that has been afflicting me for just over a week). My initial post was more of an introductory-check-out-this-cool-photo sort of affair, so here I will give a more complete summary of my life this semester.
I live in a complex in Kreuzberg, Berlin along with 39 other people from Northeastern (38 students, 2 international student advisors) and a good number of other study abroad students from assorted colleges. We take our classes either within the complex, or a short walk away at the annex of a local high school. This semester, my courseload includes 5 classes -- Holocaust Studies; Gender, Race, and Sexuality in Pop Culture; Berlin: Capital of the 20th Century; Politics of the European Union; and a 1 credit "Global Experience" course .
My days are usually free until about 1 in the afternoon, when classes and activities begin. I wish I could tell you about how productive I am in this time block, but the reality is that I use it mostly to sleep... Although occasionally I will go do laundry before everyone else wakes up.
We are responsible for cooking our own meals, which means that I've eaten a lot of pasta compilations (and that other people on my floor have been eating out almost every day at the kebab place down the street). To this end, the grocery stores are conveniently nearby -- as are several pharmacies and drugstores (convenient, because we've all been catching ill... likely from the low levels of hygiene in our communal kitchen).
Homework gets done whenever there is spare time, and we have a lot of programmed events, especially on weekends. On Sundays most stores are closed, so I have a list of museums and other places I'm hoping to go to.
Since the last time I posted, we've been all over the city. I took myself to the Botanical Gardens, we took a tour of the Reichstag, visited Potsdam, saw some of Berlin's famous museums, went to a local soccer game at the Olympic Stadium from 1936, etc.
I'm having a lot of fun here, and I think it's going to be very difficult to leave in December (although the way the weather is going downhill, who knows).
🎶Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You - Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons🎶
I have now lived in Berlin for approximately three days. It's not a tremendously long amount of time, but I can already feel myself settling into a rhythm here.
It has been a hectic few days since stepping off of the plane in Germany (although to be honest, the stress and confusion began long before then -- before we even boarded the plane, when there was confusion about our visas and readiness to fly at the Boston airport). We have sat through long hours of orientations, taken local and city tours, and begun our own exploration of the neighborhoods and areas around us. Although Germany is a unique country in its own right, I have managed to patch together a rudimentary understanding of its workings through my pre-existing knowledge of Polish culture and -- especially important to college students who are cooking for themselves -- grocery stores.
Today I purchased a backpack for myself from locally popular brand Herschel, as well as picking up some basic cooking ingredients. The program stops feeding us tomorrow, and the days (weeks?) of ramen noodle microwaving and going out for meals will begin. Beyond that, there is not much to report. Classes begin on Monday, and I am excited to start college.
Inshallah things continue to go well here -- I am looking forward to hopefully working with refugees during my time in Berlin. I will try to update soon with more news.
🎶Hi, Hey There, Hello - The Mowgli's🎶
Hi! My name is Karla Cox. This blog is a compilation of notes, thoughts, and photos from my travels around the world.