On the surface, and neighborhood-dependent, Berlin is both gritty and gorgeous. The city’s radical history leaves signs of wear; its memorials and restorations exemplify resilience. Today, Berlin is a cultural hub and creative hotspot celebrated for its nightlife, startup scene, architecture, and arts and entertainment. From picturesque neighborhoods and urban art spaces to historical sites and sprawling green spaces, Berlin is a truly unique city that can only be described through experience. As I’ve come to know the city over the past two years, Berlin is vibrant, eclectic, and delightfully unusual.
When I first moved to Germany in January 2017, I shared a post describing the immediate differences I noticed between the US and Germany and the American products and customs that I missed. Now, nearly two years later, I’ve compiled a list of the same sort; some items have been added, and many have stayed the same. The US is an incredibly large and diverse country, and the below list of American yearnings is from the perspective of someone familiar with the northeastern part of the country (New England and New York) who also tends to frequent Whole Foods. Let’s also keep in mind that this list is mostly food products, and that, of course, there are other and more profound differences between Germany and the US.
The end of my graduate thesis is near, so a breather and a quick blog post are certainly warranted. This summer has been incredible; a hot and sunny four months filled with both physical and mental adventures. Amidst a draining (yet rewarding) thesis process and Berlin explorations, Max and I made it outside of the city for a few weekend (and week-long) getaways. We went as close as the city boundaries, to Liepnitzsee, and as far as the states, to Vermont and Cape Cod. A week was also spent in Tuscany, and a weekend on the Baltic Sea in Dranske, Germany. Most recently, we visited Dresden, a German city just 2.5 hours south of Berlin, and the neighboring Sächsische Schweiz national park. The entire trip exceeded expectations, and I highly recommend it to any Berliners who’ve not yet seen Saxony. Dresden is inexpensive to get to (24€ roundtrip per person via Flix Bus), bars and restaurants are equally affordable, the city itself has a nice blend of hip/young and historic areas, and the national park …
London, UK Amidst studying for final exams, a mini break was much needed, so Max and I hopped over to London for the weekend. We stayed with my friend Kaley and her boyfriend in Islington, and certainly made the most out of the 36 hours we had together.
A long overdue update on life in Berlin is here. The good news is that I’ve just handed in final papers for three courses, the bad news is that my “Death by Prosecco” mornings have been at an all time low (or is that a good thing?) Really, my recent Berlin adventures have been less exciting than prior months, especially these past two weeks because, well, Managerial Economics. That being said, there are still a few experiences worth writing about.
Obtaining a German Residence Permit #studyabroad #germany #usa #american #residencepermit
Perhaps the most eventful two weeks yet. From my mom visiting to grad school orientation, it’s been non-stop go. Before Smog arrived, we kicked off these past weeks with Max’s birthday celebrations. Our plans included dinner, drinks, and a Kehlani concert, but we found out upon arrival at the venue that the concert was cancelled, as well as the rest of her Euro tour. We’d been looking forward to seeing Kehlani perform since December, so that was a real blow. Fortunately we made up for it with a party on Saturday night, resulting in an all too typical “Death by Prosecco” Sunday morning.
By now I’ve finished my intensive language course, the first of many levels, and I’m unable to take the second level straight away as my grad school orientation interferes. However, I was able to have an entire conversation in German at the nail salon last week, so if that’s not a testament to progress then I don’t know what is.
Three weeks in and Germany is still a wonderful country. Berlin is beautiful (and a little gritty), there are endless things to do, the shopping is amazing, and I’ve met a lot of really great people. I love it here, but of course there are things I miss from home. Besides my friends, my family, and Zealand, here are a few things I’ve been missing:
To kick off week two in Berlin, I’ve enrolled in a one-month intensive German language course. It’s true that most people I’ve encountered here, German and other, speak English, and many of them fluently. It’s a nice safety blanket, but I didn’t move to Germany to stay within my comfort zone.