Saturday, November 6, 2010

quoting berlin

This past week was easily the best of my exchange so far. I will never again take for granted the happiness that comes with being with a group of people that I love. Distrikt 1840 is wonderful. Our Rotex organized everything for our trip to Berlin and I'm sure that keeping track of 34 exchange students in the largest city in the country isn't the easiest feat. I appreciate them so much and probably will never be able to thank them enough for the experience. The trip began on Sunday, October 31st at Augsburg Hauptbahnhof. It was extremely exciting to see everyone trickle into Augsburg by 11:30 p.m. We left on our bus and headed north. There's one thing about a bus full of exchange students: it's not very quiet. It took about 4 hours for everyone to quiet down and sleep. By then, the sun was coming up and we were almost to Berlin. This was where the sleep deprivation started. Upon arrival in Berlin, we checked into the hostel and made our first museum visit to "The Story of Berlin", where we got to see a real bomb shelter that thankfully was never used. This would be the first of MANY museums. We went to Germany's largest shopping mall, KaDeWe. IT WAS HUGE. I had the traditional Berliner Currywurst for lunch and it was delicious. We had dinner at the hostel and spent the night doing karaoke in the hostel's bar. Bedtime was about 2 a.m.: Alarm was set for 7:30, breakfast at 8. Day 2 was spent in Potsdam, just outside of Berlin. We visited Cecilienhof, the place where the Potsdam Conference took place during World War II. It was also where the orders to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were issued. Then we travelled to Schloss Sanssouci, where the most beautiful gardens are and walked through the Holland section of Potsdam. We spent the afternoon and had lunch in Potsdam. A couple of us found a great Thai restaurant where I had really good Pad Thai. That night we went to a club. It was my first club! At first, we were the only people there, but once others started showing up and the dance floor started filling, it was more fun. Once again, another late night. Day 3 started off with the Bundestag, or the German Government building. It was amazing how there was such a blend of modern and classic architechture. The dome was a really cool addition to the building. We made our way to the Brandenburg Gate, just down the block. Lunch was my first doner. It was delicious. We went to the Memorial and museum of the Jewish people killed in the Holocaust. It was a beautiful memorial, but if the true number of lives lost was represented, the memorial would have been about the size of Berlin itself. It was hard to read the letters in the museum from children to their parents saying that they are going to die soon. It hit home. The rain decided to show up as we had to walk through the city to the GDR Museum. At least we got the rain as part of the experience. We had the option to go to the club again that night, but a bunch of the Englisch speaking kids stayed back and hung out in the hostel. It's amazing how amusing YouTube can be... Our last full day was spent at Checkpoint Charlie. I found it amusing that right next the Checkpoint Charlie, which was the entrance of the AMERICAN sector, lay a McDonald's. Down the street there was also a Starbucks. We had Thai again for lunch. I had Pad Thai, but the waitress accidentally gave me a different entree at first which I ate half of, THEN she gave me the Pad Thai. I was full from 2 entrees for the price of one! The Rotex told us that our itinerary that night consisted of a Rotary meeting in Berlin so we should dress nice. JUST KIDDING! They took us to see Blue Man Group in one of the theatres! It was absolutely amazing! That was the highlight of my week, along with spending time with other exchange students. It was sad to come home. After a week of weightlessness, I was coming back to reality with bad German and a longing to spend more time with my friends. I haven't laughed so hard since I left the USA. Hopefully I can get together with some exchange students before our next gathering in December. That seems too far away for me. Now it's time to come back to life in Friedberg, without exchange students and with daily challenges. I'm a bit of a funk or Post-Berlin Depression. Once the week starts again, life will go back to normal. I have one more week of Deutschkurs and then I return to Realschule. I hope this was an enjoyable recap of my week of bliss.--sjinternational -Me on top of the dome of the Bundestag

The Dome Brandenburg Gate


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