I’m not sure why I want to start blogging again. I suppose it’s because I’ll be abroad for a while (until December) and I think it might be a good way for me to keep track of what I’m doing/post less pictures on Instagram. I’m not sure if I’ll achieve either of those goals, but why not try?
Before departing for Berlin, I had dozens of questions circling in my head. Most of them had to do with the end point: What will I feel like when I come home after this? What will I have done and learned? I think going abroad gives you these nice start and stop points, a way to easily measure your “progress” (if there is such a thing) over a few months. Also, because it’s not my usual trek from C-boro to my office, things are new and different and just stick out more in general. I guess blogging is a way to capitalize on that, a way to record and reflect on the learning that’s happening. If I am really feeling academic, perhaps I’ll even talk about some of my school related goals and project, not just what weird dish I tried or how I got lost on the U-bahn. If I am really feeling mind/body, I might even talk about some things I’m grateful for along the way. A. and I discussed starting a gratitude journal and maybe this can be part of it.
To begin, let’s start from the beginning. 5 am in Raleigh. I, for one, was feeling mildly nauseous. Anxiety about flying and the general unknown of Berlin (I do not speak deutsch) set in and my mind ruffled through its rolodex of worst-case-scenarios. Thankfully, the universe pays no mind to my bizarre imaginings and the two flights we had were as smooth as butter and both arrived a few minutes early. Not that we needed that; we “enjoyed” something of a seven-hour layover in Chicawgoh during which time D. beat me at an improvised game of Uno, I tried two moisturizers in the Duty-free store, and I flipped through the “star tracks” pages of all of the cheap gossip magazines in the news store.
I was wholly impressed with our AirBerlin flight here. The leg room was meh, but they made up for it by giving us a goody bag with an eye-cover (I’d always dreamed of flying with these!) and socks (nothing like having icicles for toes to make a flight feel longer), as well as a decent-sized bottle of water. I get so peeved on planes when you have to sit there thirsty for hours, so I liked that they pre-empted my needs and handed each of us a decent-sized bottle for timely hydration…Sometimes it’s the little things.
Arriving in Berlin was a breeze. It helps to bring along someone who has lived in your destination city for almost a decade…As for where we are staying, I was expecting the worst, especially when I heard it was an interior room, as I have stayed in some small, dark rooms in the Old World before. I was pleasantly surprised to find that our room in a work-a-day Berlin neighborhood had enormously high ceilings, wide-plank wood floors and a huge, bright window. After being here almost 12-hours, I’ll affirm that the room gets excellent light at all hours of the day. In the flat are several (I can’t exactly say how many…because it seems at lease half-a-dozen people have been in and out) other compañeros who all seem pretty cordial.
The view from our “interior” room. There are actually trees, too!
To avoid sleeping the day shift, D. and I decided to take a stroll around town and hit up on of his favorite (should I be writing that with a u now that I’m over here?) brunch spots, Café Atlantic. The milke kaffe (am I saying that right? spelling? Bueller?) lived up to its name; a leetle shot of coffee drowned in a small pond of milk. The bread basket was also quite impressive. And my favorite thing, call me a old lady if you must, was the grapefruit with some sort of magic fairy sugar on it. I don’t even like grapefruit that much, but this was lip-smacking good. (Plus, after “breakfast” on the plane, I just couldn’t take more cold cuts.)
This is the
face of back of the head of jet lag.
As D. and I continued our stroll around the city, I couldn’t help but notice that there were outdoor markets EVERYWHERE. This must be a thing here? One of the cutest ones we found in the ritzy neighborhood (of course…) with organic food stands, coffee, and this child, apparently late late for a very important date. We took the metro into another neighborhood to check in with a friend of D., but since he wasn’t home, we stopped in the local Harris Teeter…Kaiser’s, grabbed some müesli and eggs and bananas (and chocolate!), and headed for home.
Man on a mission.
German words I’ve learned today, I think: ausgang (exit), einsgang (entrance), möhre (carrot…from a juice menu), traumfrau (dreamgirl…seen on a Coke bottle)…and seife (soap!) I still can’t do anything with them, but…okay.
Things I’m grateful for: an afternoon nap that hopefully will mean I feel less jet-laggy tomorrow, feeling well-accompanied in my first day back in Berlin, a room that is big enough for Pilates and a workstation, and free international text messaging.
Academic progress today: Mainly, organization. I put some articles in their correct folders and requested some others that I didn’t have. I checked the due dates for my online courses. I still need to make my master plan. Mañana. Because today I’m tired.