"Time flies when you’re having fun" is, perhaps, the most accurate idiom ever. Another month has passed, my program has ended, sad goodbyes have been exchanged, and I’m sitting here with my bags packed wondering where the time has gone.
On numerous occasions throughout April, I have made mental notes about things I would have liked to share with you all. Like, for example, going with my friend to get her first tattoo. I'm slightly envious of her very daring and memorable way of commemorating our time here but I've never been able to make up my mind about what I'd tattoo on myself if I were to do it. So it was really fun just living vicariously through her.
Also, something that has truly been lost in our culture is good ol' fashion bookstores. So stumbling upon St. George's, a used English bookstore in Prenzaluer Berg was really a treat. With the walls and walls of used books and those handy ladder things to climb on, I felt a bit like I was in Flourish and Blotts.
Easter in Europe is quite a big deal and brought sooo many tourists to Berlin. It reminded me a bit of the National Holiday in China, which I spent mostly in my apartment in an attempt to avoid the hordes and hordes of people that flooded Shanghai. But Easter weekend in Berlin was just too beautiful to stay indoors…after the coldest winter I’ve ever experienced (although it was a record-breakingly warm winter by Berlin standards), it was definitely an occasion to indulge in beer gardens and flea markets.
Mauer Park was another highlight this month. Although it’s a huge tourist attraction and by no means a secret, I have decided that it is my favorite discovery in Berlin. I don’t think anything captures the essence of Berlin life like Mauer Park on a Sunday afternoon does. Hippy groups and families sit together in grassy hills, entertained by the many street performers scattered throughout the pathways. And if you know me well, you could easily guess that my all-time favorite thing here is, naturally, the public karaoke forum. I enjoyed an excellent rendition of “Grease Lighting” by my fellow FU-Besters. But as always, the hidden talents that reveal themselves in these public events are the real gems. Like this guy rockin’ out to “Highway to Hell”:
Since I only had finals on the Friday of finals week, I had so much time to explore Berlin’s famous Museum Island (bucket list item!). Like I said in my very first post, there is basically a museum for everything here. I went to the Bode Museum and saw some cool architectural exhibits, the Pergamon for its famous reconstruction of the Pergamon Temple, both the Old and New National Galleries, the Jewish Museum…I feel more sophisticated and cultured just for being able to list these exhibitions. But the best museum that I’ve been to so far is, hands down, the Hamburger Train Station. Check out these super cool displays!
Beyond all the fun and hoopla, I have to say I have some mixed feelings about it all. I’m slowly realizing that the end of this program means an end to my days as an undergrad (Say whaaat?). During the post-final picnic celebration of my German class, it dawned on me that I will probably never take a language class like this again, which made me really sad because language classes have always been one of my favorite parts of college. Language is one of the biggest perks of study abroad and whether it’s Chinese or German, you’re in an intimate class setting where you’re pretty much forced to interact with your teachers and peers. It’s kind of like a high school class, where deeper relationships inevitably develop. So I’m just gonna take this opportunity to give a shout out to my German teacher, Antje (who will never read this). But she is one of the coolest, most patient, and down-to-earth people I’ve ever met and I’m so glad I was in her class.
But as always, when one door shuts, another one opens (I’m all about the idioms today). Tomorrow I am officially a nomad, traveling through Europe (and life since I won’t have any responsibilities or job security…how’s that for deep thought?). Sometimes, I still can’t believe this is actually happening. Whether it's a dream or reality (why do these things have to be mutually exclusive?), it’s time for me to hit the road.