week one recap

Posted by D on Sunday, May 13, 2012

Crazy to think that I've been here in Deutschland for a little over a week now. Alas, I haven't been doing very well on keeping up with recording everything (or taking photos for that matter - e.g. the other day I saw a cluster of like 15 people riding on Segways while waiting for the bus and didn't think to take a photo. I mean, I have an iPhone - no excuses! I'll try to do better from now on.) But anyway - I'll just recap week one for now (so until Friday the 11th). 

Started the internship on Monday. It's been great so far - I'd kind of expected to maybe go through orientation, get eased in - but we just jumped right in! The people are great, the material is interesting, everything about it is pretty awesome right now. 
Been doing a bit of wandering around in the city core/area around the Hauptbahnhof (Central Station) after work lately. Saw these Berliners and immediately thought of the times S relayed that story about how JFK once said, "Ich bin ein Berliner." Bought 5 of these babies. (They had Amerikaners too hehe)
I'm kind of weird when it comes to birthdays. I'm big on maturity and independence, but at the same time, I'm not in a hurry to grow up. This was a big one, the 2-0, two decades. Looking back, I seriously wonder - what have I really accomplished in these past twenty years? What have I done with my life so far, what am I doing with it now, what do I want to do with it? I think about the magnitude of the world and feel insignificant in comparison. 

Turning 20 was anti-climatic, but I suppose I was kind of expecting that. (If anything, moving to Europe by myself a couple days prior was the bigger milestone in terms of growing up; an arbitrary day, artificially calculated by humans, felt simply lesser in comparison.) Woke up not really thinking about it, stayed at work until 6:30pm, pretty meh. Snapped this photo of some graffiti near the bus stop after work - "Consume, Be Silent, Die." 

I walk by this every week day, and it really makes me wonder. Who left it there? What does it mean? What did [the artist] intend it to mean? And I can't help but speculate. Is it a referral to society, how we're silent consumers who do what we're told, leading complacent lives that inevitably end in death? Is it a critique of the human life? Is it a command for what to do? Is it meant to be satirical, implicitly urging people to raise their voices and live? I have no idea - but I really do hope there's something more to life than that.  
Maybe there's a little too thinking that goes on when you move to a foreign city by yourself without knowing anyone there. But is there such a thing as too much self-reflection when we live bustling 21st-century lives? Or do we simply delude ourselves into thinking that our lives have meaning when we're really just caught up in the monotony of the artificial, trivial, seemingly significant events, day in, day out? At the end of it all, maybe our existences are pretty banal.
This sounds kind of depressing so far, but I don't mean it to be - I actually am enjoying being here so far. The buildings are very historic and pretty breathtaking, the people have been pretty nice so far, on the whole, and seeing the entire city laid out from the canteen of the top level of the skyscraper is fairly shattering. 

It's only been a week, but so much has already changed. How much more will paradigms shift over the weeks to come?  
This entire experience is about being willing to try new things, perhaps jump in head first, eyes wide open, in ways that I may not otherwise. So since I'm considering maybe doing some CouchSurfing later this summer, I figured I'd go to the local CS meet-up on Friday. Met up with E (who was a total sweetheart) about half an hour beforehand, and we headed over to La Victoria, a relatively new pub, together.

There was live country music (in English)! Eventually we all ended up in the back room because the music was pretty loud and eventually there were a lot of us (maybe around 15 people?) It's kind of amazing the sorts of random lifechats it's possible to have with complete strangers!
First German beer! On E's recommendation, I got a Peters Kรถlsch, which is local to this region. (About 15 seconds later, I opened it wrong and sprayed myself in the face a little - tried to surreptitiously wipe my forehead - graceful, I know. E was kind enough not to laugh at me, but an hour later she did advise me to open it facing the other direction next time to avoid the spray haha). Met a lot of interesting people for sure - a lot of locals, a couple well-traveled people. There was a Polish woman who'd been from Vancouver to PEI. A German man who'd lived in the US, another who'd lived in the UK, and many more who've traveled lots. Definitely great to meet and chat with such a diverse range of people!

Barely caught the bus back (as in I sprinted; the bus started moving; door finally opened - phew. In a week, I've seen numerous people literally hit the open door button only to have the bus/tram drive away without them.) In addition to stores closing really early (and staying closed on Sundays), public transportation also stops running just past midnight. 

All in all, a fascinating first week here :)


  1. My goodness the buildings are amazing! This must be so much more exciting being there than sitting here and seeing the pictures!

  2. Woooo sounds amazing so far!

    Also German beer is what made me actually like beer! Make sure you sample lots of different kinds. Oh and get from the tap if you can. :)

  3. yay for CS meet ups! I can't believe you found country music in germany...


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