Friday, November 03, 2006

Ich ben ein berliner! (and yes, I know what that means)

(Berlin flag)

We arrived on Wednesday at about 9am in Berlin. This means that our flight took off at about 7:30am, which means that we left our hotel at 4:30am; yeah, that’s right. Seeing as that was what happened in the morning, I can hardly be blamed for falling asleep during our Berlin orientation (although I did feel pretty badly afterward.) The apartments that we are staying in, however, make up for any “hardships” that we encountered en route. I am sharing one with two other girls, and we have two bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen, and a little living room; we finally feel like real people.

Some of us watched the movie Goodbye, Lenin on Wednesday night as a sort of informal introduction to Berlin history. The movie takes place in 1989/90, and traces the struggle of a son to hide the fall of the Berlin Wall from his mother who’s recovering from a coma in East Berlin. I liked this movie a lot, and would recommend it to anyone who wants to watch a good, somewhat sentimental dramedy.

The main difference that I can tell thus far between Berlin and Amsterdam is architectural. Amst. is obviously a much more cramped city, as well as has all those canals, and Berlin is in the midst of/just coming out of a modern architectural boom. The streets are extremely wide, many of the apartments look fairly new, there are Mercedes Benzes on many of the blocks down which I have walked, and yet I still get a feeling of the old in this city. For example, our apartment building, though extremely nice on the inside, looks completely broken down from the outside. The hallways are reminiscent of old East Europe/East Berlin, with the walls crackling and dark stairwells. It’s creepy but cool. Yea!


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