Wednesday, October 21, 2009

So close...

to break! I can't wait!
Today I...did laundry in the bathtub again. It's quickly becoming my least favorite activity, yet it's still better than paying inordinate sums of money to use the apartment complex's washer and dryer. There are now clothes hanging all over my room.
I went to class, as per usual. I don't even know why I bother mentioning was German, we finished our second book, Am kuerzeren Ende der Sonnenalle, and we have our midterm tomorrow. Which I should be studying for instead of writing here.
Then we got our vaccines. Except they weren't, as advertised, the H1N1 vaccines. It was the normal flu vaccine, which I am glad I got, but I'm a little annoyed about their apparent inability to inform us of this ahead of time.
A couple other girls and I went to the Deutsche Oper to get tickets to tomorrow's performance of Carmina Burana. I absolutely love that work, and was hoping the tickets wouldn't be too expensive. Well, apparently if you go the day of, one hour before, they have tickets (in good seats!) for 13.50. Hellz yeah. So we're going back...even I can afford that! I am so excited...I can't wait to see it performed by a major will far outshine Pioneer's A Cappella and NYU's Choral Arts Society. Yay!
Just two more classes and then it's break. On Friday I take the bus to Munich, and wander around the city for a couple days. Maria will (hopefully) be coming back Sunday night, so we can catch up then. I can't wait to see her! I come back on Monday, and then on Tuesday I leave again, this time for London! I'll be seeing Ems and Karina for sure, and hopefully Danni and Stac as well. 'Twill be a camp friend-filled break :) I am sooo excited!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

I know, I'm terrible...

I'm sorry for not updating for so long-I've been both busy and lazy. It's not that I haven't done a ton of stuff...I just haven't felt like writing. So, sorry, and I'll bullet-point it for ya-
  • ended up going out with Holly's friends not that night, but the one after...I only hit one place with them, then decided I was too tired for much more. Good decision.
  • I saw a production of Shakespeares Sonette with the Berliner Ensemble. It was directed by Robert Wilson and music was written for it by Rufus Wainwright. You should check it out; it was amazing, although I definitely didn't get all the directorial choices.
  • I managed to not have to pay the stupid fine! Yay! H and I went to the BVG office and talked to an employee there (auf Deutsch, obvi) for a long time and she was very nice :)
  • H and I went to the Turkish market last week and I didn't buy anything...yay self control. But we also had lunch at Yellow Sunshine, where I had a vegetarian bacon cheeseburger. Twas delish.
  • Last Friday we (as a program) went to Weimar and Buchenwald. It was a nasty, rainy day...not so nice for walking around. In the morning we went to the Goethe House, which was kinda cool-it's all organized to his color theory. Weird stuff. After lunch we went to Buchenwald, which was a labor camp just outside the city. It was a very...vivid...experience. I may write more on this later, as it really merits more than just a bullet point. It was my first visit to any kind of concentration camp and suffice to say, it felt right to be there in bad weather.
  • Saturday night was JOSHUA RADIN!!! It was sooooo good. I may or may not have seen him 4 1/2 times already...but it was amazing. He is just so personable and is just wonderful onstage. Many musicians are either great recorded artists or great performers, but I think he truly is both. He actually played some new stuff-he's recording another album in February, when he heads back to NYC after finishing his tour. I'll be back there then too...maybe I'll run into him... ;) H and Kathleen went with me and I think they had almost as much fun as I did haha. We went to dinner at a Tibetan restaurant in Kreuzberg first...yum. I love me some momos.
  • Sunday Daddy visited! I had to get on a bus ridiculously early (7am) to go pick him up at the airport, but it was worth it. He came and dropped of his stuff (and all my stuff). He brought my winter clothes, thank goodness, and some goodies-my comfort food, mac&cheese, and Halloween candy that Shiva was nice enough to get for me! I do love me some Halloween candy...there's no calories in it, right? :)Then we went and got breakfast near church. My "choir" was singing so it was nice to have him there for that, although the sermon was not as thought provoking as I would have liked. All Souls really has spoiled me. After church, we went to lunch at an Italian place near Potsdamer Platz...delish. I had a goat cheese-stuffed gnocchi and some tasty Riesling. Ahhh I do love good food. Then we went to the Friedrichstrasse area. Because it was Sunday, basically nothing was open. Yeah, Berlin pretty much shuts down on Sundays. However, Dussmann (the equivalent of Borders) was open for a special Staatsoper event, so we went in there. We got to hear a string quartet perform a bit. Dad also got me a guide to Munich (since I'll be there in just a few days) and The Man Without Qualities, a novel about the disparity between Viennese high society and the lower classes in 1913. Looks good...and it's crazy long so it should take a while to's 1130 pages :) I haven't started reading it yet, but it seems like it might be similar to Vanity Fair. He also got me a set of 4 CDS, a vocal jazz collection. I've been listening to them on repeat. Sadly, Dad had to leave to get to some conferences, etc elsewhere that evening so the visit wasn't as long as I would have liked, but it was good to see him!
  • Yesterday...I went to class. Nothing too exciting. Oh! Except the best buddy ever, Joe, sent me some Disney movies. And by some, I mean about 12. And I got them yesterday and have been enjoying them ever since. I watched Hercules last night. And Pocahontas this evening.
  • Tonight Chelsea and I had our regular Gossip Girl viewing. What is with this show? It really needs to improve...and fast. It's getting frustrating. (Yes, we take it far too seriously)
  • This morning my Museums class went to the Neues Museum on Museumsinsel. It was pretty cool, although we had to speed through because it only opened a few days ago, so we were assigned a block of time that we were allowed to be in there. They've got a ton of Egyptian stuff, so that was cool...I've always been a fan. C and I also went to a sweet bookstore in Prenzlauerberg, St. George's Bookshop, to get our books for our Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud class. I could have spent hours's all English language and has mostly used books...I loved their music section. And their massive lit section. I think I may make it back there...
So I'm getting really excited for fall break. It's next week, although really mine's starting on Friday. I'm going to Munich early Friday morning and getting back to Berlin Monday evening. I'm going to be staying at Maria's apartment, although she'll only be there Sunday night, as she's going to be going home to the fam for her birthday. Sad, but understandable. I'm still excited to see Munich though!
A week from today I'll be in London! I'm flying in Tuesday morning and flying out very, very early the following Monday. I'll hopefully be staying with Karina, and seeing Ems and Danni and Stac. I am soooo excited! I'm looking forward to seeing London, of course, but mainly I'm super excited to see my girls. It's hard to be far away from people you've grown really close to (obvi) so getting to see them while I'm on this side of the ocean is very important to me.
Ok, this was an epic post...I could probably write more, but I've really got to go do my German reading. Although maybe I'll watch Mulan instead...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Anybody need some spinach?

Gossip Girl was not as good as I'd hoped...of course we had a good time watching it though! We enjoyed our usual treats and comments directed at fictional characters.
Wednesday...German class...I can't remember doing anything other than going to that and doing homework...
Thursday for our Lit class we were supposed to meet at 9:30 at a cafe about 45 minutes from our apartment. Holly, Chris, and I all traveled together, actually arriving about 15 minutes early. I got a chai and they got tea and an egg, respectively, and we waited for our professor. For 45 minutes. Apparently class didn't start till 10 that day...a fact of which she forgot to inform us since it said 9:30 on the syllabus. Great start, eh? We then went on another walking mini-tour in the rain, culminating in visiting an elderly lady who lived in England during WWII as a Jewish refugee from Berlin. It was amazing to hear her story and that of her parents (who were sent to a concentration camp and only lived for a few weeks after arrival) and some of her friends (one of whom survived by hiding and presenting false identities throughout the Holocaust). She was a very nice, sweet, and stylish woman-despite being almost 90 and having lived through all this, she was completely put together, down to her makeup and jewelry. She even served us tea and cake! The only downside of this was that I was about 15 minutes late for German and H had missed her entire class. Sometimes our professor doesn't exactly understand we have anything in our lives other than her when she handed us a book she wrote and told us to read it-then sent us an email today telling us we owe her 23 euros each. A bit inconsiderate, especially as I'm sure I could find it cheaper elsewhere.
Then last night H and I went to Bierhimmel. I swear, soon they're going to start recognizing me. But on a cold evening, their drinks and atmosphere are so much better than beer in a hot, smoky bar.
Today I did laundry in the bathtub (my usual method here, as the machines are crazy expensive and my sleep/class schedule does not agree with the Hausmeister's and the machines are in a different building). It's actually quite effective and I don't have to worry about the machines messing up or shrinking my clothes. The only hassle is least there's a drying rack built into the shower. It'll be nice to have my washer and dryer back in A2...
Then Chelsea and I went to the Turkish Market. Soooo good. All the produce there is super cheap and fresh-I got a ridiculous amount of fresh spinach for a little more than a euro, and 7 apples for 70 cents and 6 clementines for about a euro. I actually wont be able to eat all the spinach before it goes bad. So if any of my NYU in Berlin peeps want some...let me know. I also bought some overpriced chai but it'll be totally worth it for those days that I'm not feeling the coffee and I need something hot/with caffeine. Ahhh I love chai. On the way back we stopped at Yellow Sunshine, a vegetarian burger "fast food" place. Not that fast, actually. I just got a chai (ha) but I tried C's french fries that she got along with her burger...they were delish. Legit fries that you could tell actually came from a potato.
Tonight we're supposed to be going out with a bunch of people-H has some friends visiting, and I think they'll be fun...we're all ready for a good time.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Apparently "student" doesn't translate

Every once in a while (and by that I mean very often) I am reminded of the differences between NYC and Berlin. Yesterday, I was reminded of the differences of what they consider "students". NYC, and everywhere else that I've been in the US, regards anybody who is in school, from preschool to college, as a student. Here, it is a different story. I'd forgotten that student only refers to people up through the German equivalent of high school. The problem here was that I-and many other NYU in Berlin students-had bought student monthly passes (for the bus, U-Bahn, etc). Apparently we're not allowed to do so. Now, usually on the train, if inspectors come through, they glance just to make sure you have a ticket. Yesterday on my way to class, however, the guy going through looked closely at mine, started speaking to me in German that I (mostly) didn't understand, and had me get off of the train. Our communication was not very effective; I couldn't understand most of what he said and I'm pretty sure he only understood about 2 words of what I said. The main point here is that I had to walk the rest of the way to class on the verge of tears (because crying is what I do when I get frustrated), and have to go to the BVG office to pay a 40 euro fine. Oh yeah and of course now I have to buy the regular monthly pass. There's almost 100 euros down the drain! Great start to the day, eh?
After what seemed like 10 years of class (we watched a movie, Sophie Scholl, Die letzte Tag, in German and were lectured in Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud), I came home, made dinner, and did homework. I had so much reading for my Museumsinsel class today.
We did have a bit of amusement on the way home though...a few stops before ours on the bus this crazy (literally insane) old lady got on the bus and immediately yelled at my friend Dave and me for one of us to stand up and give her a seat. Ok, well I would have done that anyway...I thought maybe she was just pushy. I moved a bit away and D ended up still standing right next to her. She started talking to him and naturally he ignored her...she then asked me, "is he always this unfriendly?" Of course I didn't respond...she then mumbled to herself and anyone near her in German, some of which I understood, none of it good things. As she stood up to get off the bus 1 stop before us, she literally leaned over and growled at D. We were both a little afraid she would actually bite us or something. Like I said, crazy. Gotta love Berlin for that.
This morning we went to the Infocenter Wiederaufbau Berliner Schloss, Lustgarten, and Altes Museum. At the Schloss (info center) we talked about the structure of the city center before WWII, especially the palace, cathedral, garden, and museum. We then walked over to the Lustgarten, which used to be the royal gardens for the Berliner Schloss. Then we went into the Altes Museum itself, where we talked and looked at several sculptures, as well as the temporary exhibition about the history of museums (perfect for this class!).
Later I went to get the new book for German class at Dussmans at Friedrichstrasse and to buy a new ticket :( I actually walked from my apartment to the bookstore (about 40 minutes) because I was tired of wasting money on 1 trip tickets. Hey, at least it's exercise, right? Then I made some yummy soup for it's time for homework and then...Gossip Girl! Yay!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Procrastination station

...we have arrived!
Thursday was fairly unexciting-I had German and Lit classes. It was pouring down rain in the morning, so naturally that was when my Lit professor decided we should walk all over to try to see the Giants (Riesen) and get our press passes. Yup. Press passes-apparently now this blog qualifies me? Oh, Esther. I think it was that evening that I finally got to talk to my dad, which was great :) I love that it doesn't use up my minutes to receive phone calls or texts-those international calls are expensive and I can go through a 25 Euro phone card in just over 10 minutes.
Friday I got to meet up with Max! He worked at the tennis program area at my camp in 2008 so we got to be pretty close that summer. However, he's from Germany, so I hadn't seen him for over a year! He just got back to Berlin from a trip to NYC, actually, so we met up for coffee and a mini-walking tour. I had a chai (love that stuff) and we caught up for a while, discussing camp, etc. Then his girlfriend, Natalya (I have no idea if I spelled her name right, she's Russian) met up with us as well and we walked around west Berlin for a while. Of course we had to visit the Ka-De-We (one of the largest departments store in Europe) and go up to the food floor. OMG I could happily spend days and millions of dollars there. Sooo much deliciousness. We got some marinated olives and mozzarella and marinated feta and broetchen. Delish. The funniest part of it was the American imported food section-the prices were ridiculous! A 4-pack of Oreos: 8 Euros. A box of Pop-Tarts: 9 Euros. Eeek! Good thing I don't particularly like those things...We then just wandered around some more, eventually ending up near a ticket kiosk where I was able to buy tickets for the Joshua Radin concert! Yay! They ended up being 18 Euros each...not too bad. I would have paid a lot more, so I'm glad I didn't have to...and hey, that's just 2 boxes of Pop-Tarts :) Can't wait for the 17th!
That evening I went out with a whole bunch of people. We hung out in the apartments for a bit, then went to some club that was playing hip-hop spanning about the last 10 years. I couldn't bring myself to stay for too long, because I had some serious reporting to do in the morning! But it was fun, and let me tell you, I felt like a great dancer next to a lot of the people there! A very rare feeling for me, as most of you probably know...
Saturday-die Riesen kommen! To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Wall coming down, these giant puppets were in the city. It was the story of an uncle and niece being reunited. The uncle, or Big Giant, actually emerged from the Humboldtbecken. We got to see him just after he left the water and he walked right by us on his way to the Brandenburger Tor (gate). We saw the niece, or Little Giantess, on her way as well. We decided not to brave the insane crowds to see the actual reunification, but there are photos and videos all over the place. Definitely check them out-they are sooo cool.

Holly and I also had a delicious lunch-a treat, to be sure, but worth scrimping a bit this week. We went to this cool Italian place-kind of a 20s, Art Deco feel, where we both had the minestrone soup and different kinds of gnocchi. Mine was pretty basic, with an herbed butter and parmesan, while hers had pumpkin, almonds, and mascarpone. All of it was soooo good. Ahh I love food!
Yesterday I also got to talk to my mom via Skype. Not the best sound quality, but it was so good to hear-and see-her! Also good that it's free. Yay free. We got to talk for about half an hour and I even got to see Lucas (brother), Caspian (dog), and Mariel (cat). Apparantly Rhubarb (cat) was not up for the webcam. Haha-thanks Lucas.
Today H and I went to church again at the American Church of Berlin. Again, the service wasn't the most thought-provoking, although it was pretty good. The best part was that I was able to join in the choir rehearsal afterwards! The music so far is pretty easy (especially since I'm a soprano, ha!) and I was complimented on my sight-reading skills. One of the things from high school that has stuck with me (thanks, Mr. Westerman). It's not my favorite music, but I'm just so happy to be singing again. :)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My life is one big party

Well, Gossip Girl night was a resounding success. We very much enjoyed our dessert and Prosecco. And the episode.Oh my goodness so much drama all. the. time. It makes me so glad I don't have friends or enemies like that...although I wouldn't mind the clothes...
Bierhimmel, too, was wonderful. I had my steamed milk with Baileys again, and Chelsea and Holly had hot chocolate with Baileys. Our bellies were so full of deliciousness.
Today was completely uneventful-I went to class. Futzed around online. Made dinner. Did homework/futzed around online. Listened to a lot of Disney music and now I really want to watch Hercules and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (I obviously have iTunes organized alphabetically by album). Aren't you jealous of my fabulous life?
And now I'm really tired and have class at 10am (that I have to leave around 9 for) but I can't sleep. Boo...that's what happens when I sleep past 9am. I'm becoming an old woman. Early to bed and early to rise.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I WILL get tickets to JR's the meantime, let's go shopping!

Yeah, so yesterday wasn't too exciting. And I didn't do anything exciting last night either...I did look up tickets for my trip to England. Yeah I'm not too excited about those prices. But it will be worth it, RIGHT GIRLS? Yes, it will-4 of my fave Michigania people all in the same place...can't wait.
Today my Museumsinsel class was also cancelled because we had an extra class on Friday, so that was nice. I went to the bank since I'm going to have to get a new U-Bahn, bus, etc. ticket for October and that costs money. Serious money. Then Holly and I went on a mission to get tickets to the Joshua Radin (ie my future husband) concert on October 17th. Ummm so the venue, Fritz-Club at the Postbahnhof...super sketch. At night I'm sure it's hoppin...but in the morning, there is nobody there. And no directions for anything. We eventually had to give up and will call-all I can say is, they'd better not have sold out of tickets. I will actually cry. Legitimately.
It was a good thing Holly, Chelsea, and I had planned on shopping anyway-I definitely needed some retail therapy after that disappointment. I needed some new basics-long sleeved t's, a cardigan, that kind of stuff. So of course we went to H&M-good for basics, good for the shopping H and C wanted to do, good for the nightgowns C and I wanted to get for our now weekly Gossip Girl parties :) We both love that show a little bit too much and have decided that we need to watch each weeks episode in style. We've both noticed that the girls are always in gorgeous nighties/lingerie and decided that we should probably wear nighties and headbands. So I got a super cute slip-style nightie in a dusty rose color, two scoop neck 3/4 sleeve tees in black and dusty rose, a white puff-sleeve 3/4 sleeve tee, and a black cardigan. Pretty great deals, although I must say, I despise the conversion rate. Oh, and C didn't actually find a nightie she liked in her size, so I will be the only one with that tonight...although we both still will rock headbands and be adorable. So there.
When we got back we were cold and starving (it was nasty and rainy all day), so C and I made tomato soup with rice and spinach pizza. 'Twas delicious and meant I didn't need much in the way of dinner. A bit later, we went on an expedition to the Turkish market to get some strawberries to be a part of our Gossip Girl greatness, but it basically turned into an extremely long walk. We never found the market, although we did find a beautiful park and a [very] discount store where we got frozen apple pastries and vanilla ice cream.
The plan for tonight: Bierhimmel with C and H for milk with Baileys (soooo good, especially in yucky weather like this), then Gossip Girl party with C-outfits and dessert as described above, plus Prosecco. Sounds like a pretty great night to me!