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 dinner...now it's time for homework and then...Gossip Girl! Yay!

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