Thursday, July 18, 2013

Germany Introduction

Germany - Introduction

My blog posts have been a bit irregular over the last few months – and not for lack of reading, I assure you! I have been living in Berlin, Germany for German language studies since February. While trying to experience the city to its fullest, I found myself without the time to blog.

I will admit that some days – especially near the beginning - it felt as if I was barely surviving in this city. Since arriving, I have been horribly sick and had to go to the doctor not once – but twice; I have had to move to a new apartment in a different section of the city; I have cooked all my own meals; I have missed the bus what seems like hundreds of times and been late to classes and appointments; and I fell more often than I would like to admit on the ice/snow which remained on the ground until April. 
But now, as I enter my final weeks here, I am amazed by all of the unique experiences I have gained: I was a model for a fashion show during Berlin’s fashion week; I have been interning at an international arts management firm; I have been an invited guest to the U.S. Embassy on Pariser Platz and was treated to coffee in the embassy cafĂ©; I assisted with CNN’s “Marketplace Europe” Debate at the European School of Management and Technology and worked with television personality Richard Quest; I have started singing in a Protestant church choir on a weekly basis; I joined an English language book club; I took group salsa dancing lessons; I attended a kabbalat Shabbat service at the famous Oranienburger Strasse synagogue; I was invited to a Passover Seder meal by a group of Israeli soldiers and spent the rest of night singing in Hebrew in their hotel; I have attended countless operas, classical music concerts, museums, and art galleries;  I have spent many lunches, coffees, dinners, and hikes with new friends, who come from all over the world; and my German language skills have improved immensely through a full academic course load.

Berlin has not only been a place of deep personal growth and introspection, but has provided a great environment to foster my intellectual growth, as well. Living in Berlin, one can almost feel the deep “seismic” activity within the German populace. I am not saying that it seems like something is getting ready to explode, but rather that there are deep changes taking place in society – hidden deep below surface. The Germans are trying to come to terms with “being German.” In other words, what does it mean to be “German” – especially following the events of the 20th century – the two World Wars and the division of Germany between east and west? In order to gain a better understanding, over the past few months, I have read a great deal about the German identity and exactly what makes the Germans different, including the below books:

1 comment:

  1. Hi Emily,

    It's great to hear about your Berlin and Germany experiences. Thanks for being a great communicator.

    Your grandparents came to the Unitarian Universalist Church last week (where we performed) and heard Genevieve Leitner, who has played classical guitar three times at Wofford over the years: once as a high schooler at the NCS of the Arts; then as a college student; finally, last year as graduate and now resident of Santiago (married to Carlos Perez, the finest guitarist out there in my estimation).

    Your grandparents are wonderfully alive people.

    Looking forward to seeing you in August,

    John Akers