Stepping off of the plane and entering Berlin was like an alternate reality. I remember constantly stepping onto the balcony and just trying to realize I was in another country for the next three plus months. Every building I saw was beautiful, the people were so interesting and the language was so fun to listen to. I went out for dinner and drinks my first night with my host mom and fellow 6th grade teachers to meet everybody and it was an amazing night. I experiences a “bier garten” (beer garden) and Moroccan restaurant that were both so good, I was loving Berlin. My host mom was so nice, friendly, and helpful I was so happy to have her. I knew the next 100 days were going to be the best experiences of my life.
Quickly I discovered that going out and enjoying your self was a commonality, not everybody was stressed and over worked like I was use to seeing. I went out for dinner most nights and learned the town and fell in love with the little areas of Berlin that were so beautiful. I was blowing through euros like I was only there for a week but I didn’t care, nor should I at that point. Berlin has cobblestone streets that I loved walking on, bricks of memorial from the nazi times, a historic building every stop of the S-bahn, it was all neat and new that I was obsessed.
Teaching with German teachers was a very big obstacle to overcome, we saw things differently but yet we all had the same common goal so it worked itself out. Typically German’s are more direct and no non-sense to where I was more political and tried to keep everybody happy, this will get you run over in Germany. I learned to speak what I thought and be respectful but assertive and I believe it really helped me and will continue to help me in the long run.
Traveling has been without a doubt the most exciting thing I have done. I have traveled to Amsterdam, Munich, Rome, Florence, and Venice. This weekend I travel to Greece and then in two week I am traveling to London. Amsterdam was so beautiful I was shocked, the canals and parks will take your breath away. Locals spoke amazing English and were extremely helpful whenever I needed assistance. Munich was great, although I did not experience much except for Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest was an experience all in its own, one of the greatest days I have ever had. If you ever get the chance to go, then go! The week long trip through Italy was so incredible; walking around the Coliseum, touching the Michelangelo, sitting on the Spanish steps, too many experiences to even begin to name. Florence was my favorite city because it was the perfect mix of sights to see but yet neighborhoods and I felt like I could actually live there.
As amazing as my trip had been thus far, I hit that wall that you just cannot evade. I did not think it was going to be that bad, but it was a very rough 2-3 weeks. I was extremely homesick and so frustrated with everything around me. Berlin locals are very rude for the most part, even Germans will tell you this. So to not understand the language and then have people basically yell at you takes a toll on you after time. I did not want to go out anymore nor did I believe I wanted to work internationally anymore. I sat in my room and wondered why I had made such a bad choice to come to Germany. After talking with teachers and friends here in Germany I began to see why I was feeling the way I felt and I began to understand that everybody experiences it. I began to get out again and embrace the language instead of hate it, as a result I have picked up quite a bit of German. After I busted through my wall of emotions I began to see why I had fallen in love with Berlin from the beginning. Believe me when I say it truly is a roller coaster ride, but it’s worth the ride none the less.
Now preparing to return home I am trying to begin shipping things back to the states because I know I have way too much to take on the plane. I have purchased many gifts from different countries for my family as well as things for myself in Berlin. I am thankful for this experience and now that I am back at the top of my roller coaster ride I know I will experience and love Greece and London. With 22 days left in Berlin it is bitter-sweet and I know on December 5th I will be upset to leave the beautiful new place I call home. I hope one day I can return, I would not mind that at all
The top of Florence.