Friday, June 18, 2010

How I know I've been in Europe for quiet some time:

The other day I got my first Subway sandwich in Scotland b/c they don't really have Subway in Germany. I decided to get a foot long so I could save some for later. When the lady was making it I realized, oh my god, how am I ever going to finish this?! This thought has never crossed my mind before.

Just a quick post b/c I've been doing horrible at writing on this, sorry!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010


This I will miss about living with Manny:

Discussions about religion and politics
My beautiful yellow/golden room
Always having a place to have dinner
Great coffee in the morning
My wooden wardrobe
Taking the 188 bus for 20 minutes to get anywhere
Eating dinner in the wintergarten
Discussions about Sira being a teenager
The heaters all over the house
The nice neighborhood
Hearing about Wendt, Abassi, and the other neighbors
New flowers in my room every week
The markings on my door from when Sira was like 8
Doing dishes while Manny runs off to watch the Sunday TV program
Frustuck on Sundays that takes up 3 hours
Waiting for the 188 bus b/c my life depended on it
Spending the majority of my travel time in the area of Rathaus Stegelitz
Squeaky floors, doors, floorboards, and doorhandles
The old house with the old double pained windows
The weird toilet and shower curtain
Family shopping time
Hearing the latest news about which bar/cafe to go to much more

I can't believe I only have one more week with Manny! :( Its so sad!!

Today we had such an awesome day. Sira came over and we went to Potsdam (finally like he's been talking about since like week 2 of being here) and we meet Andres, Patrick, and Raleigh for the Holland Festival in Postdam which was sooooo nice b/c the weather was sooo hot! I got burned for sure. It was one of the first times in months I've been outside for the whole day and it was lovely! Ah then we came back to the house and all 6 of us had a nice garten dinner outside. The whole thing was so lovely!

Its just so weird that everything is coming to an end! Everyone leaves this Friday or Saturday. So weird. We have finals this week then a goodbye dinner on Thursday and a party on Friday. So sad. I'm going to miss the normalcy of going to Brentanostrasse then at break heading over to Gunter's for coffee then Mensa-ing it, then coming back to Brentanostrasse for whatever reason. I know I'm going to have an amazing and totally different time when I move into my WG and go to the international Freie Uni, but still I'm going to miss Raleigh, Kevin, Danielle, Phil, Kirk and everyone. So crazy. One more week left. Its always in the last few days that you realize you've been taking for granted the great situation you're in. Ah its like what I'd give to have a normal day of school then Manny's for dinner.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Today I taught Manny the word "Procrastination"

1 ten page paper
5 weeks to write
3 actual days of work on the paper
2 pages completed

So this is pretty average for my life in LA, but here it just feels like I'm being robbed of more things to do like going out to bars, hanging out with friends, and riding a bike around Lichterfelde when I put off work then have to designate an entire day to writing. Ah I should really get on writing my paper.

In the meantime though I think I'll enlighten everyone into the serious story of Easter in Germany. So I knew things were getting serious here when they got Thursday (THURSDAY!) and Friday off for Easter. I mean Easter is a Christian holiday, there's no making that PC like the US does with "Winter" Break. Yeah so then after a lovely 4 hour hike in Northern Berlin forests on Thursday I went with my friend Danielle shopping with her host sisters. That's when she drops the bomb on me: Germans actually buy each other gifts on Easter. REAL gifts, like the kind of things Americans would get each other for birthdays. Craziness! I watched as my Danielle bought nice things for her family and comforted myself with the thought that Manny, surely, did not do this. I mean when was the last time any country was more capitalistic and consumerist than the US? Never! Or so I thought! So I got Manny a big chocolate bunny thinking that I could just keep it if it turned out Easter was just normaand thankfully Danielle let me borrow a blank CD so I could possibly make him a burned CD. I get home and realize that Danielle (natürlich!) was totally correct! Well Manny didn't get me anything, but he had put a chocolate bunny in my bookshelf and a "Frohe Ostern" embordered thingy. AH! Yes, so then Sira comes over and she goes on a search for her gifts which Manny has actually hidden outside. Ha. Anyways then it turns out we have frustuck plans for Easter morning b/c Easter is a big deal. The breakfast was good but the really exciting thing was going on Manny's scooter to get there!!! AHHHH! Call me crazy, but after what shall be known as the "snow-mobile incident" I haven't been too keen to get on fast moving machines. Still it was sooo sooo much fun to get on the scooter and go all around to get to his friend's house. I mean it was like a tour of Berlin by scooter! Hooray!

Anyways I think I'll go write that paper now!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Sony Center


So it’s been forever and I’m dropping the ball, so I’m getting back on with just writing about this week.

So last week I was supposed to go to Milan to see Eric, but due to the fact that I didn’t have a passport because we had to turn them into to get our Resident Permit, I couldn’t go. UGH, 60 euros down the drain and not being able to see Eric as planned was not the sort of beginning to a weekend I was hoping for. Eventually it turned out that this was really a blessing in disguise because I had about 4 major things I had to that weekend that would have been extremely difficult to make up.

One of those things was going on an excursion to a mosque in Nelkoln on Thursday. As we walk up to this mosque there were a ton of people there. It was a Thursday so it was kind of startling that so many people would be there, then we see a coffin coming out and realize eek, we just almost crashed a funeral. After the people had left we met up with out tour guide. She was such a curious lady, I really enjoyed her. There were only about 6 of us on the tour and we were all girls so it was sort of relaxing. She was a German who converted to Islam and it was really interesting to hear her perspective on how Germans see Muslims and how integrated Muslims are in the community. What was most interesting was how she said that young Turkish or Arabic kids grow up hearing from other people that they're Muslim or that they should be Muslim so then these Turkish or Arabic kids feel like they have to own up to the label that people put on them.

The mosque was also GORGEOUS! Blue and turquoise mixed with other bright earthly tones, ah gorgeous. The chandelier in the middle was a bunch of lights with quotes from the Quran about God lighting up all ends of the earth. So beautiful. We all sat chatting about integration and Islam on the heated floor on the main worship room.

After that I went with Vivan to my lieblings-türkisches cafe (favorite Turkish café) off Kottbusser Tor. Its this really cool place with Arabic next to the German on the menu and Arabic music playing. This place seriously has the best döner in all of Berlin. Promise! They also have other types of pickled vegetables, sweets like baklava, and real mint leaves in hot water. So good!

Ah I’ve also recently become literally addicted and obsessed with Milka chocolate. Haha I think its bad when you eat chocolate on the bus and then worry about if everyone is noticing you’ve just eaten a whole bar of chocolate. Seriously though, Milka kicks all American chocolate’s ass. Its soooo good and its sooo cheap. Actually all chocolate in Berlin is really pretty cheap and sooo much better than in the US. Ah I’m going to gain so much weight, haha I’m trying to just buy the little bars in a small attempt to curb my chocolate intakes. Wish me luck, its sooo good!

On Friday we had an excursion to Potsdam, which is a small city outside of Berlin, literally 30 minutes from my house. It was really nice and quaint. Actually it makes me love Berlin. The small cities of Germany that I’ve been to like Lepizig and Dresden, are really nice, but they’re so small and I really like the variety of Berlin. Potsdam does have cool history though, it was where Alte Fritz (AKA Old Fritz, AKA Frederick the Great AKA Frederick II of Prussia) had his favorite palace called Sanssouci. It’s a highly highly Rococo style palace that’s actually really small. Ha, that’s why I like Alte Fritz I’d like a small castle too, I’d just get lost in places like the Lourve and Versailles. The palace name “Sansouci” translates into without worry and it was because Alte Fritz had been in his fair share of horrific battles. Also crazy fact about Alt Fritz: when he was 18 or so he tried to escape his serious father and when he was caught, his dad thought he’d teach him a lesson by forcing him to watch the beheading his best friend who he had tried to escape as well. AHH! Yeah so Alte Fritz grew into a really nice enlightened despot because he was trying really hard to not be his crazy father.

We also went to Cecilienhof which is where the Potsdam conference was held a few months after WWII was over in Europe. So I got to see where Stalin sat ( and touched his desk! Eek! Crazy man’s desk!) and Clement Attlee’s smoking room. The tour was actually really lame, but it was still really cool to see where the big round table was. Its just interesting in hindsight to see how things completely fell apart in that three some relationship.

We had a bunch of time to check out the whole city. So Raleigh, Kevin, Stephon, and I got some food at an overpriced restaurant in the middle of town. Kevin is such a character. Being the devout Catholic he is, Kevin gave of speaking English for lent which means the conversations between Kevin and I have recently become extremely one-sided and often need a translator. Ha, its kind of like talking to a child, and I mean that in the best way possible. Haha, I get to test my deutsch on him.

Also Raliegh is secretly the love of my life. Haha I love her.

Later that night a bunch of us had Oper tickets for the Magic Flute. It was really good, but all in deutsch so a lot of it was lost on me. Oper’s aren’t as horrible as people think they are, or maybe the Magic Flute is just really good. It was actually really funny and silly even with the translation. Oh and the Queen of the Night’s Aria was really good. That’s impressive! I believe it’s the highest note in an Opera.

So on Saturday, CIEE took us on a tour of Kreutzburg which is my favorite neighborhood of Berlin. It’s the really Muslim area where the art scene is along with all the cool bars, clubs, and young people are. The tour was really cool and the tour guide was this really cool Muslim lady who was super opinionated about how Muslims are treated and how horrible the gentrification of Kreutzberg is. Also we had the BEST Turkish food afterwards. It was the closest to Moroccan food I’d had outside of Morocco.

Later that night I went to see Alice in Wonderland in 3D with Kevin, Danielle, and Raleigh in the Sony Center in Potsdamer Platz.

On Sunday things were a little interesting at my house. Manny and Sira got in a relatively large argument at the breakfast table with Ken, Sira’s boyfriend, and I sitting there trying to be invisible. It was all about how Manny had made plans for us all to go to Mauer Park Flo Markt (Flea Market) but then Sira didn’t want to go. Awkward family tension resulted. Ah all I can say is I’m so glad I’m not 15 anymore and this experience makes me never want to have children b/c one day they’ll be a teenager. Eveuntaully we all went to the Flea Market with Sira not wanting to be there the whole time. Awkward… But the market is actually really really cool and I want to go back some other time when its warmer. I’ve never seen such a big flea market. We were there for about 2 hours and still didn’t see the whole thing.

On Tuesday my deutsch class had früstück (breakfast) at my deutsch teacher’s apartment. There’s only 6 of us in the class and its really cool. I love my deutsch teacher. She’s like 27-30 years old and really opinionated. We made a HUGE fruit salat and had tons of cheese and toast. She lives in Kreutzberg next to this nice park. Ah she’s so great. We always have a break in the class because its 3 hours long and during the break her and I always walk down the street to get cheap coffee together. (Milka sometimes for me too… sooo addicted!) haha she calls Günter, the old coffee shop man, her drug dealer b/c he sells her coffee, an understandable connection.

After früstück I went to Manny’s work because he had told me he worked close to Kottbusser Tor. Manny is a psychologist that works at something like an alternative school for kids who are prone to violence. Its an interesting job, so I went to visit him and he took me around his work and then we walked around Kreutzberg. He used to live in Kreutzberg in the 70’s when the wall was still up. Then we went to a Turkish café that he loves the most. It was really cool because Manny really works in a really cool place.

On Tuesday night I saw Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others). SO GOOD! WATCH IT! GOOGLE THE TRAILER! (Trailer link: This is seriously, one of the best movie’s I’ve ever seen. Its about life in the DDR (or GDR, German Democratic Republic, AKA Eastern Communist Germany). Not only is the story captivating, but it’s the cinematography is wonderful! I don’t even usually notice that sort of thing, but this was just such a good movie. WATCH IT!

This Thursday night a bunch of us decided to go to the Weineri, (Winery) which is a café like room where you pay 2 euros for a wine glass then drink as much wine as you’d like. At the end you’re supposed to be so drunk that you actually give them 2 euros per wine glass. It was really really fun and totally crowded at this little place in Prenzlauer Berg. It was super fun. I really just enjoy going to bars and cafes and drinking because its so nice to just sit and chat and drink. I had a really great time and drank plenty of their cheap wine.

The next day though we all had our last excursion to Sachsenhausen, a concentration camp in the far north of Berlin. It was the first concentration camp in Germany and at first was just for political prisoners, but then later Jews and other people persecuted under the Nazi’s racial laws. It wasn’t intended as a place for mass murder and extermination because those places were meant to be in Eastern Europe, but 30,000 people were murdered there. Much of what was left after the Nazi were defeated was destroyed by Soviets who bombed out most of the camp’s buildings including the gas chamber and crematorium. (PS I didn't take any of the Sachsenhausen pictures they're from Wikipedia, I didn't bring my camera that day)

It was really surreal being there. I can’t really explain it and maybe I haven’t absorbed it yet, but the whole thing was really really surreal. Its astounding that these events ever happened and its hard to understand how humanity can sink so low so its difficult, even when standing there, to understand how horrific and horrible it was. I think what struck me most was walking into the former barracks where prisoners lived. It was been burned when the Nazis left the camp, but there was still bunk beds, toilets, and the “shower” rooms. I mean actually standing where so many people were forced to live under the worst conditions. Its hard to imagine and take in. The cruelty prisoners endured is astounding. I mean the guards would just do horrible things to the prisoners just because they could, such as forcing as many people as they could into a small closet then letting them die because there wasn’t enough air for so many people in such a small room. Then there was the gas chamber were all that was left was the ground floor of the building. This particular place had a gas chamber, a “doctor’s room” where they would systematically shoot people, crematorium ( in the above picture), and an execution trench where people were shot. I think looking back on visiting there it has just made my comprehension of horrible people were treated even clearer. Just talking about the holocaust now is harder than it was before simply because I been where so many people were brutally and ruthlessly systematically murdered.

Hmm… its hard to follow that depressing topic, but I’ll try with something light and fluffy. Today Manny, Sira, and I had a relatively peaceful Sunday that involved all 3 of us biking to the Flo Markt that is about 500 meters (that’s right it’s the metric system) away from our house. This was nothing like the Mauer Park Flo Markt because it was tiny and apparently we were too late to see anything good. However it was really nice to get on a bike and spend some time outside. It was really good to do something active instead of just walking around in the freezing cold.

Oh yes and on Saturday evening Raleigh, Kevin, Danielle, and I went to an absinth bar then to a dance club. HA! The whole place was filled with FU BEST students. I have no idea how we all ended up here, but it was great! We had such a good time dancing, again, just nice to be active! I’m dying trapped in buildings with all the snow and cold outside! I’m ready for zommer!

Basically I’m having an amazing time still and I’ve been really busy which is why I haven’t been keeping up with this. I mean this post was just one week! Eek! So much happening and I’m just trying to enjoy it while it lasts!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Gheez Oops

Okay so sorry its been FOREVER! So much has happened and I'm going to write about it but with three 10 pages research papers and weekend trips still happening I've got a lot going on so here's a summary for now and later I will expand on the on goings.

--Anti Nazi Protest in Dresden
--Borous Collection and Art Day in Berlin
--Day of Museums
--Mid term panic (Is it really half way through? AH!)
--Dresden and Leipzig
--LONDON with Callie
--Paris with Eric, Shilpa, and Abigial (Whittier Reunion)
--Magic Flute
--Better Deutsch Sprache
--Turkish Berlin

Okay well as you can see its A LOT and I know I missed some stuff somewhere. Anyways basically I have a lot of catching up to do b/c I'm seriously slacking, BUUUT Manny and Sira (and possibly Ken?) are going to the Mauer Park Flea Market today which is really cool b/c apparently its the best and biggest flea market in Berlin! Whoo! I love flea markets! Alright well expect some updates soon!


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Oh man its been a long time since an update so this one’s going to be long.

So Manfred (now nicknamed Manny) and Sira left for the Alps in Italy on Friday night which leaves me to fend for myself food wise. I’ve had pasta and pizza so far. Basically I can’t wait for them to get home. Also it was quiet an experience discovering yesterday evening that Manny has hid the toilet paper somewhere in the house so I had to buy some this afternoon.

Deutsches Historisches Museum (above)

So the week before Manfred left was good. On Saturday I went to the Deutsches Historisches Museum (The German Historical Museum) and it was SO worth the 5 euros to get in! It was one of the most comprehensive museums I’ve ever seen. It started in prehistory, then went to Roman times with actually parts of Roman arches and floors from around Germany. On and on! There was SO much to look at and see! Coats of armor, swords, ancient wedding contracts, Martin Luther’s famous painting, old masks worn for those who had black death, clothes from the 1700’s. The whole museum was amazing and I plan on going back. It really showed how German was this really established and historically rooted place before Hitler and WWII. I mean in retrospect the horrible stain Hitler left on Germany is such a tragedy because Germany had so much going on before WII and now people forget that there was a foundation to German life before that and the atrocities of WWII are all that’s retained. Oh man and for people who think Germans try and shy away from the Hitler period of time and greatly mistaken. The museum had a brutal factual account of Hitler’s rise, the tests ran for racial purity, “euthanasia” of thousands of mentally ill, and the atrocities of the holocaust. I know when we go to Sachsenhausen it’ll be worse, but there are some images I can never forget from this museum like pictures of women and children walking off to gas chambers, and the clothes of people who were in concentration camps. All in all, if anyone is in Berlin they should make Deutsches Historisches Museum a must on their list.

old marriage license

Famous painting of Martin Luther

Mask for those who got close to people with the Black Death

Propaganda for Germany during WWI. I love it.

Bullet holes in WWI helmets.

Different Nazi Uniforms

A concentration camp uniform

On a lighter note, I came home from school on Monday and Manfred said I have serious news to discuss with you. Yikes! Not! It turns out there was a benefit Haiti concert that night and he had bought 5 tickets if I was interested. YES! It was great! I got to go to the Berlin Philharmonic Hall which is famous for its design. The stage is in the center of the concert hall so there’s 360 view in the seats around them.

The musicians were amazing especially this 16 year old boy who played Franz Liszt’s La Campanella. AMAZING. (Here's a link to some famous guy playing the same song: I love Germans because at the intermission they sell wine, beer, and PREZELS. Haha, there’s a bunch of fancy dressed Germans sipping their champagne and eating pretzels.

On Wednesday I ended up going to stammtisch again, which was fun, but only so-so. Then Kirk showed up with his house brother, Lion (pronounced Leon) who’s 17 and we all went out to a tropical bar. Kirk and Lion were planning on going sledding, but the rest of us weren’t so convinced. Eventually we looked down at our watches and it was 1:45am so the U Bahns were closed so we might as well! Raleigh, Danielle, Kirk, Lion, Stephon, Phil, and I all trucked it over to this hill in Kreuzberg (quickly becoming my favorite district in the entire city. I love Kreuzberg!) We met some other fun Germans there and had sled races with them. Although I was a little too eager and we found a shopping cart and I jumped in thinking, “Oh great a free sled!” Yeah horrible idea! My butt still hurts from the fall! Yikes never use a shopping cart to go sledding in! Still it was one of the funnest nights I’ve had here! We stayed out sledding (mind you, in jeans, pea coats, and normal shoes... I didn’t even had gloves or a hat that day) until the U Bahn’s started running again, which is pretty late. I had such a good time though haha sledding here is serious business.

Oh and we even had races with the other Germans of a Germany versus Germany and the US on 2 sleds. It was basically blizzarding the whole time and by the time we all stopped we were soaking wet, but this was seriously my best night here so far!

On Friday the school took us to Hohenschonhausen which was a Stasi prison headquarters in East Germany. It was really creepy. The prison was basically testing grounds for psychological violence where they put people naked in rooms with 4 inches of water on the ground and tortured them until they confessed. Scary place. What’s really interesting though is how fresh the history is in the minds of the people. Most of the tour guides at the prison (although unfortuently not ours) are former prisoners. Its really amazing b/c there’s no where in the US were people that were really part of history are still alive. Its really amazing there’s so much history here that touches everything.

Also Freie Universtiat gave us 3 free tickets to cultural events and mine just happened to all be in one week. I went to see Swan Lake at the Deutsches Oper on Thursday night and it was really good, although I learned the valuable lesson of “always know the story line to any ballet you’re going to see.” Yeah I had no idea what was going on, but the ballet was really good anyways. Also on Saturday I went to a soccer game at the Berlin Olympic Stadium which was built in 1936 for the Nazi Olympics. (Note: Germany was actually awarded the Olympics in 1931 before Hitler had taken power so I wouldn’t really blame the Olympic committee for picking a horrible place.) Anyway the Stadium is built in the Nazi dictator style, attempting to be like the Roman coliseum with huge statues and dominating concrete blocks. The game itself was really cool. There is a whole section of people who go all out and buy like 9 scarves and wear them like some sort of kilt over their jeans. Hertha BSC, Berlin’s team, just happens to be the worst team in the league and was playing to go up in standing, but they tied. Getting back on the U Bahn was quiet an experience. People had rushed the platform and the doors almost wouldn’t open b/c people were pushing on them then we were squished in as close as possible. Haha also people kept shouting “Scheiße auf du” which means “Shit on you”… very interesting.

Anyways so basically I’ve been super super busy and didn’t have to time to update, but hopefully I’ll have some fun things to say about this coming weekend b/c I think I’m going to Dresden with a bunch of other students to protest a Nazi group that’s going to march.

Tschüs for now!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Life is great. I'm having the best time here!!

I went out to this really great local bar on Tuesday with Callie and Elena and found out my favorite beer EVER is hefeweisen b/c it doesn't taste that bitter and its pretty sweet. The old bar we were in was so cool and quiet. It was decorated like some 70's house with weird flowery pea green wall paper and like barf yellow accent colors. Ha, I really liked the place.

Oh and last saturday I had a bought of homesickness that came about in the weirdest way possible. I was going to a bar with my friend Kirk to this place that a few people had heard was really good. WORST IDEA EVER! It was a hostel bar with basically only Americans in it. The people I was with were really fun, but there were some guys there who were American that were SOOO annoying. They were the obnoxious Americans who were like, "Oh I love America! I never want to leave again!" "I'm from Boston and its the best place on Earth! Blah blah blah, I'm drunk and American and annoying." Basically. Yeah so that was a total bust! They were even playing football! American football on the TV!! UGH! I don't even watch football in the US and I sure as hell did not come to Germany to hang out in a bar with a bunch of Americans watching football! It was horrible. Luckily I just called it a night early and went home.

After that night things went back to being really fun though. On Wednesday Manfred was having dinner with his nephew so I was to find my own food. It just so happened that Adam and Raleigh wanted to get food that night too and then Kirk came along b/c his family did the same thing as mine. The four of us found this really cheap place in Charlottenburg near Raleigh's house and enjoyed the ambiance of eating out. We decided to go to stamtsch, the student meeting in a local bar, because it was right near us. Ah stamtisch was such a good idea b/c there were SO many students there and it was really fun. I met this German Bavarian guy named Fabian (haha Fabi for short) who had some interesting insight on what it was like to be from Bavaria and living in Berlin. He was really funny and the best foosball player I'd ever met! Oh Fabi! He did say that he thought Bavaria was not that different, but Stephan (pronounced Stephon), a native Berliner and one of the student assistants, said that Bavaria is really different because its a lot more traditional and people are more religious. Also I think just from being here I've noticed that much of the German stereotypes we think of are actually Bavarian things like leterhosen, beersteins, and the hats with feathers in them.

Dinner with Kirk, Adam, and Raleigh. You can see Kirk is missing home a little bit there with the cheeseburger.

Here's Fabi on the left, then me, then Kirk. The flash wasn't on so its a little blurry.

Then last night I had a great night again! First I had dinner at Manfred's friend's house who had a daughter who was 19 and spoke really good english. She was really nice and had a lot to say about living in Berlin. Her mom was also really nice and kept asking me about why I chose Berlin and what cultural differences there are. Haha I said the fact that there's no open bottle rule is the weirdest thing b/c on the weekends there'll be kids in the UBahn drinking out of vodka and beer bottles. Even going over to thier house I brought a bottle of champagne and I felt like the bus driver was going to tell me to put it away. Haha its really weird growing up with something then having it mean nothing in another place. Yeah they said they thought it was so weird that in the US you couldn't drink openly. Haha she said they were camping once and had a wine bottle out and a ranger told them to put it away even though they were all like 30 to 40 years old. Ha she said they always forget when the go to the US about the open bottle rule.

Later that night after I exchanged numbers with the 19 year old daughter, Raleigh and I met up and for lack other place to go we went to stamtisch again b/c it was still going on. Ah stamtisch is so much fun! The bar we were at is one of the few places were beer comes in the liter mugs. Haha like the really stereotypical big glasses that are really heavy. Ha and then we kept making up names for Stephon's children that he doesn't actually have haha. We were going for the most stereotypical names like Hansel, Gretel, Fredrick, and Hans. Haha oh Stephon is such a good sport for putting up with us. Yeah we even went out to get more beer b/c its really common to leave a bar, buy more beer, drink it outside, then go back to another bar. Haha so Stephon and Raleigh and this guy Max all went and stood in the FREEZING cold (its like -9 Celsius here! BRR!) and drank our beer. It was a good night all in all and Stephon is a pretty funny guy. We talked about religion for a good while and then went on to talk about Berlin and America.

Raleigh and I with our HUGE liter beers.

Here's Stephon, Raleigh and I outside in the cold! He was such a good sport! Oh and I think you can see that someone wrote I love Germany in graffiti on the wall. Haha how appropriate! I do love Germany!

Its so interesting how alcohol is treated here. Its definitely just part of the culture. Its like going out for coffee in the US. No one thinks anything of it to just sit with a beer outside. Its really freeing. Its not like I'm going out and getting drunk every night (although after that liter of beer I'll admit that was a lot of alcohol) but its so normal to just go as a social thing to bars. You order one drink and sit there and talk about life or whatever. I just like the atmosphere. Its really casual compared to drinking in the US which is usually binge drinking. Its a really good place to meet local people too which is really nice. Basically I'm not getting wasted every night I'm just going out to see people. The US should really consider changing its moralistic view of alcohol and maybe we'd have less binge drinking.

Basically I'm having an AMAZING time and its really the best to go out to pubs and bars and just hang out with people then go to museums and cultural places during the day. AMMAZING. I am living the life.