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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEnfZjqMSy0) 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!