Two weeks into my studies in Berlin, I feel it is as good a time as any to set my intentions for the semester to come. The Deutsche Hauptstadt feels like an acquaintance with the potential to become a lover in due time. There is a palpable energy coursing through the streets, yet a mellowed day-to-day that I adore. Not that people take their time, but rather no one is in a rush. I feel as if I can cherish the moments as they pass in a way the American hustle-bustle ignores. Perhaps this feeling comes from the novelty of new people and experiences. Still, I plan on continuing these moments as classes begin.
First off, I want to genuinely understand the people around me. The parasitic work culture in the United States leaves most of my friends back home as co-workers rather than confidants. In reaction to this, I intentionally overbook myself with extracurriculars in order to schedule them into my week. In my life, this constitutes the improv comedy podcast I directed titled Buttercups & Moonbeams. I adore the project, and my sound design has assuredly improved. Yet, it is roughly ten hours of work per episode on top of my studies. In Berlin, I want to find people willing to simply exist with one another. People willing to discuss our histories, passions, and who we want to be going forward. My predicament reminds me of a painting by Anders Zorn located in Boston titled The Omnibus. Four passengers sit in a streetcar never interacting with each other. It comes out of the industrial revolution where people lived in cramped tenements, yet never convened as a united community. It is so incredibly easy to go your whole life, never truly knowing the people around you, and I fear that is the scariest and most humbling part of life. We all sit next to each other and perceive our performances of personality. But ego aside, do we genuinely comprehend our colleagues enough to admire their true selves? Maybe we do with a partner but certainly not for most friendships. I wish to part ways with my Berliner friends viewing them as more than entertainment. In return, I wish they view me in the same light.
Secondly, I wish to reassess my relationship with work. I find myself with an attitude of saying yes to everything. Oftentimes, this ends up causing a lot more pain than contentment. For example, last semester I was an orientation leader, I ran the tap-dancing club, started my podcast, hosted events for the German program, was a full-time student, and had some sort of social life. I was exhausted by the end of it. Although I liked everything I was doing, at a certain point, it all becomes less enjoyable when it locks into your schedule. I have forgotten how to do things like reading for pleasure or doing a hobby without turning myself into a factory for it. This semester offers me the ability to take a smaller amount of extracurriculars, which will in turn allow me to fully appreciate Berlin. I want to treat the next six months as a gift away from the American mode of production. I will continue my podcast producing one episode every two weeks and keep up with my painting and video editing. Still, without a deadline I can truly savor my creative efforts. As stated earlier, Berlin has its intensity, but the people seem to follow the wave of existence, rather than a grind culture way of 'pushing through' the insurmountable struggle of undesired achievement. Daily experiences form the core of life. As such, if you constantly grind away your enjoyment for some form of profit, you are left with nothing but regret for a life not lived for yourself. Berlin offers a breath of fresh air for my overworked self.
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<p>Guten Tag! Ich heiße Corey! I come from a small town named Groveland, Massachusetts about an hour north of Boston and now study at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. I have a double major in Film and German with a minor in Studio Art and am studying abroad in Berlin Spring 2022. In my free time I tap dance (for the past 15 years), finger paint with oils on canvas, and direct an improv comedy podcast. In Berlin I'm super excited to live in a city for the first time and experience the hustle bustle on a daily basis.</p>