Sunburning with Cigarette Butts Stuck to My Outsoles

Corey Brown
May 7, 2022

I was walking home one warm weekend morning when I realized how beautiful the leaves make Berlin's streets. Strolling down the same roads I have been on for months now, I've had to reintroduce myself to the places I learned to appreciate for their energy or architecture alone. I still want to travel and see other big cities in Germany, but I think there's nowhere else I'd rather be than Berlin right now. The calm day-to-day pace with a hint of grunge from the graffiti, squatted buildings, and collage of creative styles makes the place always new and exciting. I think it’s taken the past three months to adjust to a place like Berlin. And with that, I don't think I realized how overwhelmed I was while studying abroad until recently. In the beginning, I was adjusting to new classes, new friends, speaking German as a daily necessity, figuring out the city, painting, and producing my podcast. There simply weren't enough hours in the day to achieve everything I wanted to. It often felt like what I had to do and what I wanted to do were clashing, or that I was running through the motions of everything. What changed that was my trip to Marseilles during spring break. Having a couple of days completely free of work reset my battery. It gave me a new perspective on what I should be prioritizing. I adjusted which assignments I focused on in order to have a work-life balance. I also started prioritizing friendships that had more equal give and take. Sometimes you realize that shallow friendships are only nice for a while. When the connection is just for entertainment, you can't expect anything from the other person. I know the people I have prioritized now will stay in contact with me once we leave Berlin. I also work on one painting or podcast episode at a time now. This means each project probably takes longer to complete, but I don't feel the need to fit both into one evening. I'll keep the energy of one project going until it finds its conclusion. 

Another part of Berliner culture I've been trying to appreciate more is the park culture around the city. There's probably a park about a ten-minute walk from wherever you are. I always try to take my mannequin Ivanka with me to the park, just cause she doesn't get much Vitamin D on her own. Sometimes I worry about her reclusive habits, to be honest. She can go days or weeks without getting any fresh air outside when I open the window. I am also well known for my skin burning incredibly easily among my friends. Still, sometimes I gotta power through the discomfort so Ivanka can sit on the grass. Once she's at the park, she usually enjoys it, though. She's very good at staring intensely into the soul of anyone who passes by. I would tell her it's okay to blink once and a while, but turns out it's an incredibly German phenomenon to stare at people in public. I don't think Berliners are too worried about it.

Corey Brown

<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>

2022 Spring
Home University:
Brandeis University
Groveland, MA
Film Studies
German Language
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