This past Saturday, I woke up at 4 am to hastily pack the remains of my shirts and assorted, mismatched socks into my already-too-full suitcase, took one last look around the place I'd called home for the past six weeks, and left the apartment to catch a 6:34 am train out of Berlin.
If there's one thing I've learned about this city, it's how punctual the trains are, and even at 5:30 on a Saturday morning, they did not disappoint. It was a relief that they were nearly empty (for some reason, no one likes to be out and about at sunrise on a weekend!). I could plop down my gazillion-pound backpack and suitcase anywhere without really caring about squishing anyone's toes, which definitely would have happened on any other normal day.
Classes and finals were over, and so was my summer with IES Abroad in Berlin. A lot of my classmates traveled to other cities in between school weeks, which I was too lame to do, but I decided to take a short visit to the Netherlands and visit some friends before heading back to the US. But when I arrived at Berlin's Hauptbanhof - main train station - on Saturday morning, it really hit me that my time in Berlin, at least for now, was over. I'm not really sure how time works, but it seems like I only had time to take a few breaths before July 23 hit.
I didn't have too much time to mope, though, because I barely had time to buy a chocolate croissant for breakfast (I love German train stations) and find my departing platform before that darned punctual train arrived.
And my little trip to the Netherlands was a pleasant end to the summer. Unfortunately, Dutch is a little too similar to German, so I kept trying to respond in German to people before I realized that I was in a different country. Also, having largely avoided tourist spots in Berlin for the majority of my time there, I found it slightly disorienting when I went to Amsterdam and found myself being borne along in huge crowds of people. I got to visit Leiden, Rotterdam, and Utrecht as well, and my impression is that the entire rest of the country just seems to be one giant suburb of Amsterdam. And although I found the streets to be a little too quiet for my taste, it was calm in a way that was maybe a nice change from Berlin.
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<p>I hail from Houston, Texas and study in Austin, Texas, so needless to say, I'm ready to get out of Texas. I study Chemistry and Spanish at the University of Texas at Austin and I like to pretend that I can manage German. This is my second time in Europe and I'm excited for the adventure that awaits!</p>