For the past few days, I've tried to make my time in Berlin go by as slowly as possible. Unfortunately, as it always is, the slower you want something to happen, the faster it seems to go.
Things have started to become normal. I have a routine: get up every morning, eat breakfast, take the S-bahn to class, go grocery shopping, so on, and so forth. I've become so used to living in Berlin that it feels like I've been here for six years, not six weeks. Sadly, all of that is going to come to an end too soon, so this past week, I've found myself trying to memorize every detail of all the mundane things I've been doing and experiencing the past few weeks. The stairs that I climb every day at my homestay; the whining noise the doors on the S-bahn make when they're closing and the pleasant voice telling us all "Zurück bleiben, bitte!"; the graffiti that covers too many a train station wall; the sparkle of the needle-like Fernsehturm on a cloudless day. Those are the small, perhaps inconsequential details of my day-to-day life here, yet in a short while, I won't get to experience them again - if not forever, then at least for a long time.
One thing I will sheepishly admit is that it might be good for me to get away from streets where there are gelato stands every five feet and coffee shops on every corner. Neither my wallet nor my stomach need that kind of thing.
This weekend, in a bid to do more tourist-y things before it's too late, a friend and I visited the Berlin Underground museum, which takes you on tour through Berlin's old war bunkers. Pictures were not allowed, but photos probably wouldn't have done the place justice anyway. It was an entirely different feeling to tread through the dim chambers where Berliners decades and decades ago huddled when the air raid sirens went off. Along with the Berlin Wall, this tour reminded me that the Germans suffered through war, too.
To my dismay, I also discovered this weekend that, contrary to my initial beliefs, mosquitoes are in fact alive and well in Germany. Saturday night found me sitting by the water's edge watching colored jets of water moving in sync with music - a source of much excitement, until I noticed that my legs were being uncharacteristically itchy. Sure enough, twenty minutes later, large red welts had appeared, and today they are larger than the mosquito bites I usually get back home (which is really saying something). I guess all is not fine and dandy in terms of annoying insects in Berlin, but if that's the price I have to pay to experience a new culture, then it's really not a big price at all.
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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>