My mother asked me what the first thing I was going to do once I landed in Germany. My answer? Kiss the ground. Did it happen? No, because I was too frantic trying to navigate where/when my flight from Munich to Berlin was going to take off and where. Stepping into the airport in Munich was hectic. I had totally forgotten that I was in Germany, and so asking people for directions was confusing. I should have invested in a Fitbit for all the steps I did within that hour.
Arriving in Berlin, I was able to find a taxi to take me straight to the IES Abroad Center. The taxi driver was funny and made me feel less terrible about how unbrushed my German was. He informed me that if I was partying too much, he was going to call my parents. Upon arriving to the center, I was greeted among many other students in the same boat as me: anxious and sweaty (it was a long hot morning). We got a tour of the Center and even a little tour of the banks, shops, and restaurants near the center. At that point, I felt comfortable walking around the city.
Later on that day, I was introduced to my host mom. She's so cool and is such a wonderful person. We took the S-bahn on the way home, which was definitely overwhelming for me. The last time I took a train I was probably around six, so seeing all these people and trying to figure out all these stops/signs in German was stressful. As soon as my host mom opened the front door, I knew that I was going to like it here. The atmosphere just felt so welcoming. Not to mention, she has a cat (who kind of likes me now). The best part about that day was probably going to bed. After two days without sleep, you'll understand.
The first week is filled with orientation so you can get acquitted with your surroundings, the students, the staff, and the program. Although they made the day long, I now know mostly my way around the city, some places to go, and more friends to hang out with. On the second day, my host mom came with me to the station so she could guide me seeing as it would be my first of many times traveling alone. Beforehand she wrote on a piece of paper the station name where I should be getting off and then how to get to the center. When I got off on my correct station, I had no idea how to get to the Center. Since I didn't get a SIM card yet, I couldn't use my phone to help me out. I asked numerous people where the street was, and half of them didn't even know where it was. Like, way to know your city! Eventually, I found my destination. Needless to say, I should have worn more deodorant that day.
The past few days have been full of traveling and eating at various restaurants (no, I haven't tried currywurst or sauerbraten yet). I love history, so visiting all of the museums and memorials was fascinating for me. I didn't want to seem too much like a tourist, so I limited my picture taking because of the fact that I like to take everything in. Some advice: don't spend the whole time on your phone while exploring, all you need is right in front of you. Everything about Berlin has been breathtaking. No matter where I go, I'm always amazed by the architecture and all of the street art. When visiting the wall, the pictures don't do any justice. Just being there in front of the wall is beautiful. It truly is a work of art, even though the meaning behind it is miserable.
As the days go on, I plan on traveling to different countries/cities and exploring more of what Berlin has to offer. I mean, it is my home for the next three months. Stay tuned for more blogs of when I actually have a German conversation, get lost around the city, and my travel updates!