Weeks I’ve been in Berlin: 2
Bags of Haribo Gummy Bears consumed: 5 (6 if you include the one I’m eating as I write this)
Number of people that have asked ME for directions (instead of the other way around): 3!!!!
German beers I have drunk: 1 (I’m kind of lame, I know)
New words learned: probably like a thousand
I’ve made it through the first week of my internship! Not that it was half as hard as I thought it would be. The office was extremely welcoming, and I felt right at home when I saw everyone pull out big bowls of pasta to eat for lunch. A long cry from the lunch scene in LA, where anyone eating more than a green juice and a “handful of almonds” must be on their cheat day. I felt out of place with my little sandwich. I’m sure I’ll have no problem adjusting.
I still don’t really think I’ve established all my bearings quite yet. I’ve managed to develop a daily and familiar routine in the week I’ve been working, but uncertainty still plagues me. What if the U-Bahn breaks down on my way to work? What if it breaks down on the way home from work? Am I supposed to ask my boss for something to do when I finish a task? Or am I supposed to sit and mind my own business until a task is given to me? Will my coworkers think I’m uptight if I just sit and read at lunch? Am I making them uncomfortable when I sit by them and don’t speak because I can only understand about a third of what everyone says?
But then again, I have to remember. This is part of the reason I came to Berlin. I came not only to study, but also to open myself to new culture, excitement, and the chance to abandon all my fears and learn about the inner workings of my mind by immersing myself into unknown situations.
Well, that and my internship. I’m working at the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society, a very cool and groundbreaking institution. My job falls under the management category, so mainly I’ve been helping people proofread, translate, and other random tasks to get ready for events. The company is small and new, which is very nice. Everyone knows each other, and it’s a very relaxed atmosphere, with occasional fun pranks! And most importantly, there’s free coffee.
I’ve also started really settling into my housing. After talking with the other students in the internship program, I’ve quickly learned the differences in all of our housing. It helps so much to settle into a new city when you feel comfortable in your home. It’s in the quieter part of Berlin, with more schools and churches than bars and clubs. It’s quaint and quiet, which I think is the perfect setting for me.
I’m still getting used to the long days, though. I try to get to work around 10 and usually end up leaving in between 5 and 6 to get to my German or my Internship seminars right after. I love being kept busy, but I need to remember to set aside time for the abroad part of studying abroad. I want to travel around Germany, stay out all night, and instagram pictures of my hand holding an ice cream cone in front of a river. These are all things that take some time off, which thankfully I have the weekends for.
The city will definitely need some getting used to still. I’m not a Berlin native, and I never will be (maybe). A new city halfway across the world comes with its own challenges. I will get on the wrong train and end up an hour away at the airport (again). I will be wandering around for a while trying to find a place to eat because I don’t know the area, and finally settle on the same overpriced Dönner Kebab stand I’ve been to eight times already. I am going to spill olive oil on a new top and just put it in my suitcase until I get back home, because I have no idea where the best dry cleaner is. These are all experiences that I can’t really anticipate, but just need to accept.
The craziness and unpredictability isn’t going to stop. I’m just going to get smarter, learn my way around the city, and adjust to the culture. Until then, I will try to see this unpredictibilty as exciting freedom.
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<p>Hi! I'm Veronica, and I'm a communications/creative writing major from the University of Southern California. I love comedy, writing, and meeting new people! I'm a self-identified cat person, yet love dogs too.</p>