Posts Tagged ‘Berlin’


Whitney: Christmas in France

December 31, 2011

Oh dear. My life has rocked for the past week and a half, and I think it would take me a few hours to write about everything, so I’ll do my best to highlight the most exciting parts.

First, FRANCE! My first time flying with Easyjet went surprisingly well. My bag was the appropriate size and I found a seat quickly and easily (they don’t assign seats), and when I arrived at the Basel-Mulhouse-Freiburg airport I found Emilie, her mom, and her dog Velcro waiting for me! I was welcomed into their home with open arms and I cannot thank them enough for everything they did for me. Emilie showed me around Strasbourg and Obernai, taught me a few French words and phrases, and we spent some time with some of her friends. We also took a trip to the convent of St. Odile to get a beautiful view of the city – you could see all the way to Germany in the very far distance! Christmas Eve and Day were wonderful – I tried a bunch of new foods, the strangest being Foie Gras, which is duck liver that’s been fattened. I was skeptical, but it was actually really good! I was given some wonderful presents including earmuffs, chocolate, and a beautiful necklace from Emilie and her mother, all of which were completely unexpected and way too generous! It was really a fantastic experience to celebrate with a such a fun and loving family and see another culture’s take on the holiday season.

Yesterday was also a great day. James and I went to one last Christmas market in search of some discounted ornaments (which we successfully found), and it was really nice to get one last mug of delicious Glühwein. Tonight we’re celebrating Silvester (New Year’s Eve) together and I’m really excited to ring in the new year with fireworks and champagne!


Whitney: Amazing weekend

December 12, 2011

WOW. It has been an amazing weekend. Seriously, I have so many good things to say, so I’ll start from the beginning. On Friday my friend Victoire invited me to see a band called Paper Planes at a club called “Chester’s Live Music” in Kreuzberg. The show was great and so was the audience. We were all dancing and cheering and drinking, which made for a great combination! And it was the first time I’d hung out with Victoire outside of class which was also really great. I got home pretty late, got about three hours of sleep, and woke up exhausted to get ready for my day-trip to Dresden with the International Club! 

Thankfully I was able to sleep a bit on the 3-hour train-ride to Dresden, but before I fell asleep the most wonderful thing happened. My friend Emilie asked me if I had come up with a plan for Christmas yet since I had previously told her I wasn’t flying home, and I sadly admitted that all my plans had fallen through. She then asked if I would want to spend Christmas with her and her family in France! I was so shocked that at first I didn’t know what to say (I mean, what if she was kidding?!), but I eventually thanked her and said that YES, I would absolutely love to spend Christmas in France! I am so so excited to see her hometown and to be around family during Christmas, even if it’s not my own. I just feel like this was the thing I was waiting for. Just for someone to reach out and let me know that something good is always right around the bend. In the words of the band Bishop Allen, “If it’s ever gonna get any better, it’s gotta get worse for a day”. It got worse, but now it’s definitely better.

The picture above is from the Christmas Markets in Dresden. It was an absolutely charming little city, but it is so strange to think that almost all of it was destroyed during the Second World War, so most of the buildings that appear old are actually fairly new and are just built to look like the old ones. It’s very odd. The Christmas Markets were fantastic – there was Glühwein and music and hundreds of stands selling ornaments, winter gloves and hats, and tons of tasty food. The only downside was how completely overcrowded it was. I actually lost my group for the last few hours of the day when I stopped to take a picture and it was impossible to find them again so I just ended up doing my own thing. Overall though, I’m so glad I took the trip.

Sunday was a delightfully lazy day, and it ended with something wonderful: my boyfriend Gus booked his flight to come visit me in March! He’s really coming! It’s really going to happen and I seriously can’t stop smiling about it. It will be so unbelievably amazing to see him again – to give him a gigantic hug and savor every moment I have with him during the 11 days he’ll be here. Basically, this weekend majorly rocked my socks off.


Whitney: Continued homesickness

November 27, 2011

Tomorrow is the 28th of November and it marks the two-month anniversary of my departure from the U.S. I wish I could say that in that amount of time I’ve traveled to seven different countries, tasted crazy foods, tried dozens of new activities, and made friends that will last a lifetime, but I really can’t. These first two months have been an immense struggle for me, and I fear that the water up ahead may be just as rocky. I have had good days and bad, but the good ones are always just good and the bad ones are usually really bad. I’ve found myself seriously considering just giving up and flying home to where I’m loved and people are there to hold me when I just need to cry. I sometimes get tears in my eyes when I see a plane leaving Berlin because I know that some of the people on that plane are about to be back in their loved one’s arms, and I don’t get to be one of them. It’s so hard to convince myself that I’ll eventually find close friends and true happiness here while simultaneously holding on to my life back home. But even harder, I think, is the fact that I am ashamed of how homesick and sad I am, because I thought I was strong enough to fight through it with a deep breathe and a smile. I hope I can write another post in a few weeks about some new friends who help me pull through this major slump, but even if that’s not in the cards for me fight now, I’m going to try my best to be content on my own.


Whitney: Lesson learned

November 18, 2011

So in Berlin, you have to deposit a one euro coin in order to use a shopping cart at the grocery store (because apparently otherwise people steal them…), so I usually just use a basket instead. It’s more common to get groceries every few days here than to stock up for a few weeks the way I always did in Minneapolis, so I generally only buy a bag’s worth of groceries each trip. Today I decided to broaden my horizons and try out a grocery cart, and I don’t think I’ll ever make that mistake again. I bought twice as much as I normally do because I wasn’t limited to only buying what could fit in a basket, and carrying it the half-mile and 72 stair-steps to my apartment was not a fun task to complete. 


Whitney: Flohmarkt am Mauerpark

November 6, 2011

Today I visited “Flohmarkt am Mauerpark” with Lucy. It was very interesting to see all the things people were trying to sell – bikes, jewelry, clothes, postcards, vintage cameras, vintage records, vintage typewriters – basically anything and everything vintage – and so on and so forth. There was even a table selling hand-sewn panties! I ended up buying an ear of corn-on-the-cob, some postcards, and an adorable hat for winter. I’d say it was definitely worth the train-ride into the city and it’s gotten me very excited for the start of Germany’s famous Christmas markets!


Whitney: Missing Halloween

October 31, 2011

So before I left for Germany, I was really worried about missing out on certain holidays that aren’t really celebrated over here – namely Halloween – so I carved an amazing kitten-faced pumpkin before I left. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to have the chance to carve another pumpkin this weekend with Christian and his friend Simon. We just went with a basic jack-o-lantern face, but I was so happy to get another dose of Halloween spirit this weekend 🙂 Happy Halloween everyone!


Whitney: MskMskMskMskBoomBoomBoomBoom

October 22, 2011

Last night I went to a party for the international students of Berlin at a club called Kino International and it was really really fun! I went alone and (thankfully) ran into some awesome people right away as we were waiting outside to get in. Our group was made up of a boy from Canada, a girl from the US (me), a girl from France, and a girl from Turkey. You can’t get much more international than that! We went in and there were four different dance floors that each played a different genre of music – as you can see from the title of the post, one of them was techno 🙂

So we danced the night away until about 3am and then we decided to take off, and the funniest thing happened as we were leaving. This guy who was waiting in line to get into the club asked us why we were leaving so early and whether or not it was worth it to go in! At 3 in the morning! So I told him that it was indeed a good time inside and that we were only leaving because we were tired. I felt a teensy bit lame, but hey – IT WAS 3 IN THE MORNING.

After I parted ways with my new friends, I had a completely new obstacle to overcome: getting back home and into my bed (preferably before the sun greeted the city). I had to take three trains to get back to the Steglitz neighborhood, but I made it without falling asleep or boarding any wrong trains. I finally plopped into my bed at 4:18am. It’s now almost 3pm the next day and I am sitting in my pajamas with a cup of hot tea, wishing I could remember where I packed/unpacked my ibuprofen. Nice work, Berlin. Nice work.

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