A great ending to a not so great week:
Thursday: last day of German intensive course with Jacek (our teacher. Adorable. Polish/German.) We played games all day (some similar to scattergories except with topics pertaining to Germany, some racing games, some geography games, some verb conjugation games) Besides a few people being competitive, it was a lot of fun! Our teacher puts a lot of work into making things fun in order for concepts and words to stick. He is big on using active memory through games and role playing excercises and songs. Because this is all review for most of us anyway, it is a good fit. On Thursday he let us out early because we had a special evening planned. At 6pm we met at the Gamälde Gallerie near Potsdamer Platz. It is a huge painting museum, and Thursday evenings are free admission! He split us into groups, had each group find a painting, describe it (using those adjective endings we all love so much!) and explain why we chose it/why it was interesting to us. Then he rearranged the groups so that everyone could see the paintings chosen by the other groups. It was interesting-- there was a lot of rennesaince and religious art. We were only there about 90 minutes so I plan to return at a later date.
After the museum, we went to a "echtes Deutches Restaurant" (a real German restaurant) which had 3 items on the menu: chicken soup, Spätzle (a noodle and cheese dish), Schnitzel. The food was in big portions and the beer was served in ceramic "steins" (think half-liter mugs.) It was really fun to see our class and our teacher in an environment outside of the classroom. Lots of eating and laughing and drinking ensued and the night ended really well! We truly are a really lucky class to have had the teacher we did. All the other students in the other classes complain about boredom during their classes. I can only hope that my German course at Humboldt University will be so interesting and engaging (I am NOT holding my breath, haha.)
Friday: Took our German placement test at IES in the morning. I likened to waking up in the morning to a slap in the face. The test included 5 paragraphs, each about a different topic. The first and last sentence of the paragraph was left intact so that we could get a sense of the theme, and all of the middle paragraphs had RANDOM blanks in them. For example, it would say "das Es___" and if you knew the noun "Essen", you were golden. If not, tooooo bad. It had blanks for prepositions, verbs, adjective endings, but there was very little consistancy throughout the paragraphs in terms of where the blanks were. That was a pain in the ass. Anyway, I placed 1 point below the level B1.2 which is slightly higher than I am now. My teacher wrote a recommendation to Humbdolt to let me register for classes in B1.2 rather than B1.1 because he said my German was pretty good. w00hoooo.
After the test, Krystal and I grabbed coffee and talked for a while. It was nice to be finished with things by 11:30 am, haha. I better enjoy it while it lasts. After coffee, we met Annie and a girl from our program named Olga for some Falafels. After discussing where to go, we decided to check out the Salvador Dali museum/exhibit at Potsdamer Platz. We ended up walking the wrong way off the subway stop, getting totally lost, shopping at H&M and grabbing some Dunkin Donuts coffee before finally reaching the exhibit. It was a very big and cool exhibit with mainly lithographs and drawings with a few paintings. It was very different from the work that I saw at his museum in Spain, so I enjoyed it. He was such a straaange painter with such weird visions of the world but you can't help but stop and analyze and look at each detail within the seemingly chaotic scene. My favorite series were his illustrations of the Alice in Wonderland story and Cassanova's Memories which included drawings of various women one can only assume Cassanova slept with.
For dinner, we stopped by my host mother's cafe/deli/store and she spoiled us with fresh spreads, olive salad, prosscuito ham, olives, fresh baked bread, and tiramisu. Needless to say, the words "in heaven" and "so delicious" were uttered by my friends multiple times. We will definitely become regulars. At 11:30 pm, after recovering from our full stomachs, we went to a club called Steinhaus Berlin which plays hip hop and American music (none of that techno stuff.) It was a lot of fun. It's so funny and great to me that German guys will go to a club with their friends simply to dance. It's not a meat market at these clubs-- you do not feel self conscious or like someone is going to just come up behind you and grab you or be creepy. everyone is in their own little world-- that is a lot of fun unless you are trying to meet people. That is my goal for this trip: meet some Germans. No use in being in Germany for 4 months and only having American friends.
Today I lay in bed all day and watched tv online and cleaned my room. I am headed to Poland tomorrow!! More updates after that trip.