So...I survived my first weekend here. Friday started off good, with a health and safety lecture (full of "don't do this" and "avoid these people" and "make sure you never do this"es) and ice-breaker games (much lets-put-people-and-their-German-skills-on-the-spot! action during those.) It was fun in a corny cheesy way having everyone together. I also received my neues Handy ("new cell phone") and SIM card so now I am reachable in Deutschland!
Friday night I (and I thought everyone else...) was pumped to go out, so Clara (from LA, goes to USC, very cool girl), Josh (Goes to Colby, quiet, long distance runner) and James (goes to Grinell, super out-going) went to dinner. We tried African food. The Dju Dju fruit beers were really tasty (I had passion fruit) but I am pretty sure peanuts were involved in some part of the food process, so I ate very little and left with an itchy mouth. So that should have been my first red flag. The night continued with the four of us rushing to a hookah bar that apparently no one came to meet us at, and no one wanted to smoke at. (The crowd was very gelled, plucked and tanned. and I don't mean the girls.) A few other people from our program met us, and we returned to EXACTLY the same stop that that African restaurant was. Steadily throughout the night, morale shrank and then shrank some more. After wandering to a few bars, aquiring 3 friendly french men of questionable age to our group, and most likely disturbing the peace, I headed back to my apartment. I heard the next morning that the hard core members of our dinner group had continued to a club called "Weekend" until around 4am.
Saturday was my first opportunity since arriving here to sleep in! w00t! I slept in...until 11am. I met up with Dan and Krystal and attempted to go to a museum. Because of the freezing rain and our large appetites, a long lunch took priority. (Another first-- salad in Germany! Apparently... not so common.) When we finally made it to Museuminsel (museum island), the Altes Museum's Egyptian wing/gallery was closed for remodeling (until late March) and the line for the Neues Museum was super long. We stumbled upon a street fair and stopped briefly to watch some 15 old men (plus one token woman and one token young guy) play these crazy wind instruments that looked like HUGE tobacco pipes. The bottom of each pipe/flute/wind instrument stood on its own little wooden stand. They were arranged by tone-- some played higher notes and some lower. I am not sure if the actual instrument differed in size, like for example a saxophone, or if the players were manipulating the thing with their mouths or breath. Anyway, I found my new life dream-- I will be joining their band, apprenticing, traveling, and my album drops next year :-)
Dan and I grabbed a cup of coffee then I returned to my apartment to relax and dry off. That night, Annie and I had a dinner date at an Italian restaurant (finally, food for cheaper than 10 euros!) and then we met the group to ride the S-Bahn (the elevated train) around the ring of the entire city. Everyone met at the Greifswalderstrasse (yes, many of the street names are that long) station with beer or drink in hand. After a nice round of the city in the dark, having only achieved the passage of time and a little more drunkenness, we arrived at Club Soda. (haha get it? I didn't. For a while.) It was only 11 and we were super early, but girls got in free and got free drink tickets (woohoo!) So after dancing to Destiny's Child and other songs that are old in the states, the place started to fill up. As my host brother had warned me, it was indeed a club for the gelled, plucked and tan (and I'm STILL not talking about the girls.) So yeah, no love interests there, but it was fun to dance with everyone from the program, and the cheeseburger stand right outside was the PERFECT way to end the night at 3 am.
Today (Sunday) was a lazy day consisting of a bus tour of Berlin, a frozen drizzle, a long lunch, and pasta with my host brother. Sorry I skimmed over that but it's time for bed. I will post more later!