Ich bin Berlinerin

I’m pretty pleased so far with my time here in Berlin, which is already half over! We have German classes from about 9 till 2:30 every day, which gives us the rest of the day to do whatever we want. Every Monday they have Stammtisch here, and tons of people from the school come and just talk. It’s a really good way to meet people. We’re slowly getting to see the city. We went up a huuuge tower to see the entire city, and we went to the “Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe in WWII.” It’s pretty incredible- there are hundreds of plain stone rectangles set up in columns and rows. The columns are all different heights, and when you start to walk in between them, you realize that the ground is uneven, and goes down in the middle, so even though the columns in the middle look about 4 feet high from the outside, when you get there, you realize they’re 10 feet tall. It’s pretty disorienting. Underneath the memorial is a museum for the same purpose, which was really sobering, but very well done.We saw the East Side Gallery, which is the largest remaining portion of the Berlin Wall. In the 90s they invited artists from all over the world to paint murals on it, and people can walk along and see them all. We also saw a couple art museums. The Gamaelda Gallery features European art from the 1400s to 1800s, and yesterday we went to a museum that had art items that people use. There was a whole room with different little living room setups with crazy furniture from the 1950s through the 1990s, as well as the normal china plates and massive tapestries from way back when.Every Thursday evening all the state museums are free, so we take advantage of that too.We’ve also been going out on the weekends. The clubs don’t really open until 11 or midnight, and then lots of them stay open until 10 am or so. We haven’t made it that long, but last night we were out until about 5. The extensive public transportation system makes it really easy to get home no matter what time it is.The other thing I love about being here is the fact that everyone we hang out with is from all over the world. The people Miriam and I have spent the most time with are guys from Israel, Sweden and the Netherlands, as well as girls from Spain, Italy and France. The majority of people seem to come from Sweden, Switzerland, Norway and Spain, but there are some others from everywhere.