European Choir Tour!

So right now I am sitting in the lobby of a Leipzig youth hostel. That’s right, folks…I’m also on choir tour! It has been wonderful so far! We have been in Berlin the past few days, and we just arrived in Leipzig today and gave a concert tonight–our fourth one in the week and a half we’ve been in Europe. I haven’t had much of an opportunity to see Leipzig yet–we’ll get a tour tomorrow–so I’ll focus mainly on Berlin.First of all, I’m going to go ahead and agree with Clint and say I LOVED being in Berlin. I have actually been there before–my family took a vacation there for a few days when I was in high school–and I enjoyed it then, too, but I really came to love it this time around. There is so much history, plus so many options for entertainment. It was nice to have both–I could spend the day visiting museums and famous sites by day, then go to a club or see a show at night. On Sunday night a bunch of us went to the Komische Oper Berlin to see the opera “Rigoletto.” The show was very well done, and the opera house was beautiful. I would have liked to have the opportunity to see more shows in Berlin, but I guess I’ll have to do that next time I’m there (and yes, there WILL be a “next time”!).It’s also been nice to practice my German a little bit. I took a year of German last year, plus I audited it (i.e., took for no credit) last semester and will be studying abroad in Wuppertal, Germany, next semester. In Poland, I knew nothing about Polish, and even when I tried to learn Polish words, I usually ended up saying them wrong (apparently Polish is the 5th hardest language to learn, so I don’t feel TOO bad!). But here, I find that I can translate most of what I see written on the outside of buildings and on billboards, and even if I don’t know a word, I can usually figure out what it might mean. More people speak English here than they did in Poland, which is nice in some ways, but it can also be frustrating. I will try speaking to a German in his or her language, but it’s too often that as soon as the person figures out I’m American, he or she immediately switches to English. This isn’t always a bad thing, because I am far from being fluent at this point and don’t always know how to communicate everything in German. However, I’m also afraid that my German will never improve if I am not forced to use it without having English to fall back on. I guess all I can do is keep trying!One thing we did today on our way from Berlin to Leipzig was stop in Wittemburg, the city where Martin Luther nailed the theses to the church door. It was an amazing experience to walk into the church where such an important piece of history took place. My family is Lutheran, so Martin Luther definitely holds a special significance in our church. We also sang a few songs as a choir in the church. A nice German woman happened to be there when we sang, and she offered to show us around the town, which was also very helpful.There is so much more I could write, but my time limit on this computer is coming close! I’m hoping to get pictures up eventually, but it may not be until we get back at the end of January. Till next time…tschuß!