Berlin! Come Back to Me: Seven Things I Miss About Meine Lieblingsstadt

Hey everybody! I know I stopped posting when I left Berlin, but today I want to try something new. A friend, someone I studied with in Berlin, approached me with the idea to write a “Things I Miss About Berlin” post. And I thought “Ohmygod that’s genius.” 
True story.

So, without further ado, here’s what I found to be an awesome and hilarious blog post by my friend Mirko Luke Kruse.

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Berlin! Come Back to Me: Seven Things I Miss About Meine Lieblingsstadt  

1)   The Bahn.  I took a flight from Berlin direct to Boston and when I hopped on the T, Boston’s subway system, I was already missing Berlin.  If you’ve ever ridden on the T then you probably know that ‘hopped on’ is actually never a verb associated with it.  You usually have a painfully long wait before another two-car subway comes screeching leisurely down the tracks.  Nine stops, forty five minutes, and two homeless men later, I had arrived back home.  This is a far cry from the humming efficiency and cleanliness of Berlin’s public transportation system.  It gets you anywhere you need to go, and it gets you there fast. 

2)   The Parks.  Granted I studied abroad over one of Berlin’s longest and coldest winters recorded, but in the finals weeks I still got a taste of how enjoyable the public parks and gardens could be.  Aesthetically the parks themselves couldn’t hold a candle to others, like say, Paris’ parks; but that’s not why I miss them.  Take Gorlitzer Park located in Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood for example.  It’s very Berlin—a mash of cement seating areas and steps amongst a fair, but not thick, stand of grass laden with cigarette butts.  However, I’m certain as a center of intrigue, Gorlitzer Park goes unmatched.  The locals scour the terrain, playing music of every kind, barbecuing, throwing Frisbees, picnicking, chatting, drinking and doing it all in that authentic, carefree, stylish way that only Berliners can do.  If you enjoy people watching, I can imagine no better place in the world. 

3)   Open Containers…  And why won’t I ever enjoy a park as much as I enjoyed those in Berlin? Open container laws.  Oh how nice it is to sprawl on the grass with friends, music and a cold, sixty-cent beer you just picked up from a kiosk down the street. 

4)    … And Open Airs.  Once the weather starts warming up in the spring, Berlin puts on free public concerts in the parks: open airs.  They are really just a mass of dancing, drinking Berliners surrounding a DJ booming his track into the dense of the night.  A club without the club. 

5)    German, and Germans.  I think you’ll find a lot of people who have the perception that the German language is harsh and unpleasant.  I believe quite the opposite is true; German can be fascinating to turn an ear toward.  I’m not sure what my love for German is founded on but I suspect it’s the German people themselves.  The way the Germans carry themselves, interact and function is entirely different from Americans.  Each one I imagine has a brain-chest of interesting ideas and stories if only you could break through their shell.  And you can’t, which makes them mysterious and all the more fascinating. 

6)    Late Nights, and Laaaate Nights.  If you end your weekend night at four in the morning here, you say to yourself, “Wow, what a late night.” And it is.  If you end your night at four in the morning in Berlin your friends might tell you, “Why are you going back so early?” Eight in the morning was the new four in Berlin.  And others had impossibly late nights that lasted into Sunday afternoon.  Berlin redefined the word nightlife for me, and nowhere in the States even comes close. 

7)    The Subtleties.  This was probably the one time in my life when I was not traveling, not visiting, but I was living in a different country.   And there were so many things everyday that brought me back to this fact—clocks attuned to military time, Mercedes taxi cabs, little or no tipping at restaurants, strict adherence to cross-walking signs, mayonnaise on french fries, getting a haircut and them leaving more hair on the top than you wanted (German style), supermarket cashiers who sit in a chair, different cereals, different currency, different toilets—all of the differences, good or bad, that reminded me everyday that I was in a new, exciting place and made me glad to be a part of it all. 

Mirko Luke Kruse is a senior at Boston College studying economics.  This summer he is interning for a legal consulting firm in Beacon Hill.  

A couple photos of the Farwell Party adventures. 



FU-Best Final Dinner:
Everyone signed my Berlin flag, we all said our main goodbyes…GÜNTHER LET US SIT ON AND REV HIS NEW MOTORCYCLE!!!  

Günther, of course, being the kiosk man down the street from our school, and my favorite German. 

(I will get the pictures from Matt eventually, don’t you worry.)

Oh, and FU-Best had us all write little German “schriebjournal” pages about our time here, and made a little yearbook for us all :) I’m so excited to read it, it’ll probably be the majority of my plane activity. 



CIEE Final Dinner:
At a self-proclaimed “Gipsy Ballhaus Restaurant.” Appetizers? A block of some phenomenal french cheese with dried strawberries and figs and some something-something sauce. Main course? A giant mozzarella pizza. Dessert? A chocolate fuirty cake thing. And “one round of drinks”….riiiiight, Ben. 

Our program coordinators Ben and Maren gave speeches and gave us some
Ampelmann pins to remind us to “always say yes, keep going,” etc etc.  So cute. I’m planning on hooking it onto the cover of the journal I’ve been keeping since I got here. 

And then on our way out we boogied to Michel Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and Kid Rock’s “All Summer Long” haha.
Best place ever

FU-Best Farewell Party:
Just last night, actualy — lots of silly dancing, Katy and I kicked Matt and Rachel’s butts at Foosball, we invented the “bindi koont” game (not a clue how to spell it), and said lots of goodbyes.
And then we all harrassed Phi while he was finished packing and trying to go to bed because we didn’t want him to leave. 



And now…here I am, in Starbucks, getting the last of my Berlin internet haha. 
It still hasn’t really sunk in that I’m leaving, and I honestly can’t tell if it will. Probably because I’m still traveling around after, but damn…this is so weird. Again.



Final thoughts on the program?
I loved Berlin. For those of you thinking of coming here, seriously do. It’s the single most unique city I’ve ever been to, and I like to think I get around quite a lot haha (Sorry New York friends, don’t hate me).  


I wish I had gotten my tattoo already to show you because it fits into this theme so well,  but Berlin is very much as Mr. Karl Scheffler said: “eine Stadt, verdammt dazu, ewig zu werden, niemals zu sein.” Translated: condemned forever to becoming and never to being.


It’s so…random, so spaced-out, so condensed. Always under construction, always with secret pockets of awesome popping up in places you swear you’ve been a thousand times and know like the back of your hand (cough cough, Hackescher Markt). It’s the running into buffalo on your morning run (in the middle of the city, WHAT), the cars suspended in midair at Mount Mitte for everyone to climb, the combination of East and West and North and Bavaria and the constant conflation between old and new, the clear confusion of city planners over the years who tried to finally set Berlin on a grid, to organize it…the failure of which is evident in the various “mittes” the multiplicity of “main streets” that all go in completely opposing and diagonal directions. It’s my favorite thing. 

And that’s why my tattoo design has all the cranes I see every day, the Heizkraftwerke towers I pass by on the way to my house every evening,  the Berliner Dom, the Fernsehturm that you can see from freaking anywhere…it’s the crazy, ridiculous, un-pin-pointable Berlin I’ve come to know these four months. And while I am psyched to be going onto Denmark and Italy (Uffizi, here I come!), and then finally home to obsess over my dog (and family, of course *clears throat*)…I will really miss this place. 



So,
Tschüß, mein Berlin.

Mit Große Liebe, 

Stef 

Views from the top of the Fernsehturm
The elevators rise 6m/second.
And the dutch boys next to me would not stop complaining about their ears popping.
I mean…at least, I think that’s what they were saying — Dutch is like, bubbly German. So confusing.. 

THE BIRD
 
So Ilana’s mom took us to this burger house and I ordered “Da Birdhouse” off of an incredibly sassy menu.
It was delicious. And yes, I finished the whole thing :D So proud. 

Hanging out with Ilana and her mom (Helga). They’re just the best :)

Classic Berlin.
I will miss this place. 

Mauerpark Sundays :)
I never did find those sunglasses… 

Mauerpark Sundays with Kevin :)

Brücke Museum Kunst

Brücke Museum!
(Expressionist museum in the middle of a forest) 

The Philharmonie Concert Hall! 
 
(I know the pictures are a little redundant, but HOW COOL is it that it’s a CIRCULAR seating arrangement, so close to the stage, right!? Hard to convey with such a narrow lens, let me tell you.)

Beach Day

This last Thursday was lovely :) 
I finished my German final (wooo, first one down!), and then Ilana and I headed home to change clothes before heading out to meet everyone at Nikolassee!  Aka the secret beach in the corner of Berlin haha. 

I bought some strawberries at the market (2 Euro for 2 boxes, winnnn!) and just chilled, got all sandy and whatnot. I definitely dropped the last bite of my bochwurst in the sand, such a tragedy. So much senf…lost…

And theeen, Sharon came over! Sharon, as in, my friend from Clark! We chilled, she brought me StroopWafels..and then we went to Camilla and Mikaela’s surprise birthday party! Both 21 ;) We had some strawberry cake (no plates or forks — the apartments were a bit understocked, so we just shared one of those massive soup spoons haha).
And then we all went out toward Warschauer Straße (I don’t think I’ve ever gone out there besides to transfer to the U-Bahn) and ended up at this place called the Shack? It was a very hole in the wall, adorable bar. Very cute. And after, to this club called Renata.

Since the trains didn’t start again til 4, we wandered around the city after a couple hours in search of Döner (it was a success, by the way). And then made our way home. 
Such a solid night :) 

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柏林的日落 Sunset in Berlin by Jimmy LWH on Flickr.
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Berlin at night; you can still see the east/west division in the color of the lightbulbs.

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Berlin at night; you can still see the east/west division in the color of the lightbulbs.

My brothers! 
Phil, Phil and Olivia (his sweetheart girlfriend), and T