Hello… it’s me. I was wondering if after all these [weeks] you’d like to [virtually] meet to go over everything [that I’ve done in Berlin since then]. I’ll stop there because there is a slight possibility that I am breaking several copyright laws #SorryAdele. Anyway, quick actual “study” abroad update: I have just surpassed the more-than-halfway point of my time at Humboldt University. Not only have I met a few talented, published and aspiring authors in my creative writing class that have challenged me to further develop my creative voice, but, thanks to Susann (the true MVP and my German language professor), I am no longer completely clueless of what the Berliners around me are saying (sort of..); however, to test my “refined” knowledge of the German knowledge, I decided to take a break from class this past Tuesday to get lost in Berlin (#vstudyabroad). So I hopped on the U-Bahn, and headed into Kreuzberg to make my first stop to try the “best” Döner in Berlin.
Before I begin, I would like make a disclaimer and say that I am in no way encouraging truancy, especially while studying abroad (because like, how can your study abroad experience be complete with “studying?”).
Upon arrival into Imren, the Turkish restaurant, I was greeted by the wonderful smell of the Döner meat; at that moment, I knew I had made a great first stop. Though I don’t have photographic evidence (you’ll have to believe me on this one), I successfully ordered a Döner im Brot (a Döner sandwich) in my broken German, and took a seat. The sandwich had been piled with meat, lettuce, sauce, and tomatoes, all only for 3.50 Euros. While I still do not know what Döner meat is made up of (then again no one knows what hot dogs are made up of either), I fell in love with it not only because it is cheap, but is, as the Germans say, “sehr lecker” (v yummy).
Needing to walk off my food döner baby, I meandered towards Tempelhof Feld, the largest park in a major city in the world (and an abandoned airport). Along the way, I managed to stumble into a park (not Tempelhof quite yet) that I long forgot the name of (#sorry), and saw something that caught my attention. What I learned moments later was the beauty of the unexpected that Berlin uniquely presents (take a look for yourself):
As I continued walking in the park with my eyes glued onto the Google Maps on my screen (#sotourist), I came across a miniature swamp right in the middle of the park. Seeing this reminded me that though Berlin astounds its visitors and inhabitants with its impressive TV Tower and fine food establishments, all of this had once been just like that swamp I stood before; I know that may sound lame, but it’s pretty cool when you really think about it. (or may that’s just to me…):
All beauty starts from somewhere.
Shortly after, I set foot into the abandoned airport. Though I visited Tempelhof before, standing by myself in the never-ending park struck absolute awe in me. Countless people spent their days happily cycling, skating, walking, and go-karting through the field and the once-used airport runaways, and at the same time, this very space had undergone an extensive history (e.g. once reconstructed by the Nazis, but then taken over by the U.S. in the Cold War); that’s another thing I absolutely loved about Berlin: you can see the history in everything.
J chilling on top of a runway sign.
After having these rather philosophical thoughts, I continued my program-long adventure of eating the best ice cream in Berlin (see: Jesus Campos’ blog post) at Fräulein Frost. Upon arrival, I was not fooled by the intimacy of the small shop; I knew this place was the real deal. The clerk courteously smiled as she listened to my broken German and handed me the icey creation that went on to be the cherry of my adventure that day. Taking a seat at a table outside of the shop, I decided to take a selfie (#fortheSnaps) with this iced beauty only to see the surrounding Germans smiling at me the entire time (#exposed).
Feeling a bit embarrassed, yet satisfied after eating the v fruity ice cream, I decided to be spontaneous and walk home. As soon as I searched up the directions for the hour-long journey back to the hotel, technology failed me and my phone died. Despite having no sense of direction, I still decided to walk back home. A few minutes later, I had no clue where I was. While I did panic at first, I became weirdly calm as I noticed everyone simply enjoying their day around me. I managed to walk further through Tempelhof, Kreuzberg, and Schöneberg after what seemed to be like an hour or so of walking. Sadly, I did give up as soon as I saw an S-Bahn station as my quick ticket back to the hotel.
When I got back and charged my phone, I noticed that I actually had been walking in the right direction (sort of). So after that long adventure, I walked away that day having maneuvered through the city as a true Berliner (again, sort of). Alright y’all, I’ll see you in a few (but actually this time)~