Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Bike Saga

For those of you who were following it, my darling little Rad is back!!!!!
I had left it in the courtyard of my old apartment building and some twisted, bitter, horrible, mean-spirited person had put a lock on it. I was crushed when I found this out, as it was sunny and I wanted to ride my bike into town. But when I went to tape a note (Could you please remove your lock? Thank you. Friendly greetings.) to it tonight, the lock was gone! Yay!

I now have a bike to ride when my subway pass expires soon since I haven't received my new one yet... sometimes Germany can be very frustrating.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Obama! Obama!

I just watched this, remembering that I had heard about it a while ago. And, rather unexpectedly, it made me cry. In today's global political system, all we have for our presidential election is hope. There's not much more we can go on anymore. George Bush has made an absolute mess of things, and our international reputation has been tarnished as the domestic situation continues to slide downhill. Change is what we must strive for. At school, all we are taught is doom and gloom-- with plenty of theory to back it up, that is. With all this in mind, all I can do is hold on to hope.
Berlin, Berlin, Berlin, BERLIN! I am so happy to be back, but everything is closed for the longest religious weekend ever. All right, of course that is not the case, but here in Germany, religious days are a lot more noticeable than they are in North America. Not thinking, I even looked for a “Easter Weekend Hours” sign at the grocery store, quickly realizing how silly of me that was. I think we’re at a hit-or-miss point until Tuesday (most unfortunately). Thankfully, I can count on falafel joints in Turkish-berg to be open!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The US & England

I have spent the past four weeks away from Berlin! At times, I thought I wasn't going to make it. Surely a foreboding sign for my life, post-July '08 (when I must leave Berlin to finish my degree). On February 20, I went home to Pittsburgh, and three weeks later, I went to England to visit London, Birmingham, and Brighton. While I had a good time, I'd like to be honest: I don't have a ton to say. Of course, I could detail every meal I ate and sidewalk I walked, but that would get old. In terms of highlights, the trip left me a little underwhelmed. That mostly applies to England, though.

Home was familiar and odd at the same time. I would say I definitely experienced more reverse-culture shock than I experienced initial culture shock here in Berlin. I'm not trying to be dramatic. I have been in a car about 3 times since I came to Berlin (not including harrowing rides in Istanbul and Bratislava). Berlin contains very few huge chain stores, and I live too central to come in contact with the ones that do exist. I'm used to quiet, as the Germans are under-expressive in public. There is tons to do here. I live completely with friends; they are my family when I need moral support. So, there you have my first impressions of being back in the States. That said, it was wonderful to see my family, my gran, and my twin, Kat. I was able to go snowboarding twice!, and I didn't have to cook for myself at all. (quick shoutout: Mu, someone was complaining recently about how hard it is to cook a meal when you have both vegetarians and omnivores present. I said, that's funny, my mom does it really well all the time. You are SO good at it! Thanks again for keeping my belly happy.)

I was really excited when I arrived in London, so after checking in to my hostel and consulting a map, I headed off to Oxford Street, the high street to beat all others. I was happy to be walking around and soaking up London, and soon enough I came upon Topshop! Topshop is truly a mecca. It is huge, and fully of quality, fashionable things. It is also full of expensive things. After walking around the whole store and passing by the bags multiple times, I left with only a few eyeshadows. (Barry M Dazzle Dust is the best stuff ever. Ever. I love Barry.) Then I hopped on the Tube, which is ridiculously expensive like the rest of the city, and went to a stop near the Tate Modern. When I got out of the Tube, it was cold and raining, so I went back to my hostel and napped. Unfortunately, that sort of was the tone for the rest of my trip. It was the coldest weather they’d had all winter (I promise, that’s what everyone told me), and it was expensive, and I had twisted my ankle in Pittsburgh and then snowboarded on it so it hurt.

I’m sorry to be such a grump. And I feel like I should be able to be more creative, more innovative, to the point where I would never utter these words, but: I think London (and the rest of England) is more fun the more money you have. After a day and a half in London, I went to Birmingham, where I spent time with my friend Jenn. Then I was back in London for another 1.5 days, then I went to Brighton for three nights. Brighton is really, really cute. I had fish and... onion rings. I never turn down onion rings.

A Little Change

I've decided to open the range of what I put on my blog. The reason for this is I was a little tired of simply regurgitating emails I wrote to family and friends about my travels. Don't worry, I will continue to write about my trips. But I have been wanting to write a little more and to put my ideas, whether they're about global warming or my new shoes, out there. Writing is a great form of expression, and I've always thought that it's probably the best one for me.