I’m doing a horrible job of keeping up with these updates, but life got in the way. And by life, I mean six classes, a twenty-one page paper, my internship, and traveling upon traveling upon traveling. Whew. Now that I’ve got some time to sit down and type out my thoughts, I’m reflecting on my weekend in Berlin with Destiney and Bailey. To say that planning this flight was stressful would be an understatement, because it ended up being a twelve hour trip one way. I know. Twelve hours. I remember feeling so frustrated, exhausted, and just desperately needing a friendly face and something to eat. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning, a very early beginning. 3am on Friday, March 10th, to be exact.
The most important part of this trip to me was getting to see my friends. I hadn’t seen Destiney or Bailey since December when we all left Sewanee, and I was more than ready for some time with them and to experience Berlin, the city of their study abroad adventure. I planned it all out with Destiney, and got to stay in their homestay. I was wholly grateful for the lifted burden of acquiring my own hostel or Airbnb, and their host mom was wonderful about letting me stay with them. I loved their apartment. It was bright and airy, huge, and was designed in a really different way from my own homestay in Barcelona. I loved that the cultural differences began in such a intimate way as a living accommodation. But before I got to enjoy my stay, I had to endure a 3am wake-up call, getting to the night bus stop at 3:30 to get to the airport by 4:30, all on my own. This semester has been an experience of feeling empowered as a young woman. I got myself to the airport, flew to Germany without anyone I knew, and, once on the ground, got myself to their homestay using the public trains and metro system using signs written in German. What a day!
A major added stress to this weekend trip was the airport closing in Berlin. Both airports in the city were closed because air controllers were on strike, and my flight had to land in Leipzig with chartered buses waiting to drive us to Berlin. I was starving and exhausted, and this extra 2 hours added to the length of this trip was not fun. However, I learned to be patient in situations that we just can’t control, and I was extra-thankful that I chose the red eye flight since all other flights to and from Berlin were canceled. I would have been devastated if I hadn’t been able to see my friends after such a long time apart. Even though it was unexpected and I was barely able to keep going on such minimal sleep, I absolutely loved this weekend trip and I wouldn’t take it back for anything.
Once I got to Bailey and Destiney’s homestay, I was just so thankful for a friendly face, a hug, a mug of coffee (which turned into two…), and food delivery. While Destiney was at her field trip, Bailey and I had lunch, caught up on each other’s lives and sorority talk, and then I got some well-needed rest. Friday night involved a cute little bar, and some new friends from their program. I was too exhausted to drink anything, but I enjoyed the ambiance and some great conversation. One thing I absolutely love about studying abroad with programs independent of my university is meeting new people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Getting to meet people through their program was even more of a privilege, and I’ll have those memories for the rest of my life.
Saturday morning, or more like afternoon since we didn’t get back until 4am from the night before, was nice and lazy and perfect. We woke up, had some brunch, took our time getting ready, and headed out for a day of sightseeing. Berlin is so beautiful and so different from Barcelona, and I wanted to soak it all in. I got to see the East Side Gallery–an icon of ugly history transformed to breathtaking art. I felt like we were stopping in our tracks every few steps to see yet another stunning mural.
Needless to say, that day was one of my favorites throughout my time in Europe. After our sightseeing and photoshoot, we had dinner at a vegan restaurant, where I got a bacon cheeseburger (!) and I swear the cola I got with it was the most refreshing drink I’ve had. Exhausted, we trekked back to the apartment and just chatted before bed. It’s a special memory we’ll have from when we were young and in Europe. I’ll cherish it forever.