Freut mich!

Aside

On Wednesday night I was sick for the first time since coming here. That was my first instance of homesickness or rather, asking myself why I did this to myself. I assume it was the late night power cappuccino that made me sick and I ended up puking 3 times in succession. It was not fun as I was induced with chills and felt like I was going to pass out. I rarely find myself in situations where I vomit but there I was. I felt really sick and really alone.

Yesterday I was worried about meeting up with my classmates since my stomach was still a little bit tender from the night before.  We met at a famous bar called Paris Bar. There were some x-rated photographs and quotes which was very.. interesting. It was quite expensive as well. My classmates seem pretty nice so far and most of them are not really party people so I felt a bit relieved. It’ll be easier for me to fit in! As I thought, everyone there that day was younger than me however, there is apparently a 62 year old man who will be taking the course with us as well which is pretty cool. I’m starting to become more excited about starting class.

One of my classmates lives really far and was looking for a place that is closer so I may have a new roommate! I’ll be glad because it’s way too quiet by myself. I really miss having a cat around. I am actually EXTREMELY tempted to get a cat but it’ll be a very bad idea. First of all, there will be the added cost. If I travel, I will have to pay for a sitter. It will be a huge hassle bringing the cat back with me (I refuse to abandon it). If I bring it back with me, my cats will be very pissed and I don’t think we can support 3 cats and 3 turtles. Hopefully I get a roommate soon and it’ll all be good.

Mein Haus am see

Sorry for the lack of updates! I haven’t really been doing much the past few days due to all the rainy weather and the fact that everything is closed on Sundays. I’m also trying to preserve money since I don’t have a bank account yet.

I need to get things printed so that I can get a residence form from the local registration office. This form will allow me to open a bank account, get a phone plan as well as my residence permit which I will need after 3 months. Today I discovered that my trusty USB key is not working because it’s switched to read only. I don’t know what happened but I’m trying to figure out how to fix it or else I’ll have to look for a new one.  I hope to have this resolved by tomorrow with my residence form, bank account and phone set up by the end of this week.

Last night I decided to meet up with a classmate before classes started. We decided on a bar called ‘Mein Haus am see’ and judging by the name of the person,  I figured they were female. We both did not know what each other looked like which has royally failed me once before. I managed to walk the wrong way after exiting the station but figured out my way soon after. Apparently I’m better at reading maps and directions in Germany than I am in Canada, huh. The bar did not have a sign so I stood outside what I ASSUMED was the right place and hoped for the best. The good thing was – free wifi! I managed to send off a message to the person through our moodle site and lo and behold, a guy pops out to greet me.

The bar itself is pretty cool and chill. There’s a small room for smokers (I had to go in there quite a bit as my new friend was a chain smoker. I think he finished more than 10 cigarettes while we were there) and a large room with a section of stairs covered in couches and the rest of the room covered in tables and couches. People can sit wherever they want so you’ll have several groups of people sharing couches. My new friend is a very sociable person and tends to talk to everyone around us. There were paintings and photographs all over the walls which you could buy. They also have dance music, playing all the time, random videos and projections on the wall, a bookshelf that you can go through and apparently really good espresso and food.

ImageImage

At this point I want to say that I love Berlin and it doesn’t feel like I’m in a different country. However, I don’t exactly fit in due to the party culture. I realized it after yesterday. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. My classmate said that drugs and smoking is extremely common here and most people succumb to the temptation eventually and says that he gives me about three months before I get into it as well. I definitely do not believe so. One thing I’m proud of is my willingness to stick with my guts even if that causes me to stand out in a bad way. I refuse to compromise my values and if that makes me a loner, so be it. Now I need to work on my confidence in myself and my choices as well as working on being a more outgoing person. It’s also going to be interesting because I’m pretty much the oldest person in the program. I hope we all get along well! I also hope there will be some nerdy people in my class too 🙂

Today I was not very productive but I made plans with another friend to try a free pilates class next Tuesday! I’ll be meeting with more classmates on Thursday 😀 Also checked out the third supermarket near me. My tummy is a happy tummy!

Langsamer, bitte!

Hey y’all, I’m finally in Berlin. Well, I’ve been here since yesterday but oh wells. I promise to do a post with pictures of my living space tomorrow since everything is apparently closed on Sunday. I find it kind of weird because I usually do my grocery shopping on a Sunday because that’s when I’m usually free. I’ll be wandering around looking for the few that are open tomorrow though!

Yesterday I made it to the Instanbul airport without incident which was great after all the things that went wrong during the previous days. The airport was large and extremely crowded with a severe lack of sitting space. Many people were sitting on the floor and all the cafes were jam packed. I had quite a bit of time to kill since my gate information was not released yet due to it being too early. I managed to snag a table full of garbage at Starbucks and spent some time there. Eventually an old British couple joined me at my table.

I tried Turkish coffee for the first time at a random small cafe near my gate and I did not enjoy it. It was really bizarre and just not my thing.

Image

My second plane ride went without incident either. Well actually, when we landed, the cupboard where my carry on was got jammed so I couldn’t get my suitcase and the man next to me was super nice and pulled it out for me through another door. Also interestingly, there was no separate area for customs. As soon as we stepped off the plane we had to show our passports and state our purpose. Also there’s a huge island outside the airport (the airport is pretty small to be honest..) where people wait for taxis. There were two super long lines and took me about half an hour to get a taxi for myself. Also it started raining. By the time I reached my hostel, it started pouring we had to run for it to my room. The room was pretty nice, I had my own little hall since there wasn’t many people renting I guess. I got a whole room to myself which had 4 tiny beds, a desk with a computer/tv and a big closet with cooking utensils. I also managed to get a washroom all to myself 😀

I woke up this morning and went to meet with the guy from the company that I rented my apartment from. He told me to leave my luggage downstairs (I left my third one locked up at the hostel) and insisted that the security is very safe in the building. I was winded after climbing 5 floors and it was a bit awkward and showed how out of shape I was. Maybe I’ll be in shape after my stay here haha. I signed the paper, paid my first rent and apparently had to pay a deposit as well which set me back a lot :S.. Good thing I pulled out extra money or that would have been very awkward. He left, I went down to grab my first luggage. I dragged them both up the stairs. It was slow and tedious and I was dying. I managed to leave my keys, purse AND my hostel keys in the room and did not realize that doors in Berlin lock by themselves. I try to force my way back in which did not work. I sat on the steps for awhile wondering what to do and mentally kicking myself.

I then took a chance and went back to the hostel, luckily I remembered the passcode. I ring the office doorbell but no one answers and I hear shower sounds. I wait about 15 minutes and eventually I manage to get his attention and manage to explain my situation. I was trying to ask if I could get on the internet to find the number for the apartment company but he said he knows how to open those doors. He grabs a plastic bottle, rips it apart and we go to the apartment. He rings everyone’s bell but no one answers so he tries to break in the FRONT door with the bottle and a guy comes by and stares at us suspiciously, he ends up opening the door for us but still watches us. So the hostel manager tries to open my door but it doesn’t work. He tells me to stay with my luggages as I apparently should NOT trust any neighbors and he goes to hunt down a door unlocking company which will apparently set me back 50 euros. I suggested calling the apartment company again but he said he’ll get it worked out. I wait a VERY long time and he comes back saying that because it is a weekend it will cost 90 euros. He then pulls out his old passport and starts attempting to break into my apartment again. Finally after many many tries and injuring his back and his hand (it was bleeding), he succeeds and huzzah (I’m not naming him or his hostel in case he gets in trouble).

I ended up too tired and mentally exhausted to go eat even though I was starving by that point and fell asleep waiting to meet my new friend Nora. We finally met up and wandered out in search of food. We found a decent priced place but was pestered by a wasp who seemed really attracted to us. Later we wandered around, saw a lot of cool graffiti and then headed to the TV Tower. We managed to a hit a bunch of major spots and had some awesome moccacinos.

ImageImage

 

2013-09-21 17.56.28 2013-09-21 18.54.02 2013-09-21 18.45.24 2013-09-21 18.16.26 2013-09-21 18.09.38

I will try to cut down on the length of my posts I promise!

It seems I have run into more problems. I should have paid attention more to the documents I needed for my residence permit and the price of it. This will set me back more money because I have to renew BOTH my health insurance AND residence permit after a year. I may or may not have to beg them to let me switch to the one year program so that I can save some money. Also the surprise extra deposit this morning took away my spending money that I took out for buying necessary things for my day to day life. It’s totally my fault though. I should have calculated the costs better and planned extra in case of problems like these.

Muskoka Trip

Aside

Last week, I went on a trip to Muskoka (2.5 hours north of Toronto) with my boyfriend for a few days since we won’t be able to take any trips together for a long time. Long distance for such a long period of time is going to be hard. We stayed at Northridge Inn and Resorts using a groupon that we bought a month ago. The Inn inside was lovely and located on the edge of a beach. There were a bunch of complimentary activities at the Inn including: kayaking, canoeing, free movie rentals (very up-to-date movies might I had), hot tub (which was right outside our door), swimming pool, sauna, bonfire, and our own fireplace in the room. Also, as part of our groupon package, we got a basket of breakfast delivered to our room every morning. The breakfast itself was nothing special but I can’t complain. The only major complaint was that whenever we turned on the A/C it would sound like a giant truck was rumbling through the room. The staff were absolutely lovely and very kind and helpful. They even refused to take our tip at the end! I’ll definitely plan future excursions here!

Here is our room. I found it weird that we had two double beds but we ended up using the second one as storage so that’s alright.
Image

The view outside the Inn

Image

This was our view when we went hiking in another town! It’s so beautiful!

Image

We also went horseback riding but I didn’t bring my camera for that since it would have been awkward. Anyways, 6 days til my big move!

Joe Hisaishi in Budokan – Studio Ghibli 25 Years Concert

Video

Most people grew up watching Disney and for them, it never loses the magic whereas for me, I grew up watching Ghibli films and I feel the same way about them. I wanted to post this because it is a reminder of my childhood and also shows the timelessness of beautiful storytelling. I still find myself tearing up in certain songs because of how heart wrenching the music is but also, I remember the scenes connected with the songs.