Sorry that it’s been a little while since my last post! I’ve been waiting to write a new one until the perfect moment when I felt I had lots of exciting new things to tell you, instead of repeating everything I’ve already said. Not to put pressure on myself or anything.
So, yesterday officially marked my having been in Berlin for one month. And Sebastien mentioned to me that Christmas Eve is three months from today. My oh my, how time flies!
I guess the first “exciting” thing I should mention about the past few weeks is that I am finally getting my official information in order for my extended stay in Germany. I am registered as living here, have a bank account (and a pretty bank card with a sparkly picture of the Brandenburger Tor!), have a visa, and am a member of a gym. The only thing I have yet to sort out from my initial “to-do list” is sign up for a German language course. However, the one I want does not begin until the end of October, and I’m not able to sign up for it for another few weeks. But it feels good that things so far have gone smoothly, especially considering that I’ve been doing it all in a foreign language. That would sound much more impressive if it weren’t for Sebastien helping me at every step of the way though, and I am very appreciative for his help!
I’m slowly getting used to being a member of a gym in a foreign language. I almost walked into the men’s changeroom on the first day, but am thankful that I eventually remembered what “Herren” means (before I actually made it through the door). I am still a bit terrified of the sauna and showers, but at least the workout equipment is all the same. At one point, a woman even asked me how to use a machine! I must look like such a pro. Our entire conversation was in German, although most of it involved showing her how I push the machine with my leg. She wasn’t blind, so I’m pretty sure that was about all she needed. And after three days, I figured out how to lock my locker! Hopefully no one noticed me creepily staring at them in the changeroom before that point, because I kept trying to catch a glimpse of how it was done.
I have become fairly well established in my weekly routine by this point. On Wednesdays after work, I go to Orchestra practice. I spend an hour painfully sawing away at my bass on my own (still not all that great at using a bow), and then join the group for a few hours more of practice. I like that time a lot better, because the other bassist plays so well that I can pretend I’m really good. I just have to make sure to not play too loudly, because then it ruins the illusion. After we’re done practice, a group of us will go out for a late dinner and a drink. Two weeks ago we went for sushi, so I had an adventure with trying to translate different fish dishes from Japanese into German into English. Then last week we went for Italian – I accidentally ordered a pizza with weird peppers on it, but I managed to artfully hide them in my napkin so that the waiter only discovered I was crazy after he had carried my plate from the table. During these adventurous meals, I love having the opportunity to speak with my bandmates in German. And after that, Sebastien’s very kind mother drives me home – during which time I get to practice even more German with her. The only problem is when I haven’t been getting enough sleep during the week, in which case my translating and thinking skills are slightly useless.
One of the Australian girls I met at the orientation introduced me to an awesome tradition for Thursday nights: mystery movie night! At Potsdamer Platz, they have a theatre that shows productions in English. Every Thursday night, people can pay 5 euros to see a sneak peek at a brand new film…the only catch being that people don’t know what they’re going to see! We went two weeks ago with my Australian and British friend, and the movie ended up being “Rush”. It’s a race car movie based on the true story about Niki Lauda and James Hunt. As it started, I groaned and rolled my eyes at Sebastien – I had absolutely no interest in seeing it. But it turned out to be a really fantastic movie. Last week we went again with a slightly larger group, and I noticed for the first time how many introductory credits there are to a movie. “Universal Pictures presents…” “A Comcast Company…” “With ‘Working Title’ Pictures…” and the list seemed to go on and on. Finally, we found out we were watching “About Time” which I had heard absolutely nothing about. But it had Rachel McAdams, and turned out to be quite good. One of the most fun things about the mystery movie nights is that I am blameless for when we watch a chick flick, and Sebastien is blameless for when we watch something with lots of actions and explosions. I shouldn’t stereotype it that way, but usually when seeing a movie with a date, there will be some compromise – but this takes all the decision making out of it. Tomorrow we will hopefully go again (as long as the reservations haven’t all filled up!) and it’s exciting to wonder what we’ll see. We also have stamp cards – once you go six times, you get a free entry!
I’ve always been a huge fan of Potsdamer Platz – basically there’s this cool looking roof over a circle of buildings, which include restaurants and theatres and museums. The roof changes colour at night too!
So what else is going on with me? Of course I’m still working, but I actually came up with so many things to write about that that I thought I better make it into a separate blog. Besides that, Friday is Sebastien’s birthday! I have known him for almost 7 years, but surprisingly enough this is our first time actually spending his birthday together. Have I mentioned we went through a bit of a long-distance thing? On Saturday, we will be attending an “Oktoberfest” going on in Berlin – both some of his friends and some of my orientation friends will be going, and I’m really excited for it all.
After this Friday, I actually have a two week break from work. So, from September 30th to October 3rd, I will be in Munich! I’m travelling with a group from my orientation there and back by bus, and we’re staying in tents. I’m not really sure of a lot of the details, because a few of my very nice friends arranged it all. I had actually been fairly sure I wouldn’t go to Oktoberfest, because no one could put a plan together, and accommodation was extremely expensive and hard to find (those people in Munich know when they’re in high demand!) So when a few people in the orientation came up with the idea to travel by bus and stay in tents, I decided to jump on board. How much more of a chance do you get to go to Oktoberfest than when you’re staying in Germany? I unfortunately will not be buying a traditional German Dirndl to wear though – they cost a minimum of 90 dollars, and since it’s fall I would imagine that would get very cold. So instead, I will be bundling up like crazy. I even bought a sweater the other day – it makes me look like Big Bird off Sesame Street, but it is very warm! Hopefully, some blogworthy experiences will occur while I’m there. I’m quite sad that Sebastien will not be able to make it to Oktoberfest with me – he has some schoolwork that needs attending to 😦 but since I still have an entire week off after that, we have been tossing around ideas of travelling somewhere else together. But we’ll see what happens!
I believe this blog is officially long enough. If you’re up for more reading, I will be posting a separate blog with a summary about how awesome work is. It may make you want to hold me down and tell me really ugly things about the world (quoting Lorelai Gilmore) based on all the sickening optimism, but perhaps you’ll enjoy it!
Thank you so much for reading!