Berlin is tied with Rome for my favorite city I have ever been to, the thing about comparing them is that they offer such different things it's almost impossible to say which is better. They're both historical sites for different periods so because I'm a geek and I'm a little bit more interested in WW2 and the Cold war type stuff I think I like Berlin a bit better then Rome because I'm not as interested in the Romans and the formation of the catholic church.
When I got into Berlin I went immediately to the embassy (which is really, really nice) and I got most of what I wanted to get done accomplished. I didn't fully apply for the visa because the ambassador of Canada to Germany is away right now, but I should be getting an email either today or tomorrow letting me know the situation about my application and what they feel is the best route for me to go. Either way my options both seemed quite promising and I just can't wait to know exactly what is going on with me so that hopefully soon I can hopefully no longer be an illegal alien!!
After the embassy I went to the hostel because I didn't make a reservation before I got there I just went and I needed to make sure they had a bed available, which they did. But I kind of wish I stayed somewhere else. The hostel itself wasn't really that bad, except for the communal showers, a little awkward and I'm so happy I remembered a bathing suit, and it was very very cold but the blankets they gave were really warm and I saw mine come out of the drier so I know they were clean. It was the people who were staying in the hostel that made it so weird, hostels are usually a mixed bag of people and some of them you click with and can hang out with, but at this hostel I felt like I was in some sort of movie, everyone was strange. I was sitting on my bed on my computer and a guy asked me if we could make dinner together. This isn't uncommon for hostels especially if your only staying a night, cooking is cheaper then eating out, and sharing the cost with someone is also cheaper if your traveling alone and you want to cook because all the food gets used up and you don't have to throw it out or pack it around. I said yes because I was getting hungry and felt like that might be a good idea because it's cheap and easy, so we went to the convenience store down the street and got some spaghetti and stuff to make and we got back to the hostel and started cooking. He told me his whoooooooolee life story, rambled and rambled and rambled.. I seriously thought I was being punkd or something because he literally did not shut up, or let me add to the conversation at all. It was okay because at least there were no awkward silences but I was just like oh my god who is this guy and sometimes I had no idea what the hell he was talking about. So that's the first strange character I came across.
After dinner I had a little nap and I got woken up because my phone was vibrating so I checked my phone and had a couple messages from Graham and one from his team mate Jonas (Graham gave Jonas my number) so I was a bit surprised that I had a text from Jonas, it wasn't weird, I was just surprised. Then I called Graham and we talked for like 15 minutes about stuff but I was still laying down in my bed and I wasn't really paying attention to what was around me. After we got off the phone I got down from the bunk bed and that's when I realized that I was with the strangest group of people ever. Two lesbians were cuddling on the bed below me. I like gay people, and I'm fine with their sexual preference because as my mum always told me "everyone needs someone to love" and I truly believe that but come on, your in a hostel with other people I think it's kind of inappropriate, not to mention they were both bigger girls and hardly fit on the single bed so that also added to the awkward. (I know they were gay because they had the rainbow flags on their bags). So whatever, that's not a huge deal. Then there was this punk guy with so many piercings on his face you could hardly see skin, obviously I'm exaggerating a bit but it was far too much, and he had his eyebrows tattooed on him and was wearing makeup, so another odd ball but whatever it's just his style, maybe he thinks I'm crazy for how I dress? Who am I to judge. Then two of his friends came in and they were German but they had piercings too all over their faces, not to the extreme like the first one but still a little over board, and they all had the anarchy symbol, and that weird witchcraft symbol thing patched on their bags. Who am I to judge them though, their life, but I was still a little weirded out. Later this other guy came into the room and he was so skinny and awkward looking and he looked a little bit exhausted (or drugged out maybe) and he had the worst attitude, so arrogant, like he was gods gift to the earth and he had a little bit of a clash with the punk witchcraft kids because they were hanging their towels to dry on the steps of the ladder up to his bed, I was scared that the witchcraft kids were going to start speaking in tongues and put curses on all of us for a minute. It was pretty tense in the room from then on but I just kept to my little white girl self and stayed the hell out of that area of the room. The next morning I was the first one to wake up and have a shower and I made sure I was so quiet and made sure I didn't make any noise and interrupt anyone's sleep, mainly for the fear of being cursed or something.
I went out that day and did some touristy things around Berlin. I started off by going to the Berlin wall because it was pretty close to the hostel I was staying at. I wrote my name on it, and walked all 2.6km of what remained of it. I don't really think a lot of the tourists that go visit the wall really understand what exactly it was and how horrible of a situation it really created for the west Berliner's who were trapped behind it. There was one painting on the wall that had years written on it which represented years in which people were shot and killed when they tried to flea over the wall, and roses were stamped on it for how many people died this way during that year. One girl was looking on it, and she was like "I don't understand this it's stupid" and I seriously just wanted to smack her and tell her, not only to read what was actually written on this piece, but maybe to do a little research on what she was visiting and understand that it's a serious thing, the wall wasn't built in hopes that one day it would attract people as tourists. But after that I walked down to treptower park and saw the huge sculptures that are built on the river, which really weren't too exciting, but they're huge. After that I went to the Reichstag and saw the Brandenburg Gate, then I went to the holocaust museum and memorial site. I'm nervous to visit a concentration camp because in the holocaust museum I was so close to crying it was unbelievable, I'm going to be a mess at the real camp. In one room they read out the names of every known victim of the holocaust that was executed or believed to have died in a concentration camp, or people who died after liberation from a camp because of disease. It takes approximately 6 years, 7 months and 27 days to get through every known victim, and not surprisingly the Nazi's stopped keeping accurate records of who came into the camps and who was executed when they started realizing that they wouldn't win the war, so it's hard to say how many more months or years it could take if they knew every single persons name. It's truly heartbreaking. After that I walked to the parking lot where Hitler's bunker site is and it's nothing, it's a parking lot. There happened to be a group of english speaking highschool aged kids who were on a guided tour and the tour operator was asked why they haven't fixed what was damaged by the USSR and make it a tourist site, and he simply replied that the German government is still very much embarrassed of what Hitler did and they wouldn't want to glorify it and have people think they were profiting from something so horrible, which I agree with. Even though I went to see the site where it used to be I don't think that if you could tour the actual bunker that a lot of people would go there understanding the gravity of what they're visiting, I think some people would see it as a joke in a way. Even though I would love to see the inside of it I think the sign that says what is buried underneath the parking lot is enough, maybe even too much.
After that I went to Checkpoint Charlie, which isn't really much, I don't know what I expected but I guess it wasn't exactly what I saw. After that I just sat in starbucks and used free wifi for a while because I had to get the train kind of soon and I was a little tired from walking around all day with my big backpack. When I got to the train station my mum called me and we had a nice little chat and caught up a little bit. Then I got on the train and started my journey back to Erfurt. I sat in first class again and the stewardess let me stay there, again. It's so nice when things like that happen. I just fell asleep and slept pretty much the whole way home.
The last couple days since I have been back haven't been so eventful. I went downtown one day and went shopping and bought 4 pairs of shoes. It sounds like I spent a lot of money but I really didn't. 3 pairs of then were 3 euros each and then the fourth pair is a pair of boots from Zara that were a little more then 3euro, but still not really all that much, and I had to buy new shoes because all I have here right now is summer clothes and I'm so sick of being so cold all the time! The boys typically have two training sessions a day so I'm home alone quite a bit and have a lot of time to kill so yesterday I baked a popcorn cake, and I wasn't so sure that it looked good at all and I was a little self conscious for the boys to see it and be like "what the hell is this?' but when they got home from the second training I was in the room and Srdj came into the room and was like "Kendahl did you make this?" and I was like "yeah" and he was like "this looks so bleeping good" (I'll let you guess what exactly he said because obviously he did not say bleeping, but I have family that reads this so I'll keep the potty mouth up to your imagination). Yesterday while the boys were at their morning training I went grocery shopping and bought some food and made chicken stir fry for them for lunch. To be honest, I didn't really think it was good, the rice was kind of hard and I was a little bit embarrassed of it kind of because I didn't want the boys to think I was a bad cook but Graham told me that Srdj wanted the recipe which made me feel good about it haha, and later srdj said to me "it was so bleeping good" made me pretty happy. These boys better miss me when I leave! I've also come to the conclusion over the last couple days that I'm going to be a goddamn good wife one day. While the boys were at their afternoon training session I just kind of napped and didn't really do too much, I cleaned up the mess I made from lunch and had a nice little skype session with Amy, and then one of the boys from Grahams team, Jonas, lives downstairs and he came up to say goodbye to me because he was leaving to go home for the weekend.
Staying here hasn't been too eventful, but I don't mind that at all, it's so nice to relax and just hang out, the boys are all really nice to me so I don't feel awkward being around here at all, and I'm really trying to make sure I'm being a good house guest, cleaning up after myself and little things like that. It's easy, I've already been here a week, it's gone by pretty quickly already! Graham has the weekend off and so tonight were going out to a club, then tomorrow were going to watch another football game of the pro team he's signed too, they're playing their biggest rivals and I saw some youtube video's and I'm excited/nervous because it gets pretty rowdy! Then Sunday I think were going to visit a concentration camp!
I'm really excited to get to Venice though. I've been trying not to concentrate on that because I'm nervous about starting a new job in a completely different setting but I have been emailing back and forth with one of the girls I work with and it seems pretty nice and relaxed, I just really hope I fit in well with everyone!
I'm going to attach pictures to this entry of my name on the Berlin wall and a couple other pictures from Berlin, and a youtube video of the football game between the two teams I'm going to watch tomorrow so everyone can see how rowdy it is, but I've never attached anything to my entries before so I hope it works, and please comment and let me know if it doesn't work!!
In the video, the Red is Rott Weiss Erfurt, who I'm cheering for, and the blue is Carl Zeiss Jena the other team.
love and miss everyone!!