Settling in and my Sitzsak

11:22 am: on the train from Berlin to Cologne (Köln) for my Fulbright Orientation. I love the feeling of sitting on a backwards facing seat on a moving vehicle. Sometimes, I feel the most at home when I am moving.

 

Learning a second language as a young adult is fascinating. It works so much for me and so much against me to be hyper aware of the progress I am making...and of all of the things I am lacking. Especially the things I am lacking. Every day I am getting more comfortable speaking and understanding many, many new voices. I have SO much studying to do in ways of expanding my vocabulary and making sure I am not making so many dumb pronunciation and grammar mistakes. But, I do have a few small victories to report:

 

  1. Completing a verbal survey by a concert usher in German at the Berliner Festspiele.
  2. Recognizing accents of people from Cologne on the train! 

 

The past week has been about relaxing and settling in before my assistantship officially starts next week. I have been taking advantage of my Monatskarte, which allows me unlimited train travel around the city and surrounding areas. I visited Berlin Wansee with a dear friend, tried out playing in a community orchestra in Charlottenburg, saw some great concerts, and went to a number of government offices to try and figure out my residence permit and registration (more on that later!, UGH). 

 

 Program from my favorite concert thus far...Wolfgang Rihm was there in the audience, too! 

Program from my favorite concert thus far...Wolfgang Rihm was there in the audience, too! 

In an effort to furnish my bare-bones Zimmer (room), I claimed a SITZSAK on free your stuff Berlin, which is an awesome facebook page where people from all over the city post about things they either need or have to give away. I myself was not sure what a SITZSAK was going to be. Turns out it is a giant bean bag meets dog bed…for a bear. Anyways, after about an hour of convincing, Luc agreed to come with me to pick it up. Though reluctant at first, I can assure you that we had a great (read: unforgettable) time lugging this thing with us on a 35 minute journey that included walking, stairs, the U Bahn, and the Strassenbahn. :-) Guess I will be taking out the trash for the next few weeks...