First impressions of Erkner

11:11pm: Too many wishes. I just got back from the Eröffnungsfest der Deutsche Oper, which was a big season opening party with many free performances. For the record, the sound of a brass instrument 'petting zoo' is universal. Going to concerts in Europe is in many ways such a different experience than in America. Tonight, I especially noticed the lack of air conditioning and the way people began to hustle to find a good seat twenty minutes before the performance began. 

Earlier this week, I was able to visit Erkner, the small town on the outskirts of Berlin where I will be teaching. During my visit, I attended two staff meetings at the Carl Bechstein Gymnasium. I am very thankful that I will be experiencing life in both the big city and this small, quaint town.

 The main train station (approx. 30 minutes from Berlin)

The main train station (approx. 30 minutes from Berlin)

Some things I already love about the Carl Bechstein Gymnasium:

1) NATURAL LIGHT Upon walking around I kept wondering why I felt so happy. Then, I realized I was not in a cave of fluorescent light. 

2) STUDENT ARTWORK everywhere. The pieces are actually matted and framed throughout the halls. It gives the space a very, clean, gallery-esque feeling.

3) WELCOMING COLLEAGUES I felt at home right away. (And, I was asked 'Trump or Hillary' four times within the first hour)

 Carl Bechstein Gymnasium

Carl Bechstein Gymnasium

 A typical classroom 

A typical classroom 

 Student artwork

Student artwork

And, natürlich, my next stop after getting oriented at the Gymnasium was to find a coffee shop nearby. 

 If you want a cold coffee in Germany, it comes with a scoop of ice cream in it. Not a bad deal!

If you want a cold coffee in Germany, it comes with a scoop of ice cream in it. Not a bad deal!