Hey, everyone! Yes, it has been a looong time. That’s why I’ve come up with this list to let you know what I have been up to for the whole of summer. 🙂
1. First haircut in Germany. It may seem like a small thing to many, but finding a good salon and hair dresser is important to me. I’ve had a lot of bad haircuts in life, so after several attempts, I’ve only ever trusted my hair to my stylist in Singapore. Anyway, it was a good thing the stylist I selected here in Berlin spoke English because the cut I wanted was difficult to describe in German.
2. Moving around Berlin. Relying on the German I’ve learned and trusting the public transport system as well as Google Maps, I learned to navigate through the city and accomplish various errands that took me to schools, government offices and the like. I found it confusing at first, but as with most things, it becomes easier when it’s frequently done.
3. Doctors and dentists. Aside from requiring an English-speaking hairstylist, I also prefer speaking in English when it comes to my health. Here in Berlin, people prefer to speak in German, but they can also switch to English if needed. They always say that their English is bad even though I find that they can speak it perfectly.
4. Spring cleaning. It is late, but I waited until the weater was warm enough until I got the whole cleaning thing going. It is totally refreshing to be able to come into contact with water and not freeze. Whenever the sun is shining in the warmer months, you can also see your neighbors opening the windows and fluffing their pillows and duvets.
5. Learning at the Volkshochschule. After much persistence, I finally got a spot at the government-sponsored school for the Orientation course, where I get to learn about the history of and the political and social system in Germany. It is proving to be really interesting and i’m glad I signed up for it.
6. Summer shopping. It’s the first time I had to shop for swimwear, sunglasses and slippers and i’m finding it hard to buy clothes that fit my petite self. Thankfully, there were a few pieces that worked out.
7. Going to church. This is a big first and i’m glad that I found a church that wasn’t so different from the one that I went to in Singapore. Aside from being spiritually connected again, I also feel like I’ve met a community of people that I can build good frienships with.
8. Baking Brownies. These turned out to be the perfect go-to snack for me in the afternoons. The whole house smells divine when they’re baking in the oven.
9. Seeing a double rainbow. The only thing I can say about it was that it was breathtaking and beautiful. Such a miracle!
10. Traveling to Usedom. For my first summer vacation in Germany, we went to what my husband calls, “a typical German holiday”, which means heading to the Baltic Sea. Farmland, countryside, forests, the beach, pieces of German history, you name it, it’s at Usedom.
11. Taking the German trains. It was my first time to ride the regional trains, and I must say it’s very efficient, easy and comfortable. I would recommend it if you’re planning to travel to other German cities and rural areas. Tip: Travel on weekdays and not on weekends because you might find yourself standing for hours if there are no more seats available.
12. Swimming in the Ostsee. I wouldn’t call it swimming exactly. I just took a dip because the water and the wind were freezing cold. I’m used to the Philippine and Singapore waters at 25-30 degrees, but at the Baltic, you can consider yourself lucky if the water is at 18 degrees. While I headed back to the tent and got myself covered with layers of towels and jackets, my husband and the rest of his family kept going back to the sea to enjoy the saltwater. They said the temperature takes years of getting used to.
13. Feeding the farm. At the rental home we stayed at, you had the chance to interact with horses and chickens, and it was a lot of fun feeding them. They were very tame and they greeted you whenever they saw you, so that was cool.
14. Playing mini golf. Due to the cold and wet weather, we couldn’t head out to the beach so we had to find a form of indoor entertainment. There happened to be a mini golf place a few miles from where we stayed, so we headed there and tried to make a hole in one. I was hesitant at first, but it actually turned out to be a lot of fun and my husband and I grabbed the first and second places! Woot, woot!
15. Karl’s Erlebnis Dorf. I’ll call the place that because that’s how I remember it. We were out of ideas on how to spend the rest of the afternoon because of the weather, so I suggested to go there. I saw it on the train ride to the north of Usedom, and it looked like it was a lot of fun. It sure was! If you have kids and you need to keep them from getting bored, going to an Erlebnis Dorf is an awesome idea.
16. Visiting an 800-year old church. It was a tiny spot that you’d miss if you didn’t know about it, but this church survived several wars and is still standing strong.
17. Submerging into a submarine. We were debating whether or not to go in the U-Boot because it costs 15€ per person, but since we were already there and we were only going to do it once, we decided to go for it. It was very cramped inside, and I think some kids and I were the only ones who moved around the sub with ease. It was full of knobs and wires, and really, i’m not sure how the crew could’ve remembered which button does what. It was still petty spectacular.
18. Watching the sun set from a German hill. This was one of the highlights of the trip for me. Even though it was very cold and windy, what you see at the top after the upward trek was worth it. It was incredible to see the different shades of the sunset as it slowly disappeared.
19. German Oceanographic Museum. It wasn’t beach weather the day we headed to Stralsund, so we went to see the sea creatures displayed at the museum instead. It was very informational, but sadly, I didn’t find it as interesting as I hoped.
20. Peenemünde Museum. Compared to the U-Boot, admission to Historical Technical Museum was only 8€. This was where they tested rockets and built a power plant. I really couldn’t believe that the whole thing was man-made. It can take up to a whole day or more to take all the information in. There are two other interesting museums nearby that you can check out too.
21. Seeing the Die Wölfe sind zurück exhibit. The exhibit was advertised in the newspaper and I thought it was interesting so I went to see it up close. The sculptures , which is art against hatred and violence, are well-made and so intriguing that people can’t help but stop by to see what they are there for.
22. Celebrating our 1st Wedding Anniversary. Time flies by SO fast! We’ve been married for a year now, and it is AWESOME. Sure, we’ve had a few disagreements, but the joy of loving and being together is so much more. I guess that’s really how it is when you’re with the person you’re meant to be with.
23. IKEA. I love almost everything about this Swedish furniture maker. Their products are inexpensive but stylish and durable. They even have 50-cent ice cream cones! What’s not to love?
24. Having a home office. We also got a new desk and chair for me so I can set up my office, and they are bigger than any of the desks and chairs I’ve ever had in my life. 😀
25. Taking the German B1 exam. Finally took the exam! I almost came close to postponing it because I was sick on the same week I was going to take it. But I wanted to just get it over with, so i’m praying that me sounding all nasally during the oral part didn’t affect my score, which I am still waiting for, by the way.
26. Making muffins. I didn’t want to buy ready-made snacks nor was I craving brownies, so I decided to bake something new. All of these sweet mini cakes were gone in a weekend, haha.
27. Berlin state elections. I find it a good coincidence that i’m doing the Orientierungskurs while the city was gearing up for the state elections. It made the course so much more relevant.
28. Visiting Schloss Bellevue. It was open day at the place where the president of Germany works. Seeing the exquisite rooms were overwhelming. Everything was prepared and positioned perfectly. Aside from the wonderful opportunity to see the President’s residence, I also got the opportunity to…
29. Shake hands with the president. Yup, you read that right. I shook the hand of the German president. I wish someone was able to take a photo of it, but it was very sudden and unexpected. But overall, it was wonderful!!
30.Taking the “Leben in Deutschland” exam. Half an hour after the last class of the orientation course, we had to take the exam. We had to answer 33 questions about what was taught in the orientation course in 60 minutes. I’ll elaborate on this and the B1 exam in a later post, so keep a look out for that!
That was it! I hope you found the list interesting. 🙂 Do tell me what your biggest and most amazing experience was in the past 3 months below! 🙂