In an earlier blog post, I discussed the importance of embracing and experiencing diversity. This week, I was able to catch a glimpse of these diverse communities which exist in Berlin. Being exposed to diversity and to learn from different cultures, stories, and ideas are the reasons why I wanted to come back to Germany for a second time. Yet, no matter how many trips you make to the same or different countries, there remains a lot to learn. In fact, it’s naive to expect diversity to just show up in your front steps. Sometimes, you have to go out and find them! That’s exactly what I did.
On Monday, June 5th, I attended Berlin’s annual Karneval der Kulturen, a festival that celebrates exactly diversity. With food, music, dancing, and performances, Karneval der Kulturen spanned the entire Blucherplatz park in the neighborhood of Kreuzberg, Berlin. In every direction, you were able to see booths selling clothes, artwork, food, and endless more from countries of all the continents minus Antarctica. Lunch was served by an Indian stand: a delicious Chicken curry meal with a cool mango lassi drink. After further exploration of the festival, I rewarded myself with a Maracuja smoothie from a Mexican booth. And for a good amount of time, I really enjoyed watching the dancing.
After the festival, I went to what is considered the best kebab place in Berlin: Mufasa’s Kebab.
My friends and I thought that it would’ve been wise to go now that it was raining and maybe there were going to be less people. We were wrong. However, after waiting in line for almost an hour, we were rewarded with a delicious kebab.
On Sunday, June 11th, we went to Pruessenplatz, a small park that served many Thai cuisines. Other than gatherings of different cultures, I’ve learned that gatherings of specific cultures and people exist as well! I bought some rolls and matcha tea. The flavor and ingredients of the food is reminiscent of Chinese food. To say the least, I am happy that different cultures thrive in Berlin. Here is a picture of Thai park and the food!
Of course, these celebrities are only a small window into the multicultural lives of Berlin. The immigrant community is very diverse with middle easterners claiming a huge chunk of the diversity. Many immigrants also hail from Eastern European countries and Russia. My workplace is a very diverse community. My immediate co-workers are Arabic and Russian. This proves that the success of businesses like VenconResearch rely on the talent of their immigrant workers. The success of these festivals like Karneval der Kultur, Thai Park, and the immense popularity of Mustafa’s Kebab shows that to some extent, the culture of different backgrounds are accepted among Germans.
There a few festivals like this in Pittsburgh, but not to the extent Berlin has them. I am very excited that communities that I’ve rarely seen before become a huge presence in Berlin. It makes this learning experience much more rewarding.