As another week is in the books and the amount of weeks left for my time in Berlin can be counted on one hand, I am starting to come to the realization that my time abroad is going to be over before I know it. Reaching the half way point in our trip this past week made me think about how fast our time has already passed by. The work week was quite busy as I was sent over plenty of work from New York City to complete which was nice because I am getting good experience on the communication within an international company. It is also nice to see that projects that used to take me an hour or so are now being completed in about ten or fifteen minutes which makes me feel accomplished that I am picking up skills to increase productivity and have a valuable impact on the company I am working for. With that being said, I decided mid-way through the week to take a trip to Prague this weekend.
But before I get into my Prague trip, I would like to first discuss individual/personal issues I have dealt with in Berlin. In terms of cultural differences, the biggest difference is for sure that people are much more direct. Whenever I encounter people on public transportation or at a restaurant, I am always given direct answers that might come off as rude, but actually the answers have always been very helpful. One situation I experienced was my encounter with a guy that works at a pizza shop right by my hotel. I had gone to this pizza place a handful of times, but during this week, the worker at the shop approached me and asked if I was Italian. I said “No”. He the said “Portuguese?”. I responded “Nope, I’m from America, but my family originates from Albania”. He immediately started speaking Albanian to me and that caught me off guard. He is from Macedonia, but was fluent in many languages including Albanian. I have gone back several times since to grab some food and speak the language I grew up speaking. It was nice to meet a non-relative that spoke the same language as me and he was able to tell me a little bit more about Berlin and the lifestyle people live which was cool to get an understanding first hand from someone who was not a coworker.
Now onto my Prague trip… It was a quick Saturday-Sunday trip that lasted about 24 hours. After a slight delay in the morning, I arrived in the Czech Republic and immediately noticed differences. There was a lot of farm land up until I arrived in Prague. Once I got into the city, I was able to enjoy the entire view of the city from a rooftop hotel and I was able to spot several castles and other landmarks that a friend was pointing out to me. Even though I was there for a short period of time, I was able to make several comparisons to Berlin. The transportation system was very efficient and the city was set up to feel more suburban. People were out and about as the weather was nice and we were able to go to a local park and enjoy good food and live music. We were also able to see the John Lennon Wall and do some graffiti on it. It would have been nice to stay a little bit longer, but work on Monday was in the way. Nonetheless, I was also able to plan a visit to Italy next weekend for three days, spending it in Venice and Verona. I have always wanted to go to Italy (especially for the food) and now I am going to be able to finally visit. Now I’ll sign off (from my blog and on the John Lennon Wall) until next week when I will have plenty more stories to tell!