Week 8

With only ONE week left in Berlin, one could say I am heading straight towards living in complete denial about leaving. But before I swell on this fact too much, let’s talk about the exciting adventures I had this weekend, all while living in [aforementioned] denial!

Very important vegan donuts I ate, and will eat for the rest of my life, because I’m not leaving!!! (Espresso brownie crumble (left), raspberry pistachio (right))
Berliner Dom, ft. some of the most complementary lighting I’ve ever seen

This past week cooled down by a considerable amount, which was probably for the best considering I had sweat through most of my clean laundry already. On Saturday, we ventured out to the DDR Museum, one of the many museums on Museum Island by the Berliner Dom. This museum was a bit unlike other typical ones, in that it was very interactive, and went for a more immersive experience in outlining what it was like to live in East Germany (and East Berlin) post World War II. I think one of the best things about museums, especially one like this that focuses on the general population and everyday people, is that it feels easier to try and place yourselves into their shoes and their life. Another crazy aspect about this part of history is that it really didn’t happen that long ago; it isn’t difficult to imagine that Bruce Springsteen showed up in East Germany to play some rock n’ roll, but given the context of oppression and the strict rules, mindset, and vetting of any kind of consumption, the situation is at once bizarre, but also helps the view to understand what everyday life was really like. Another cool feature of the museum was a “house” that you could walk through, look through cabinets, watch TV, and learn a little bit more about the average Joe in East Germany. Overall, the DDR Museum was a great experience, and even led to some great conversations about socialism in our political context today, and the interesting parts about the DDR that made it seem like life was better (eg. more equality in the work force, paid maternity leave, etc.).

Today, we took another trip to the famous Mauer Park, and ventured into the (very packed!!!) flea market. One of my absolute favorite things about being in Berlin is the prevalence of flea markets, and the overwhelming popularity of them. While I know there are flea markets, art festivals, and local vendors in America, the Mauer Park flea market is such a great environment that really keeps people coming back and interested for such a long time, qualities I find to be lacking in flea markets I’ve gone to in the states. I also think the general concept of a flea market promotes great habits of thrifting (ask me about the 3 Euro maxi dress and silk blouse I bought), and overall thinking more about what you’re consuming that is brand new vs. second hand (read: we should all be thrifting and not buying new clothes unless we absolutely have to!!!). I was also able to find some great local jewelry, one of which even helped a homeless shelter and the homeless population in Berlin. Since the clothing that I bought was so cheap, I felt much better using my dollar (or…Euro) to go towards supporting a local business that also supported great causes, and overall, I had a small glimpse into the kind of consumer I want to be in the future. But anyways; following Mauerpark, we headed to Potsdam, walking around the very quaint and European Dutch Quarters, window shopping, and comparing the Potsdam Brandenburg Gate to the Berlin one (verdict: The Berlin one is better. I am also biased). Following some delicious Thai food, we then took the trek back home. As I am still living in complete denial about leaving, I will just say that I can’t wait for any adventures we take next weekend, and other exciting parts of the city we will see!

Working in a smaller law firm, I think my opportunities to the defined version of “success” are rather limited. Observing my supervisor, I can see how him being extremely busy would be a sign of success, as many meetings could mean that the firm has lots of clients, is bringing in new ones, and is overall doing well. However, I think that the lack of organization in the firm is a place that could be improved upon, and I think with further structure, more success could be brought to the firm. At my internship, a successful and effective employee is one that can do most of their work for long periods of time without coming to a standstill, because then they would have to ask questions to my supervisor, and as we’ve discussed, this has proven to be rather difficult at times. I think this differs most from America because questions are encouraged (I genuinely think they are encouraged here, but my experience at my internship is just a little unique).