Ich bin ein Berliner

Week 3 done in Berlin. I feel like I’ve been living here forever because I’ve done so much cool stuff, but at the same time, the weeks have flown by. I can’t believe we’re nearing the halfway point already. Berlin has been everything I hoped it would be and more, and I know when the program ends, I’m going to struggle getting out of bed to make my flight. I could totally see myself living and working here because there are so many work opportunities and cool things that are hard to find in the US. I feel more and more like a Berliner every day, and although I’m far from being one, I feel like I can relate to JFK when he said, “Ich bin ein Berliner.” I like this quote because of its potential multiple meanings. I could be a Berliner, but at the same time, I also could just be a jelly donut. 

This past week, I got to do some things I’ve wanted to do for a while, and other activities I had no idea I would ever do. My roommate and I finally made it out to the Berlin weekend flea markets, which surpassed our expectations by a landslide. We planned to go to three, but that plan proved to be a little ambitious when we saw the size of the markets. The first one we went to was the smallest of the three, and even so, it was massive and we could’ve easily spent the entire day there. It was like an endless hallway of stands. Everything from clothes to art to handmade kitchen utensils filled the stalls, and thousands of people lined the streets. I picked up a pretty sweet bucket hat and a handmade mortar and pestle for my family. The next one we went to was even bigger and had even more to see. It was in a park called Mauerpark which translates to “wall park,” named because the Berlin wall used to occupy the space. This market was exactly like the first, only far larger, and there was a lot more going on. There were street performers, basketball games, picnickers, and many other park activities. One of the coolest parts was the karaoke setup they had. “Bearpit Karaoke” was started in 2009 by an Irishman with a single microphone and a speaker and it has been growing ever since.

Bearpit Karaoke June 5, 2022

I spent a lot of my time watching fearless strangers take the stage to sing their hearts out in front of hundreds. I wanted to sing but there were so many other people that also wanted to, so I didn’t get picked. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise because I can’t sing and absolutely would have embarrassed myself. On Friday, we went to a club converted into a roller-skating rink for a roller disco event. This was something I never thought I would do here, but I went in with an open mind and ended up thoroughly enjoying it. Before this, I had never roller skated before, but I grew up playing hockey, so I got the hang of it pretty quickly. I’m on the lookout for another similar event because I would love to actually get good at roller skating. 

Regarding my internship, there are definitely times when the directions are unclear, and I have to navigate ambiguity. At work, I’m given task lists that I must work on each day, and sometimes these tasks have vague directions. This is a change from school assignments where the guidelines are laid out, and the professor makes sure everyone knows exactly what’s expected. There are no rubrics and I must make do with the short directions I’m given. Also, since I’m new at Gramercy, for the most part, these are tasks I haven’t done before which presents an additional challenge. To overcome this, I make sure to read the directions several times before starting to make sure I don’t miss anything important. If it’s a larger project, I try to find examples in the company Google Drive folders that I can model my work after. Typically, if it’s a smaller task, I’m given a lot of freedom on how I go about it which is nice. I ask questions when needed, but I now have a pretty good sense of what is expected of me. As the internship continues and the projects get larger, more ambiguity is inevitable, but I feel like I developed a good system that will help me navigate it.