Ich bin sehr müde but otherwise I’m doing well. I’m having so much fun here in Berlin, but I wish the time would slow down! Last weekend I went on a beach trip to swim at Strandbad Wannsee with some of the people from my program. It was a very nice beach. Our online tickets purchase never got emailed to us, so I used my German skills to talk to the man at the ticket window. Also, over the weekend I spent time exploring the city. I went to two food markets as well as a flea market. I really love trying new foods and seeing the things that locals have had sitting in their homes. We had Monday off for Pentecost which was nice because I had a day to relax and heal my sunburn from the beach. During the week I did not do much besides work, but we did discover a very yummy restaurant across the street from our hotel and I will be returning soon. Lastly, in Germany there are labor laws that granted each of us two vacation days to use in the month of June, so we all planned a trip to Budapest, Hungary together. I’m super excited to travel to a new country and see a country that will be very different than the US.
One of the most difficult things that I am having trouble adapting to here in Germany is the differences in the timing of things. As a person that enjoys routine, this change in my routine is throwing me for a loop. In both my personal life and in the workplace, the timing of events is different than the way the US operates. In the US, places have very long hours. They open early and close late. In Germany, lots of stores and restaurants close fairly early, especially during the week. In addition, work hours are skewed later than what many people work in the US. I work 10 AM – 6 PM at my internship. Since my internship is about 45-50 minutes away from our hotel, if I want to do errands, they either have to be quick or I need to do them on the weekend because stores start closing by the time, I am home from my internship. Also, many stores are closed on Sundays. This shortens the amount of time that I have to make trips to the stores I need to visit. It is so different for me because I am used to being able to visit stores all weekend as well as later in the day because stores in the US are open well into the evening. Another thing that I find difficult in general is the lack of superstores. Germany has a lot of stores that have specific purposes but there’s no popular, chain store near us that is as common as a Walmart or Target.
This has been difficult to adapt to because it disrupts my regular routine. I have been changing my routine to go grocery shopping on the days I work from home, so I do not have a long ride home after I am done working. As I mentioned earlier, we went to the Wannsee beach last weekend on Sunday. We wanted to buy sunscreen before we went but since it was a Sunday, we had to hope that they sold it at the beach due to the drugstores being closed. I have to do more planning for my days since there are so many things I want to do, and the hours are limited. It really makes me think about the items that I am looking to buy because I have to think about where I can buy them. There is no one store to get socks, cheese, and dog toys. I am starting to get used to the layout of the grocery store so that it takes me less time to shop and going after work is less of a process to get my groceries. I am personally not a fan of the German way of grocery shopping (small, frequent trips) but since the kitchen is so small, I have been going a little more frequently than I would regularly. It has taken time, but I think overall I have adjusted really well and for some of the trips I have had to make I have done them before work. I can honestly say that I usually do not do errands before my daily activities when I am at home. With time my time management is improving.