bye bye berlin

I’m incredibly sad to be facing my last week at Berlin Art Link and in Berlin, and I’m feeling the same antsiness to return to Berlin that I felt in the weeks before I departed from the U.S. I’ve been blowing through my list of things I wanted to see/do/eat in Berlin, this past week I was able to visit some galleries, eat some great food and go to fun events. I was finally able to visit the Berlinische Galerie, a gallery I visited four years ago with my family. Right now they’re having an exhibit of Sibylle Bergemann’s work, a German photographer. Her work was amazing and has inspired me to take more pictures of my own with my film camera, something I’ve actually been neglecting while here. Having been to Berlin once before, I’ve found it interesting how art and locations affect me differently, and I have always believed that something different will strike a chord with you depending on the stage of life you are in. Different things in Berlin stick out to me than when I was 16, and I think it’s an ode to growth and maturation as well as a refinement of taste.

ZauharV17, Photo by Sibylle Bergmann at Berlinische Galerie

I’ve also been having some great food, and unfortunately a couple of so-so meals. While not the healthiest, I am dead set on eating as much döner as I can this week, and I know that when I return to the U.S. I will be immensely sad not to have döner, amazing quality cheeses for a low price and a vast variety of cuisines to pick from. A few weeks ago, one of my coworkers told me that the rumored best ramen in Berlin was made in a man’s apartment, and I knew I would have to try it. Under the name Food Technique Berlin, you message him on Instagram or e-mail and place your order. You have to be quick because he only has limited quantities without a consistent schedule. When you pick it up, he drops the ramen kit down to you in a bucket from his apartment window and you assemble it at home yourself. The ramen truly was amazing, and I’d recommend the experience to anyone in Berlin with a kitchen.

ZauharV18, Tantanmen by Food Technique Berlin

However, I did experience some bad food this weekend at a carnival a little bit outside of the city. The carnival food stands were trying to recreate American food, but for Americans, I don’t think we were super satisified with the food. On the other hand, the rides were amazing, and I think possibly better than the ones in the U.S. These rides mainly go on for a lot longer than the ones back home, but I also think they jostle you around a bit more, which was fun if you like really intense rides. This week Berlin also had it’s first Love Parade in 12 years after an unfortunate incident in 2010 where people died from suffocation. The Love Parade is basically a walking techno parade that goes through the city, and while I was only there for about 20 minutes, the love and happiness was palpable, similar to most of the city.

ZauharV19, Volksfest Carnival

While trying to get through my list, I found myself with less free time this week. Although my hours were initially 10 am-4 pm, I found myself staying at the office anywhere from 5 pm to 6:30 pm. I’ve found that in my office success is often tied to hard work, ambition, and task completion. Although my coworkers are majority international, I think it’s often frowned upon in German culture to be working so much outside of the office or work hours, and my German boss always comments on how my American boss has a hard time leaving her work, and will often stay in the office until 9 pm. Honestly, I was looking forward to working in Germany and having designated office hours, and getting away from the idea that overtime equals success, but I found myself staying later because I wanted to put in as much effort as the rest of my coworkers, and feel uncomfortable leaving without tasks completed. While I think back home going “above and beyond” is typically described as a successful and effective worker, many times I’ve found that my bosses want me to do what is asked, and do it well and to completion. If there is room for improvisation or additional work, they will let me know. I can tell that in my office focus and attention to detail are really appreciated. I’ve reached a point in my job where my work isn’t checked as frequently because I’ve learned how to complete certain tasks to their entirety, and that feels super rewarding.