This week, I had a bit more free time than the previous ones so I used it to my advantage. I went to the German Museum of Technology which was very interesting. I also went back to the Humboldt Forum, a place we visited during our orientation week. I sat down and took some more time to enjoy the exhibits and got to see the former palace ruins. On Thursday, I got to cross off a bucket list item of mine that I had been waiting to do for years.
I left early in the morning and took a four-hour train over to Dortmund. Upon arrival, I visited the German Soccer Museum, bought some items from the BVB fan shop, and then walked around the city a bit. I liked the city, as it was a bit like Hannover in the sense that there are less people and the pace of life is a bit slower compared to Berlin. The highlight of my day came in the afternoon when I got to tour Westfalenstadion, home of Borussia Dortmund. When it comes to German soccer, Borussia Dortmund is the team I follow. I have only seen them play once live and that was back in 2018 in Pittsburgh when they played an International Champions Cup (ICC) match against S.L. Benfica, a team from Portugal. Like Olympiastadion, this is another stadium that I had only seen through TV and pictures, and once again, they did not do this stadium justice. I had read facts of how many people it seats but you never know what to truly expect. Upon arrival at the stadium, I walked around it, took some pictures, then headed over to the Foyer West where the tour started. One thing about this tour was that it was self-guided. I just had to follow the signs, but besides that, I could stay however long I wanted and walk at my own pace. There were also QR codes to scan and learn more about each stop. It started with walking down the steps in the middle of the lower seating sections then wrapped around to the Südtribüne, a standing section for fans and the ultras. After that I got to stand in the media room, locker room, go pitch side and sit on the bench, and then it ended with a final walk around the pitch. While I did not get to see a game live, this stadium tour was still amazing. I made sure to take in every minute of it as I probably won’t return to this stadium for some time. Hopefully, the next time is for a game.
There have been a couple of aspects of the culture that I have found difficult to assimilate to in general and in the workplace. One of the main ones, especially in the workplace, is the use of the metric system. Especially within supply chain, I have to work with kilometers. Trying to understand them and visualize how long a certain distance is a bit tough. With miles, if I was told something was 378 miles away, I could visualize that distance. If I was told something was 378 kilometers away, that is a bit different. When trying to plan routes, I have to take a couple more steps to plan things out to make sure it correctly reflects the distance that needs to be traveled. Recently, my boss was talking with me about the weather as I was asking him how much hotter it would get. We were talking in Celsius and trying to wrap my head around that is tough. Another item would be the following of rules and keeping others in check. The other day, I was at a museum and accidentally went up a pair of stairs that were marked as going down. I was told by an older couple that I needed to use the other staircase and they gestured at it. I have seen this happen a few other times in public along with other people in our group. This is not as common in the USA so it caught me off guard a bit. The other one would be the separation of work and personal life. At work, personal life and things outside of work are not really talked about. When we go out for lunch or after work, we talk about it then. The separation here is much clearer whereas in the USA, during the work day, I would talk with my coworkers about my week or their plans for the weekend.