For some reason, Zach and I were conversing about stereotypes that Russians have of Americans and I whipped out my notebook from Germany. During the course we were asked to write down stereotypes of our Russian classmates: Snow and Vodka. Easy. Anyway, while I was looking, I found in my notes a hidden blurb that I wrote on my train ride from Berlin after hearing Barack Obama speak. Here it is.
7/24/2008 – Today I went back to Berlin to hear Obama speak. I skipped out on Mr. Faulk’s class to go and I feel bad even though he encouraged me to attend the speech. We left Bremen Hbf. at 14:17 and had our connection in Hamburg. It was Cruzer, Mollie, Angela, and some others with me. Since I had already visited Berlin, I was the “tour guide.” We went back to Freidreichstrasse and Unter den Linden. Before we left, I had a feeling that we were getting into something pretty huge. When we began to get near the site of the speech, it became very crowded. We ended up breaking into three groups because people were to reserved to push through the crowd. Everyone panicked and wanted to leave. It was really just Mollie and Cruzer.
I went to Berlin to hear Obama, so I was going to see that shit. I got the address of their hotel just in case I decided to stay in the city for the night and then pushed through the crowd and went on my own. Having no particular plans just getting around Deutschland by myself is a great adventure, and I have had no problems. It seems like everyone in the group has had a hard time with the public transportation systems, and they have to travel in groups. I am the only one that has traveled solo. I guess it fits my personality.
Okay. Back to Obama. I was by myself standing among Berliners. I wanted to strike conversation and get some opinions, but I decided to conceal my nationality. I wanted to feel as a Berliner when Obama spoke. I received and responded to a couple of vague comments. The speech was lacked substance and was very short, but was still had significance for both the campaign and my life.
Afterwards, I checked my timetable to see if I could catch a train back to Bremen. Staying on the floor of a hotel was only a last resort if I were stuck in Berlin (which is not such a bad thing; Berlin is great). As I was jogging toward the train station, I found a connection that would lead me to Bremen by midnight; worked for me. It is much easier to go no-plan by yourself. Even thought the group assumed I would sleep at the hotel, heading back to Bremen should not worry anyone. Kelly once told me that I’m the only one that no one would worry about, and that gave me a good feeling. I am glad that I feel comfortable traveling solo because Munich is all me. I’ll just make friends with locals and have a good time. I will see some castles, which will be amazing.
This trip has given me lots. I have learned about American culture and myself. Some of these kids are a bit embarrassing to be associated with, but this is like a vacation. They are allowed to act like idiots. About myself. I have already explained the independence, so I won’t go there. Another thing that has surfaced about me is my tolerance for other cultures. I try to understand and respect Germans when something is different. It can be frustrating but just learning from it is the way to go. It’s a good thing because of my major. Thats one more thing. I am both excited and relieved when it comes to my choice of study. International Business is the perfect major for me. Japanese is my main focus, but I would like to keep German culture alive within. I thought that Germany would be quite similar to our culture, but it is much more different than I thought. Japan will be so much to take in now that I have Germany to gauge it against. Oh, and the original reason I whipped out the pad: don’t forget the non-alcoholic beers in Prague and the kids on the train.
As you can see, my anticipation for Japan has been a long time in the making. This entry reminds me of how much I enjoyed being out of my element, and brings back some good thoughts during one of the most memorable times of my life. Japan, here I come.