The adventure that began three and a half months ago is just about over. I’m almost completely packed and have cleaned out my room. Tomorrow morning I have to get up early, though some other students have it much worse that 6:30. The snow and cold are continuing and there are flight cancellations in other parts of Europe now, but my flights are still on, so I’m hoping it stays that way. Tomorrow is going to be a really long day- I’ll be waking up when it’s still today Central Time and should be up until into Monday Berlin time, but the 10 and a half hour flight from Zurich to Chicago should give me ample time to sleep. I’ll be home to watch at least part of my first Packer game of the season in WI, which will be nice because watching over the internet here just isn’t the same.
The last few days have been great! I finished my exams Wednesday evening, so I had three days free to enjoy Berlin as a last hurrah. I got in two more soccer games at Monbijoupark. Because of the snow everyone was slipping and sliding. Some of the professors held consultations where we could find out our final grades and talk about how we did on the various assignments. I have an A- in my Deutsch Kurse and As in European Union and Theater. On Thursday we had the IES Farewell dinner, which was a great chance to see and talk to all my the other students as well as the professors and IES Mitarbeitern (Employees). Saying goodbye to everyone was hard, it’s been a great group, something that really contributed to me having a great semester. Hopefully we’ll stay in contact and maybe even have a reunion somewhere in the US irgendwann (sometime). On Friday night a group of students planned another dinner at an Arabic restaurant, which was another chance to say goodbye. Mathias also cooked Friday night, but I was able to do both we didn’t end up eating here until almost midnight (Mathias’ friend Kastin took a train up from Hessen and the snow delayed it as well as the S-Bahn on the way back from the station). We had pasta with homemade pesto, cherry tomatoes and smoked salmon. As usual with Mathias’ cooking, it was excellent! Finally today I met some friends at Potsdamer Platz. Today it was clear and sunny all day for the first time in a while (Berlin has had an abnormally cold and snowy December). We were going to have lunch and then go to a Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market), but there was some confusion so we had to skip the Weihnachtsmarkt. We had crepes in S-Bahnhof (S-Bahn station) Friedrichstrasse before parting ways to finish packing and getting ready to leave. This is fitting because Friedrichstrasse is often where we meet each other when doing something in Berlin, it’s right in the center, close to IES and easily accessible from just about anywhere in the city. Crepes are not German, but there are a lot of crepe stands here, and not just in Berlin. I think I’ll miss being able to get a crepe with Nutella almost as much as being able to get a Doener because they are a great dessert that doesn’t weigh one down too much.
It’s hard to believe it’s all over! I thought 15 weeks was going to be plenty of time back at the start of the semester, but it’s gone by so quickly. Last week IES had a session for us about how we could come back to Berlin, for example with a Fullbright or a DAAD (Germany’s academic outreach program). I think just about all of us are hoping to get back here somehow. Lawrence students, the deadline for fall semester or the year is coming up at the end of January, so you should be thinking about those applications (take my advice and don’t procrastinate on it like I did). And if you’re not thinking about it, you should be! Ich empfehle es (I reccomend it)!