Sunday, July 2, 2017

June 25th Daily Diary

Berlin Study Abroad Daily Diary: June 25th

Today was mostly a free day for everyone to do what they wanted, so I chatted with a few people at the end of the day to see what they were up to!
Nikki explored Prenzlauer Berg, a neighborhood to the north of where our hostel is in Kreuzberg. She said she had a ton of fun riding the streetcar around the area.
Justin, Catherine, Katie and Zosia went in search of the DDR museum, but were unsuccessful. However, they did find a pretty interesting flea market! The rest of us agreed we would need to check it out next weekend.
On Sunday morning I met up with a friend from UW who is also in Berlin right now, and we explored Kreuzberg a little bit. We found a great bakery with huge eclairs, and saw some beautiful wall art. While this wall art isn’t quite graffiti, the message written on it connects well to our discussion of graffiti as an occupation (or a re-occupation) of public space for underrepresented people. This is, in my opinion, why street art and graffiti are so important; as you’re walking around, you look up and see art and start to think. Graffiti and street art also continue to be a form of resistance to the norm, and I love how much parts of Berlin have seemed to embrace the street art as part of the city.
Around 3 pm, Amanda, Katie and I walked over to the Kotti office by Kottbusser Tor for food and a party that Mohammed had invited us to the previous day. Almost everyone else joined us a bit later. The food was AMAZING! We had a great time chatting with everyone at the barbeque and playing games, like Mancala.
It was a little strange coming into the community for a celebration of the end of Ramadan as an outsider, as someone who does not celebrate Ramadan. Also, I think the language barrier felt a bit awkward. However, overall the whole group felt really welcome at the barbeque, and for a brief time I felt like we were more connected to the community. I think we could use this experience to extrapolate and infer how the intersection of very different communities occurs and is facilitated, especially in the past few years of mass migration. It makes me hopeful, because even though we didn’t speak the same language as many of the people around us, or share the same beliefs, or come from the same place, we could all hang out and eat together. I wish we could have stayed longer.
(Candid photo featuring Katie’s hand)
Later that evening, people went their separate ways. Zosia, Amanda, Katie and I visited the very exciting Waschhaus 38: the laundromat. I personally struggled a lot with the laundry machines, especially because the card reader I was trying to use was giving instructions in Italian! Nothing says “transnational community” like having a washing machine with four different language options, and the card reader is in a fifth separate language. There were a few more nice folks at the laundromat who helped us out, and eventually I left with a suitcase full of clean clothes. Hooray!

(Strangely enough, all the washing machines had names.)
When we all got back to the hostel, everyone had readings and reflections to finish, so we had a group work session in the lobby of Die Fabrik. Some people went out a bit later, but I stayed in to chat with my parents over Facetime. It was a really fun and productive day for everyone.

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