Yesterday I visited the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial (Gedenkstätte Berlin-Hohenschönhausen). I’m currently auditing a B 2.2 language course to sharpen my German skills, and one of our assignments for this week was to visit a memorial in Berlin and write up an account of our general impressions. Among the list of possible locations were the Holocaust Memorial, Jewish Museum, and Checkpoint Charlie, all of which are relatively central and have become rather touristy in recent years. Berlin-Hohenschönhausen, however, is in north-east Berlin in a more-or-less uninteresting part of town. If the name sounds unfamiliar, I had no idea what it was either until very recently.
This is a preview of One Year in Berlin: Stasi Gefängnis.
On my yearly visits to Germany I realize how the once familiar becomes unfamiliar, which often leads to funny situations. A few years ago I wanted to bake an American cheesecake. At the grocery store I paced up and down the cooler section several times looking for eggs and eventually asked a sales clerk. He stared at me, then walked me to a different part of the store with a shelf fully stocked with eggs. I stood there perplexed and it dawned on me that in Germany, unlike in the United States, eggs are often not refrigerated.
This is a preview of German Cuisine: Making Eierlikör.
At the end of last year I received great news: I got a full scholarship to study in Germany. My whole family was excited and, well, why not? Everything about this new experience was exciting for me and for them. I tried to play it cool, taking one step at a time, telling my friends, my family, and everybody in the most calm way possible, but the tears, the congratulations, the parties, and all the related things didn’t stop (and I didn’t complain).
This is a preview of Moving to Germany: Making Friends.
Things seem to be simmering down now, but lately relations between Germany and the U.S. have been less than perfect. I’m not sure about the media coverage back home, but here every newspaper is filled with headlines about the NSA affair that’s taken the world by storm.
Luckily tensions aren’t running too high in my apartment. In fact, last week my landlady, Renate seemed much more concerned with a local project that she’s been working on for the last fews years. Allow me to explain.
Photo courtesy Patrick Molligo
This is a preview of One Year in Berlin: Guerilla Knitting.