I want to apologize for not keeping people in the loop as often as I would like. I’ve thought many times about updating my blog but I had a difficult time figuring out what I want to write about. There are cultural differences here which are strong, there’s my internship at the refugee house, my many many complaints on German grammar, and a new work has been completed! So I will try to give a brief summary of what happened these four weeks and what I learned in that time.
Berlin and Paris
A few weeks ago, I traveled to Berlin and Paris, for a week. I had family in Paris and I convinced my cousin to meet me in Berlin. It was a fabulous time with lots of food and music. The first day we arrived in the afternoon and took a walk around the city. We walked around the Brandenburg gate, got some ice-cream and took a stroll through an outdoor art sale.
Then I got to scratch off something off of my life’s goal’s list. We saw the Berlin Philharmonic perform Debussy’s Prélude à l’Après-midi d’un Faune, Arcana by Varese, and Symphonie Fantastique by our favorite Hector Berlioz. The Debussy I thought was pretty good, it wasn’t the best interpretation ever and was a bit quieter than I expected so it didn’t blow me out of the water. The Varese, by contrast, requires an orchestra so huge that it can only blow you away. I loved it but it was also very clear that this is not the orchestra’s specialty. They then proved that point with the most stunning performance I’ve heard in my life. I’m not kidding, I was in tears after about four notes into the Berlioz.
After that, I went to a few museums, and I was really impressed by Berlin’s ability to take stuff from the Middle East and put it on display. Their collections of architecture from Babylon and Mesopotamia were absolutely stunning.
And Paris was, even more, fun. Mostly because I got to celebrate Eid al-Adha with my family and they were eager to show off what the city had to offer. We went up to the Eiffel tower and saw the whole city from there! Then we took a walk through the Champs-Élysées and got back to my Aunt cooking way too much food for me. I also saw La Cathedrale de Notre Dame, the Louvre (that took an entire day), and La Palais de Versailles! The garden was gorgeous, I spent the whole afternoon just wandering through it and I only got through the very beginning!
So after this, many people have asked me about the treacherous task of creating…
Relationships with other students
After orientation, I was able to get away from the scary men and actually befriend a few of the students. I’m very much the type of person that has only a few close friends and otherwise prefer isolation. This term has been very different for me in that my relationships with people are not determined by membership in some sort of group or clique, but rather through a number of individual relationships. This has the major advantage that dangerous people cannot enter a group space and make it unsafe for everyone. Which is better than I can say for Lawrence, where abusers continually invite themselves in group spaces I’m in and force me to leave. Here safe spaces for me are not officially formed but instead arise from these individual connections I have made with POC in the city, people at my internship, and connections with people at home, who I am grateful for. This is all a longwinded way of saying that I have made friends here without compromising my safety, people that know me personally knows I’m healing from a number of abusive situations at Lawrence, and I’m proud of myself for that and grateful for those that are helping me.
On my next post, I’ll talk about my trip to Salzburg, Halstatt, and Graz, as well as what I learned in regards to healing and how issues from home will still follow you abroad. Those will be coming very soon because I’m quickly learning how to submit things on time!