Guten Tag from Berlin, Germany. My name is Katarina Lage, I am an International Studies major with a minor in Diplomacy and Military Studies at HPU and I am completing my fourth semester of College in Athens, Greece. So you may now officially be confused because I did in fact write that I am in Berlin, Germany!
The wonderful part of going to school at Hawai’i Pacific University is that you meet students from all over the world and that is in fact why I am in Germany! My roommate from the past semester lives in Grosshansdorf a small village outside of Hamburg. With her the last ten days have included I wandering around Hamburg and Berlin with many small villages and towns along the way as well as eating. I have visited many of the popular sights in these two massive cities as well as journeying by train to the wonderfully breezy Baltic Sea.
The sights are in order of the pictures posted first the Hamburg Rathaus which is Hamburg Town Hall, second is a night view of the Binnenalster which is a large body of water in the center of Hamburg, third was my first experience at the Baltic Sea (it is a little colder than Waikiki) luckily I was able to go there before the storms came and flooded HafenCity in Hamburg, fourth was taken in Lübeck the closest big city to the Baltic Sea that is famous for their marzipan, fifth is a picture of the original Berlin Wall, sixth is the Reichstag, seventh the Brandenburger Tor (Yes I am wearing a Hawaii Pacific University sweater), eight is the Holocaust Memorial beside the United States Embassy in Berlin, and finally is the Schloss Sanssouci (the castle built for Fredrick the Great.) I took many more pictures than are shared that could more clearly show a small picture of the splendor that is Northern Germany; however I think brevity is best!
It’s a crazy thing jetlag, it didn’t hit me the first night I was here after traveling for nearly 24 hours from Denver, Colorado through Reykjavik, Iceland and Copenhagen, Denmark, or the next day but that third day felt like I had been hit by an airplane with sudden turbulence. In fact, I have been touring this beautiful country so deeply and comprehensively that there is a possibility I may sleep my first two days in Athens before moving into the Dorms!
However, no one wants to read about the negative side of traveling halfway across the world. Let’s move on to a little thing dubbed Culture Shock. To start I would like to point out something, in Germany the citizens speak GERMAN, is your mind blown yet? I only bring this up because mine was that first night I went out in Hamburg. The signs are in German, the people speak with you in German, and menus are in German. While this seems like common sense I was completely blown away by the fact that I was in a country whose society functions in another language.
More surprising than the language barrier was the cuisine. There is more to eat in Germany than Schnitzel, bretzel, and sauerkraut. The food in Germany is gastronomically pleasing from weißwurst mit kartoffelsalat and senf, pfifferlingsuppe, curry wurst, and döner to anything chocolate or the germknödel mit vanilliesoße and mohm.
I highly recommend going to Germany just to eat as much as possible. But don’t worry; you’ll walk around enough you won’t even have to worry about carrying around any extra insulation. The people of Germany are welcoming and more than willing to help Americans that speak little to no German. I can say Guten Tag, prost, and a few other words in German now so I will consider my trip here successful. One tip that I can give you for getting over Culture Shock, even as minor as my experience has been thus far is to sit back for a moment and appreciate the fact that when the street vendors try to sell you something you won’t be able to understand them so there is no guilt in continuing to walk past them!
I arrive in Greece later today and look forward to many new and exciting experiences in the country that my grandfather emigrated from in the 1900’s.
Until next time, “Don’t stop believing!”