For all you who thought that I never really existed, here I am contributing to Rosie's wonderful blog (mostly I didn't want to blemish it). I have been here in Berlin for five days now and let's just say that it has been a unique experience.
The apartment I am staying in is a little (believe me when I use that word) standalone place in someone's back yard. Don't get me wrong, the people who own the place are really nice and the yard is very large, nicely kept and just rather enjoyable. But to give you a mental picture (sorry, no real pictures till Rosie gets here) the ceilings are about 6 feet tall, the main room area that has the loveseat/bed and such is about 12 feet by 15 feet or so and the only other section of the place is the bathroom which measures in at a hefty 3 feet by 6 feet (including shower, sink and toilet). The shower is almost big enough to turn around in, but it's better than nothing. There is no real kitchen, though in one wall there is built a little sink/two burner stove and mini refrigerator. But it serves my needs for now. About the really nice owners, they have a larger place that they will put Rosie, Allison and I when they finally get here (six weeks can sure feel like a long time when your staring down its business end).
As for the city itself, it is rather noticeable that for a decent amount of time the two sides (east and west) developed at their own paces. The area I live in is on the east side and has old cobbled streets and dirt sidewalks and has a very little country village vibe to it while the west side is what we would call more modern. All the church buildings are on the west side, which leads me to a very funny story. Sunday rolls around and I decide to go to church, I know where the building is despite being far away. So I take my scriptures and dictionary and head out. I transfer at the train station that I need to, hop on the next train and we get to a station where we stop for some time. When the train gets going, we go back the other direction. Turns out this was the only weekend where they decided to shut down a portion of the train tracks for maintenance. So I go back to the one stop, get on a bus that takes me to the next working stop, hop on another train and finally get to church. Total travel time: 2 hours. But I suppose that is okay, because at least I made it. When I got there, the only person I really spoke was a guy from Thailand and we spoke in English. The ward is small-ish (only 80 or 90 members, it looks like) and they cram them all in to 6 rows of pews.
As for the rest of daily life, I can't say much about work yet, since I am still in the learning stages of using the software and all, but in the other facets, let's just say that right now I stick to things that don't require much talking. That is because on a qualitative scale, my German rounds to, oh, roughly NOTHING. But I am learning and the people are patient with me, so that is good. I have been able to form some coherent sentences the last day or two, so there is hope that I will be able to communicate, at least on a simple basis, by the time I leave. Well, that is it for me here, but I'll keep you "posted".
6 days ago