Bryan has been kicking my ass with the blog posting, so I’ve been shamed into writing. I think I’ve been waiting for something a little more exciting to report than what I’ve spent most of Week One doing. Namely, having tonsillitis. Hooray!
When my throat started getting sore on Wednesday morning, I actually thought it was just from speaking German (all that “acchh”ing). Then we thought it was a cold, and I blew threw our entire supply of Coldeeze trying to shorten an illness I did not have—sadly for Bryan, who is a Coldeeze junky. And on the third day, I discovered the white fuzzy spots on my tonsils that meant we got to add “navigate the German health care system” to our list of accomplishments for the week. (For the record, socialized medicine IS all it’s cracked up to be.) Despite being laid low by tonsil-mold, it’s quite a list. We have:
– acquired German cell phones
– set up DSL in our flat (to start in two weeks), which required:
– – opening a German bank account
– – talking our landlady into letting us set it up
– registered our presence with the Berlin city government
– found our local grocery stores, pharmacy, etc. (sadly, no laundromat, so we’re running out of underwear)
– ridden four of the five excellent public transportation systems (bus, tram, S-Bahn, D-Bahn—next up, U-Bahn)
At the moment, I’m sitting in my cousin Michael’s flat in Dresden, willing my penicillin to work faster so I can fully appreciate the party that’s taken over the streets of his neighborhood. It’s an annual festival apparently just celebrating how much fun they are, featuring dueling DJs, couches on wheels, homemade booths and extensions of restaurants selling alcohol, puffs on hookahs, trampoline access, etc, and street after street after street of wandering revelers. Oh yeah, and riot police—evidently it has a reputation for fighting, breaking shit, and setting cars on fire. I just got to walk through it last night on my way to an early bedtime, but I have higher hopes for today. I’m sure we’ll also, you know, go to a museum or something.
In other random but exciting news, we’ve had TWO serious thunderstorms, one in Berlin and one last night in Dresden. (Only you Californians can appreciate how exciting we find thunderstorms.) The restaurant on the ground floor of our apartment building is a hip little burrito place called Dolores, with a giant map of San Francisco’s Mission District printed on the walls. And people who say you can survive in Berlin without speaking German because everyone speaks English are WRONG WRONG WRONG. Your waiter at the tourist restaurant might, but the guy selling you a cell phone and the lady behind the counter in the emergency room and the dude who answers your landlady’s phone do not. As a result, our retarded German has gotten much airing. By the end of the summer, we’re hoping to have that 500 essential word vocabulary that allows you to handle most casual conversations. My next priority is food words because restaurant menus are baffling.
If you’d like to mail us something (like fuel for Bryan’s Coldeeze habit) you can do so at:
Rosa-Luxemburg Str. 5
10178 Berlin, Germany
Expect more regular updates once we have internet in our flat, scheduled to start by June 27.