Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Berlin Update

So updating everyday just cannot happen. I post the photos of the day but I am too exhausted when I get back to the hotel each night. But to keep y’all up to date as much as possible I will sum up each city. We are currently on a four hour train to Prague and I am sad to leave Berlin. From the second we landed, I was at home. I love hearing the German language spoken and being around good food all the time. After the first night and hanging out with Kortnie and Laine, we spent the day walking basically all over Berlin. We did not finish until probably 7am or 8am after starting at 9:30am. We started with the Topography of Terror museum, which I saw the last time. It gives the same general overview of the Holocaust as all the others but I decided to see how women were portrayed or what languages was used to describe them. I am not 100% sure what I really can come with yet, but I notice that the word “innocent” is used with the killing of women more often than with men. 

After that we took a walking tour with this laminated pictures of an artistic installation from 1991. It was weird to be confronted with these three times periods all at one time. Then I got to switch off with Dr. Blutinger and teach my fellow classmates about a few memorials. It was fun to share this information with them and to see their reactions to the memorials. Jack actually pointed out the fact that the Rosenstrasse Memorial, while dedicated to women, has like no women on it. I may end up writing about that. I am just obsessed with the gendered language within Holocaust memorialization
We conclude the tour and grabbed dinner at anarchistic/punk pizza place. The pizza was so good and the company was even better. I am enjoying the group but I still feel like I am not really accepted. I try to get things going and no one wants to join. I find what is even more frustrating is the fact that Dr. Blutinger is so willing to spend time with everyone. Last time he was trying to escape from us at every turn. 

Monday I had to be at the archive at 9 so I headed out earlier than the others. It was a good experience and taught me to be brave when asking for directions from Germans. I did get some good information on how to prepare for my next archive visit and the archivist said she wanted me to come back and do more research. She was so nice!

After the archive, I went with some of the students to Café Einstein Stammhaus for Apfelstrudel and whipped cream as well as a wonderful iced coffee. We also went to KaDeWe to look at the toys and ate döner kabap at Mustafa’s. It was fun to drink beer in line and then eat delicious food.

Yesterday we went to the Wannsee Conference house and I got to walk in the backyard. I want to live there so badly. I then broke off from the group to just see Bonhoeffer’s house. I got there not expecting the guide to be there but he was. He was a wonderful archivist who let me see the whole of the house and gave me such great information for my thesis. I was also asked to come back to do research there as well.

I need some coffee so I went to Fassbender und Rausch. I had an iced coffee with a tiramisu tort. It was freakin bomb. I loved it so much and did not want to leave the cool of the café but I had to meet with the class. We toured the information center under the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. We discussed the museum but one thing people do not seem to notice is the voids that are created intentionally within Holocaust memorials. Broken space meant to represent broken relationships. It is one of the things within studying the Holocaust that always points me back to the need for Christ. 

We concluded out day with dinner near the hostel and packing. Berlin is such a wonderful city but I am looking forward to seeing the Disneyland-meets-a-frat-party that is Prague. Will update in a few days.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I have found the place that I wish to call "Heimat"

Hello all! I have survived the crazy flights and severe case of jet lag that has gotten me to Germany. I felt, just as last time, that I was at home, walking the streets of LA and spending time with friends. This time was a little different because I had friends who have been studying in Germany this past year come to visit. We went out to dinner at a traditional German place and then got coffee after. While we did these things, we had such great conversation about what is going on in each others lives. I love being able to be vulnerable with these women and they have been the same with me. We may not agree on everything all the time, but we love one another and are able to encourage each other regardless. Parting with them was hard, but luckily for me they come back to the states in about two months.

Yesterday was insane. We had a full schedule that included basically a walking tour of the whole city, visiting various spots and memorials. I had the opportunity to share some of what I have studied, which is such a blessing, and introduced a few of my fellow students to doener! The day was amazing and tiring so we all came back and went to bed. Today is going to be an extremely different day for me. I am going to an archive in Kreuzburg and then a cafe with my classmates. I am hoping to convince some of them to join me on an adventure to Bonhoeffer's house and a memorial center to resistance movements. We shall see!

I will write more in detail later today. I am still really tired and my body is not cooperating. Keep prayers coming for me. I think it is the tiredness but I keep getting extreme feelings of loneliness and low self-worth.

PS: Heimat means hometown.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Ich bin nach Deutschland gehen!

Hey all! I am leaving TODAY! I am pretty excited about this trip and all the possibilities that it may hold. I am trying to be prepared but not be so focused on my expectations. I would ask you to pray for me as I am abroad as well as pray for the students I am with. I get to actually do some teaching on this trip, which is incredibly exciting for me and I will be sharing as much as I can with you each day. I have about an hour until I leave for the airport so I will leave it here for now but please be praying. The next time I update, I will be in Germany!