This last week finished up my time learning what could be considered the basics of the German language. I moved into the higher class this week and we’re starting the B1 curriculum tomorrow, but things happened outside of school as well, this was actually a rather all around interesting week.
To start off with, allow me to say that I follow quite a few swanky photographer accounts on Instagram. You know the type, they’re freelance fashion photographers, hopping from one glamorous destination to the next and their feed is full of pictures of beautiful people in beautiful places and very nice looking food. Well last week one of these photographers was in Berlin for fashion week and when he posted a picture of a latte, and I saw that not only did I know exactly where that cafe was, but that I had piggybacked it’s free wifi before but never been, I knew that I should go.
The cafe is called Pure Origins, it’s actually under the elevated section of the S-bahn that crosses through Humboldt University’s campus. This means that it is built in an arch shape and is nearly always full of students studying or chatting. They use locally roasted coffee beans and have definitely considered how they appear on social media, their website is predominantly in English, they make latte art, and it’s just really cozy and photogenic. Plus the have fresh made salads and cakes and it’s all pretty reasonably priced. Say 2€60 for a cappuccino and arounD 3€ for a slice of cake. Since it is in a very convenient location for me, I’ve been going pretty often, it’s also where both this post and my last post were written. If you’re looking for a cool cafe in the center of Berlin, I definitely recommend it.
In class, Friday was my last day in my old class and we celebrated by having a test, I found it really incredibly easy which only confirmed that I was doing the right thing by switching. My new class started my week with a test on all of A2 as a sort of exit exam, I got an 83 without having learned all of the grammar on the test so I’m glad to be moving to a more challenging level. Also on Monday, my old teacher popped her head in to say she was glad I was able to move into this class and that she thinks it will be much better for me, which was really nice of her. I really liked her as a teacher and I think it’s too bad that I only had one week of her.
But anyway, tomorrow we officially start the B2 curriculum and we have a new teacher. I bought my books this morning and flipped through them, there are pages with actual texts and the vocabulary has moved on to words that don’t come up everyday. Now my books look like a level of language learning that I’m used to operating on, where I’ve got the broad strokes and can finally concentrate on the fine points.
In other extra curricular news, today is Bastille Day, which really makes me wish I was in Paris. To celebrate, on Saturday, the French embassy through a French-German friendship street fair in front of the Brandenburger Tor. There was music and dancers and more importantly the Galeries Lafayette were selling French food! I had some actual Quiche Lorraine and Moelleux au Chocolat and they were absolutely magnifique! And to kick off the celebrations, the Mayor of Berlin and the French Ambassador both gave speeches, they switched between French and German and I was able to understand every word, which felt really amazing. They were talking about forming a bond across Europe between Paris and Berlin, and at that moment I felt the most integrated I ever have here, because even though I’m not European, I’ve learned both of these languages and would willingly make a life in either of these countries. It made me feel that by tying some of my life to Berlin and to Paris, that I was by turn tying Germany and France closer together, which feels pretty cool.
Continuing my efforts to celebrate Bastille Day, today I went to the Galeries Lafayette. It was very cute, the staff were all wearing a tri-color and we’re giving out free tricolor macarons. I myself bought three macarons, yuzu, Tahitian vanilla, and Harlequin which tastes mostly like cotton candy. They were absolutely fantastic and a great way to celebrate from afar. The store has a whole fine foods section which I explored, it turns out that they even sell Monoprix brand food. In France that’s just like buying Stop & Shop brand bread or whatever, a fine way to save a little money but thoroughly unremarkable. Since we’re in Germany though they marked up all the prices! It’s pretty hilarious to see store brand bread marked up as fine food. It also made me a little homesick for France, I was surrounded by all these brands I saw everyday for the past year and it reminded me that even though I’m enjoying Berlin, I do still feel that I’m missing out by not being in Paris. And in all honesty, I’m more disappointed to be missing Bastille Day than I was about missing the 4th of July.
And finally, on Sunday it was back to Mauer Park. The sky was pretty determined to make it rain, but it wasn’t so bad, and I was still able to enjoy some music and some food between the showers. And most importantly, I’ve determined that next week I’m actually going to eat one of those whole grilled fish they sell. They always smell fantastic that I’m pretty certain I’ll be able to like it, and they really just look so cool that I want to take a picture of them every time I see them but don’t want to be that weird to another person. So look forward to those pictures next week.
And so that was my week (and a bit) I’ll be writing again soon so keep a look out. And I hope you have an excellent week!