<![CDATA[Abenteuer 2015<br />Honors Berlin/Jena - Blog]]>Thu, 25 Feb 2016 18:02:33 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[Journal Reflection #5--Final Retrospective Reflection]]>Sat, 15 Aug 2015 23:57:09 GMThttp://abenteuer2015.weebly.com/blog/journal-reflection-5-final-retrospective-reflectionOn Berlin

I enjoy making lists. Nice, neat lists, long, lengthy lists, lists in pencil and lists in pens. Lists of things to do, things to achieve, things to see. And five weeks of nonstop adventuring leaves a lot of recollections, a surfeit that could fill several lists. In this final, retrospective reflection post, I have pared down Berlin to a single list—ten big things that have stuck with me long after the jetlag has worn off.

1) The U-Bahn

Quite simply, my favorite aspect of Berlin. My Type A personality tremendously appreciated the cleanliness and timeliness of Deutsch Bahn’s service. Unlike in Seattle, where a two minute delay becomes a ten minute delay, Berlin’s public transportation was always on time. Always. I might have simply been lucky, but I think it has more to do with the exceptional quality and connectivity of the system. The U-Bahn is a truly exemplary model that all public transportation systems should aspire to (*ahem, Seattle*).

2) The Architecture

Visually, Berlin is a strikingly eclectic mix of the old and the new: shiny, sleek buildings juxtaposed with churches from the 1700s. I appreciated the lack of standardization: every apartment building looked different from its neighbor, every street had a unique visual mark. Every structure reflected a part of German history or culture; their facades were not faceless, mass-produced, scrubbed clean of meaning, but rather imbued with a carefully crafted sense of purpose.

3) Falafel

After testing how many döner sandwiches was too man döner sandwiches (after five consecutive döner dinners, I needed to go vegetarian for a while), I switched over to falafel, very reluctantly. Normally, I do not like falafel, as it is very easy to overcook it into crispy dryness. So you can imagine my surprise upon finding a falafel sandwich that I liked, or, I should shamefully confess, scarfed down in five massive bites. Gudé Falafel and Shawarma, behind the Schlesiches Strase U-Bahn, has mastered the ancient art of falafel frying. I doubt I will every find falafel has as decent as this.

4) National Consensus

Like all elections, this one is bound to be polarizing. People will be split on whom to vote for, and more importantly, why to vote for them. I've been following the election news, and reading peoples' comments on the articles. And I've come to realize that, as Americans, we aren't just polarized in terms of our political preferences, but also in our attitudes towards each other.

I'm talking about comments where people angrily accuse those who rely on governmental support (food stamps, Social Security, etc.) of being "entitled". And this isn't a new accusation. There is a national obsession with classifying disadvantaged individuals as selfish and lazy.

It never really bothered me that others thought like this, because I know that, statistically speaking, the number of individuals who abuse the system is far, far less than the number of individuals who desperately need assistance.

But that was before I went to Germany and realized that Germans cannot fathom what it must be like to be poor in America because of our disdainful attitudes towards the "have-nots." You see, in Germany, there is something called national consensus. People have agreed to take care of each other by paying taxes (progressive taxes, meaning that the rich get taxed the most) into a system that then disburses those funds to the neediest. I asked people if they were upset that they were funding somebody else's college education, somebody else's pension, somebody else's unemployment check. They stared at me, puzzled, and said "Uhhhhh no?"

Because, they reasoned--what if they got sick? What if they died and left underage children behind? What if they lost their job? Wouldn't they want the state to help them? And wouldn't they want others to understand that needing assistance didn't mean that they were weak or lazy?

National consensus. It means thinking about what it might be like to be a struggling college student. Or a struggling single mother. Or a struggling elderly widow. It means looking out for your fellow citizen, making sure they have enough to eat, a place to sleep, a way to better themselves. It means thinking as a nation, not as an individual.

We don't have national consensus. And we won't unless we truly try to empathize with those who are disadvantaged, instead of writing them off as "entitled." Think about how different your life would be without all the privileges that you currently have. Try to understand where others come from. That is the only way we build national consensus. The notion that you can pull yourself up by your bootstraps is ridiculous. We all rely on each other; the question is whether we will be able to rely on each other in the future.

5) Graffiti

I never considered graffiti to be art. To me, graffiti was always something a gang member would sneak off in the middle of the night in a dark hoodie to crassly paint on the side of a train cart or brick wall. Berlin graffiti is spectacular and everywhere. Its power forced me to reconsider what I considered “art”. The graffiti contained poignant, universal messages, and the fact that it was displayed on a wall made it truly a conversation between the artist and society. The middleman of the museum was bypassed—the message passed straight through to the people.

6) Ambiguity

Not a single topic we covered during this study abroad could be “resolved.” When you are contemplating issues surrounding immigration, identity, and cultural appropriation, there are no clear-cut answers or simple conclusions. In fact, the very nature of these topics is up for debate—who is an immigrant? What is identity? Even my research project did not have a definite conclusion, because there were too many factors to consider all at once. It really is true that the more you learn, the less you feel you know. AS you expand your thinking, and as your world becomes bigger, you realized that there is so much more out there to learn. It is both a terrifying and inspiring realization.

7) Language

I have written a lot about language in my other blogs posts, as well as in my final paper, but I just want to reiterate how important language is. Language binds us; it creates surprising and complex relationships and guides modes of interaction. Arabic allowed me to communicate with a Turkish restaurant owner (the same place with the heavenly falafel) in Berlin. Spanish allowed me to communicate with a group of Chilean professional skateboarders on a Delta flight. Without language, these people would have been just people: people I happened to sit next to or order a meal from. Language allowed my interactions with these people to extend beyond the cursory.

8) History

History has always been my guilty pleasure. Guilty because history isn’t something that is considered important (at all). But history surrounded me in Berlin, and I appreciated being able to view the things I saw through a historic lens. I understood the Berlin Wall as more than a collection of murals. The WWII memorabilia in the bunker we toured wasn’t just old stuff: it belong to a terrible period in time. History may have been in the past, but it was constructed by people like us—and this world will eventually become history, constructed by us, left to the hands of another generation to change.

9) Kreuzberg Sunsets

Nine ‘o clock on the suburban street and the world is silent. Not a soul in sight—not even a cat. Nin ‘o clock on a Kreuzberg street, with the sun dripping into a purplish blue sky, and the night has just begun. Restaurants, cafes and ice cream parlors brimming with friends, couples and relatives. Immaculately dressed Berliners lounging outside in chairs, beer in hand. Lighthearted conversations. Chatter. Heated political debates. Bright lights, cars rushing past, glimmering graffiti, shiny cobblestone paths, trees swaying in the breeze, people swaying to the music, the street swaying to the rhythm of life.

Did I mention that this was all on a Tuesday? Berliners truly know how to live life.

10) Independence/Being Alone

Freedom is riding the U-Bahn with a crunched-up map in hand and a backpack weighing down your shoulders. Freedom is striding around city streets and taking in the view. Freedom is exploring a strange city filled with strangers who speak a language you don’t understand. Freedom is exploring the world alone as a woman. Because, as a woman, I have to worry about my personal safety when travelling alone. Horrific things can happen to women, and so we are instructed to carry pepper spray with us and not go out at night alone.

And while I didn’t go out adventuring alone at night, I did during the day, crisscrossing the city as if it were my own. Alone: just me and the map. I got lost, I asked for directions in broken German and many hand gestures. I wandered. Roamed. I felt safe, but I also pushed myself out of my comfort zone by choosing to see everything alone: in Seattle, I usually take a friend with me when I go out.

Exploring alone allowed me to prove that I could do such a thing as a woman. And as a person. Being alone is associated with so many negative terms—but it shouldn’t. My time alone allowed me to reflect upon who I am and what my goals are as I simultaneously appreciated the experience of being in Berlin. Being alone is independence. Exploring a city and yourself is independence.
So. What does Berlin mean to me? It means a lot of things: miniscule observations and grand impressions. It is a city that came alive from the pages of my history textbooks and became a living entity.  Berlin, ion my mind, is still ambiguous. The experiences are all mixing together, still taking form and gaining purpose. But I’m ok with that. Maybe one day Berlin will make perfect sense. Maybe it won’t. What matter is that it happened. 

<![CDATA[Final Paper]]>Sun, 02 Aug 2015 22:31:59 GMThttp://abenteuer2015.weebly.com/blog/final-paper
Of course, the document uploader messed up the spacing of the paper, so below you'll find a Word version that should have the correct format. 
File Size: 50 kb
File Type: docx
Download File

<![CDATA[Journal Reflection #4]]>Mon, 20 Jul 2015 15:08:58 GMThttp://abenteuer2015.weebly.com/blog/journal-reflection-4In this last reflection piece, I will attempt to put together some of the many parts of the program “Reenacting German and American Identities,” specifically touching upon historical narratives, identity labels, historical appropriation, and my own reflections on identity. This post will by no means synthesize every discussion that took place over the course of the program, or even the four day section in Jena: there is simply too much to discuss all at once. That said, I would like to start this post by examining the differing historical narratives between the United States and Germany.

I was fortunate to be able to participate in a discussion with students and professors from Friedrich-Schiller University and U.S. General Consul Scott Reidmann about German perceptions of America. Naturally, the NSA came up, as well as American’s openness when it comes to posting on the internet. Consul Reidmann suggested that Americans are much more individualistic when it comes to choosing what is appropriate to post online because we have a very individualistic history, having “thrown off the yoke of British rule.” Germany’s history, on the other hand, is a story of unification, a binding of different city-states and kingdoms into one nation. I wondered if this historical difference between the two nations could explain why Germans as a whole are much more supportive of a nationalized health system and heavily subsidized higher education. It appears that the strong “states’ right” movement in the US hinders such national consensus from forming, as it has in Germany.

Simplifying German and American identity into one idea is overly simplistic, of course. The definition of what being “German” or “American” means can vary greatly between individuals. Looking closer at the history of both nations, it is also clear that one historical narrative cannot accurately describe the formation of such identities. Germany’s East/West divide created a part of Germany that, to this day, tends to believe more firmly in socialist, community-oriented ideals. One only needs to look at the varying portrayals of Native Americans in the former GDR and West Germany: in the GDR, Native Americans were portrayed as the protagonists against an oppressive colonizer. This portrayal attempted to validate the idea that the GDR was being oppressed by the West. Similarly, varying interpretations of the Confederate flag in the US attest to the power of regional forces in determining identity. Many Southerners are still inclined to believe that the Confederate flag represents states’ rights and southern culture, as opposed to racism (the dominant narrative in non-Southern states).

How German and American identity is defined also has its roots in the appropriation of history through what is taught in the educational systems. In Jena, many of my fellow American students confessed that they did not learn much about Native Americans. Unlike Germany’s strong focus on the Holocaust (concentration camp visits are mandatory at many schools), few states in the US focus on the history of Native Americans. And few people have been on an Indian Reservation. Similarly, Japanese internment is something that is also shied away from. “Winners write history”—this appears to be true in some countries, like the US, but not in others (Germany—although in the case of WWII, arguably nobody won). The depiction of historical events, or other cultures, in textbooks and in classrooms, shapes an entire generation’s outlook on a particular event: where loyalties and sympathies lie, how the past is interpreted, and how this interpretation is incorporated into the future. For instance, it is generally taught that Union winning the Civil War was “good,” and that this “goodness” necessarily implies that the Confederate’s way of life (slavery) was “bad.” What is the dominant interpretation of the Union winning was that it was “bad’—would slavery have been re-instituted as the norm?

Identity is a term that is highly subjective, always shifting, and very elusive. Identity takes on many forms an can be influenced by many different factors—race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, language, religion, geographic location, socioeconomic status, immigrant status, education level, occupation, etc…This program allowed me to explore identity both through academic and non-academic lenses; I explored other people’s identities, as well as my own. Some of the strongest memories I have from this study abroad program involve my identity as an Arab-American. It seemed that everywhere I went in Berlin (and even Jena), I ran into Arabs who had their own falafel or doner stands. I even helped two women on vacation from Palestine navigate the U-Bahn once. A lot of the people I talked to (in Arabic) were surprised at how well I spoke Arabic, given that I have lived in the United States my entire life. I realized, through these discussions, that I had something in common with all of these Arabs: we were all products of diaspora. We were what happens when war ravages your country and the economy is in shambles: people relocate to faraway lands and build new lives. Germany, the United States, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, Zambia, Nigeria…these are just a few places where I personally know Arabs have relocated to in order to build better lives. I had never really considered my identity as being a part of this great migration trend, as being a product of a diaspora, but I realized in Germany that just because I wasn’t the one who immigrated didn’t mean that I wasn’t a part of this whole movement. I am connected to these strangers by language and by distance from our ancestral roots.

I would like to conclude by saying that I don’t know what kind of impact this study abroad program will have on me quite yet, considering it ended just two days ago. What I do know is that I already feel more globally connected, especially given my newfound realizations about my own identity. The question truly becomes “now what?”—how will I apply what I have learned in Berlin and Jena to my life in the Seattle? Only time will answer these questions. 

<![CDATA[Journal Reflection #3]]>Fri, 03 Jul 2015 11:39:16 GMThttp://abenteuer2015.weebly.com/blog/journal-reflection-3This week I have had a lot of interesting conversations. Part of this is due to the subpar Wi-Fi available at the hostel, which means that I am forced to interact with the world rather than scroll through Facebook. *Sigh* But I guess talking to people is good—I mean, aren’t we inherently social beings? Our program theme is “identity,” and conversations are prime place where identification occurs. In a conversation, we position ourselves in relationships according to who has knowledge, who has information, who has the more interesting story to tell. Conversations can reveal which kinds of identities we identify with.

I finally managed to visit Ruby on Tuesday, a small boutique two doors down from the hostel. The owner, Martyna, is an artist who makes jewelry using silk screening. It is stunning. Some of her pieces are on acrylic, others are on gold and teal metals. I wandered in and started asking her the usual questions—how much does this cost? What is this made out of?—but I soon found myself engrossed in a conversation about her work. How did she make such amazing designs? What materials did she use? She only hinted at the answers, reluctant to give up her secrets of the trade. We talked about her long commute to Kreuzberg from Wedding. About the Mauerpark flea market. Her voice was very soothing. She had a big dog. I wished I could be as artistic as she was. I wished I had a dog. I left this conversation determined to buy a piece of jewelry from her later on, and with a newfound appreciation for people who have the patience to sit in front of tiny little pieces of metal and turn them into shiny, lustrous objects.

On Wednesday, I interviewed a lecturer at Humboldt. The majority of the conversation was strictly about my research project. Towards the end, however, when the topic of the research project had waned, we began to contrast Americans’ and Germans’ attitudes towards universal healthcare. He told me that most other Germans he had talked to, including himself, cannot fathom the divisive debates raging over ‘Obamacare.’ In his words, even the current conservative government “wouldn’t dare get rid of our healthcare system because it’s fucking great.” There was a similar attitude towards education: the rest of the world apparently finds it fascinating that American students pay so much for a degree. Professor Isensee put it nicely during his lecture: in Germany, “education is a basic human right, and you don’t charge for that. But this is something that our society has decided that others have not yet.” The idea of solidarity and consensus were prevalent in both Professor Isensee’s lecture and in this tangential conversation with the lecturer. In the United States, we are fixated on individualism, which hinders us from empathizing with each other.

The strangest conversation of the week occurred at Good Pie in Kreuzberg. Good Pie is owned by a gang of British dudes. I asked them what was up with the pies, and they told me that their pies were “like the kind in England, but better.” I asked them why they decided to come to Berlin, and they replied: “well, it’s a pretty funky city, so we thought, why not? And besides, this city was crying out for some good pies.”

Disconnected from Netflix, Facebook, and the other wonders of the internet, conversation has become a greater part of my life, and something that I hope to continue more in Seattle. Sitting down, standing up—talking. Speaking with our voices instead of our thumbs. Going back to the good old days. 

<![CDATA[Journal Reflection #2]]>Fri, 26 Jun 2015 18:21:11 GMThttp://abenteuer2015.weebly.com/blog/journal-reflection-2

Germany is much more open than I thought it would be and this is manifested in both "good" and "bad" ways, although I use these terms quite subjectively. The differences I view aren't so much "good" or "bad" as much as they are just different. 

One of the manifestations of openness that I was not expecting is a tolerance for graffiti. It may be a "Kreuzberg thing" because that is where I have noticed the most controversial splashing of paint on the walls. A few days ago, for instance,  a massive hand went up on the façade of the building, a middle finger proudly pointed upwards towards the heavens, a massive "F-you" scrawled above. The Finger, as I like to call it,  has not been painted over yet* and I'm unsure  that it will be. What I do know, however, is that if this finger had graced any building in the United States, it probably would have been painted over overnight. If it was allowed to stay up a massive uproar would have ensued.  It would be a public relation scandal. A crass attack on family values. Etc. etc. The graffiti here is more explicit, more angsty, more real – it is more open in content. Some people might be offended by The Finger, and at first I was a little surprised that something so offensive could be drawn out in the public so big, but I have come to appreciate it. I mean, don't we all have those days when we're just "---- it?"

The next area of openness deals with memorialization. There is an astonishing degree of preservation, from World War II bunkers to the Wall to Soviet soldiers' graffiti on the Reichstag. There is no shame in keeping these pieces of history alive even if they are ugly or come from a terrible time in German history. German students, I have been told, must go on a field trip to a concentration camp. This stands in stark contrast to the United States, where students are not expected to visit Japanese internment camps or the Trail of Tears, where human rights atrocities were committed. I wonder how history books in Germany portray the dark moments in German history, because American textbooks usually gloss over xenophobia and violence against non-–WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants). American school children are unfortunately served a large dose of Charlie Brown Thanksgiving instead of reality. 

Related to memorialization is the lack of memorialization of certain things. For instance, Hitler's Bunker was destroyed, replaced with a parking lot. Yet in the US, Andrew Jackson still graces the $20 bill (ironic not only that we celebrate the man who ordered thousands of native Americans to march to their deaths, but also because Jackson single-handedly destroyed the national banking system and plunged the nation into a deep recession). I was surprised to learn, after the Charleston shootings, that the Confederate flag still flies over the capital building in Charleston--why is this flag memorialized in this way? Memorialization is a two-way street. There needs to be a balance between what to memorialize and what not to memorialize.

It is not my intention to glorify the way that things are run here. Germany still has to deal with many of the same issues the United States is dealing with – sexism, xenophobia, racism, income inequality, and a massive influx of refugees with nowhere to go. What the Germans have started to establish, at a much faster pace than the United States, is a national discourse about these topics. Professor Villegas brought up an interesting point during Wednesday's class – what happens when things like racism are not dealt with explicitly but you have easy access to weapons? Something like the Charleston shootings. In the United States, we are perhaps too frightened to call things what they really are, substituting week euphemisms (like "mentally ill" or "troubled" instead). For a place that was "closed" for so long due to ideological and political factors, Germany shifted course and is starting to exhibit the kind of openness Gorbachev hoped for when he declared "glasnost." 

*Walking back from the U-Bahn station today (Friday), I noticed that The Finger has been painted over. It lasted a total of five days. 

<![CDATA[Journal Reflection #1]]>Sat, 20 Jun 2015 11:48:08 GMThttp://abenteuer2015.weebly.com/blog/journal-reflection-1I’ve been bad. I told myself I would post a reflection to my blog every single day, but that has not happened. So this post will have to summarize nearly a week’s worth of observations and experiences.

Thus far, I have had the greatest sense of déjà vu being here—Berlin, Kreuzberg in particular, reminds me a lot of Lebanon. There are many of the same smells. The way of life is quite similar—walking to the market, buying fresh produce every day. People smoking everywhere. In contrast to the States, people are out and about late at night—the street the hostel is on is quite empty in the morning and afternoon, but when dusk hits a sudden bustle and hubbub arises.

Interestingly, my lack of German language skills has not hindered me so far. I have been able to find people who speak English to point me in the right direction. Whenever I hop onto a subway, for instant, I just ask the nearest person “Kreuzberg?” or “Warschauer Strase?” to make sure that I’m headed the right way. There are also a lot of immigrants from Arab countries in Berlin, especially Lebanon. I have bene trying to eat as much Mediterranean food as possible as I am not a big fan of sausage and sauerkraut. Usually I have been able to get discounts on my food by conversing in Arabic with the owners—this is a very Arab thing to do, discount things for people who are “insiders” as a demonstration of solidarity. My experiences with language have been interesting—the Arabs are intrigued that I speak Arabic, having been born and raised in the U.S. And similarly, the Spanish speakers I sat next to on the plane were interested to know that I took four years of Spanish in high school but hadn’t even been to Mexico.

Another thing I’ve noticed is that there is a lot of graffiti here in Berlin, but I almost hesitate to call it graffiti because it is really beautiful. I think that the line between graffiti and art is quite blurred here in Berlin, and also the line between graffiti and political statements. Many works of graffiti are like murals--in Krezuberg there are also a lot of “Free Gaza” and “Free Palestine” tags. I wonder if graffiti is more tolerated here than in the States, where a conscious effort is made to paint over it—perhaps graffiti in the streets is an extension of the Berlin Wall graffiti? Is graffiti a “Berlin things” like cream cheese on hot dogs is a “Seattle thing?”

Something that is very different from the States is that leisure is built into every day. Even at the secondary school we visited, the classes are much less rigid compared to the U.S. The stores all close here relatively early—usually eight or nine PM and all day Sunday: it is not 24/7 like the States. Maybe we Americans have just become too work-obsessed. Maybe it all comes down to different economic structures—a capitalist Germany that has socialist elements (such as universal health care) versus a fiercely individualist streak in the US. Maybe materialism is not as strong in Germany, limiting the need to make a lot of money to buy expensive cars and big houses.

In terms of my research project, I have been able to get a little insight into the German higher education system and the expectations placed on college students. Entering university appears to be more difficult here, as an entrance exam (the abituer) must be passed. And the chances of passing the abituer if one is not in a gymnasium are slim—your fate seems to be tied to decisions made at a very young age, when your parents decide whether you will be attending a secondary school that will prepare you for college or a vocation. At the university level, students don’t change their major nearly as often as American students, and expected wages for STEM occupations appear to be much lower than in the States. The teacher we shadowed at the secondary school has a wife who is a doctor, and he told us that she does not make that much money, especially in comparison to doctor friends they have in the States. The equalization of wages across fields may mean that there is less pressure to major in something that will pay well. In the United States, STEM fields typically lead to the highest wages/lifetime earnings, so those fields are very appealing to many students. 

<![CDATA[Recap of Journey ]]>Tue, 16 Jun 2015 11:32:27 GMThttp://abenteuer2015.weebly.com/blog/recap-of-journeyRecap of journey:
Long. It was long.
Didn't get a wink of sleep on the nine hour flight from Portland to Amsterdam thanks to the hyperactive children who kept wailing and screeching throughout the entire flight. Their parents clearly did not slip them a little NyQuil so that the rest of us could get a little sleep. Thanks, parents.

I haven't slept in over 48 hours as of writing this post. However, college has prepared me well for traveling internationally without sleep: all you really need is a nice big mug of Starbucks coffee to get you to your connecting flight.

Despite the lack of sleep, I had a pretty good time getting over here. I sat next to a very attractive Spanish exchange student on the way to Amsterdam. And on the flight to Berlin, I sat in between a group of Chilean professional skateboarders. They were pretty badass, covered in tattoos they had designed themselves. These encounters are proof that Spanish is always useful. Even on your way to Germany.

Amsterdam's Schiphold Airport is a pretty interesting place. They sell tulips everywhere. And mugs with references to pot. It was very Seattle, especially when I walked off the plane and the first thing I saw (other than a lot of orange), was a Starbucks. The line was filled with a bunch of confused Americans trying to order "the usual" only to realize that the people at this particular Starbucks  didn't necessarily know what "grande nonfat iced vanilla caramel frappuchino with extra chocolate sprinkles" meant.

Speaking of Starbucks, it's interesting to see how Americans are viewed abroad. The Amsterdam Schiphold Starbucks, for instance, sold sandwiches that were "American-style," i.e. stuffed with fried chicken and melted cheese. The Chilean skateboarders told me that America needed to be "more chill," i.e. not feel inclined to control the entire world. #Truth.]]>
<![CDATA[Post #1: Departure]]>Mon, 15 Jun 2015 17:56:47 GMThttp://abenteuer2015.weebly.com/blog/blog-post

Hallo from PDX International Airport!
First things first though: the shoe + PDX carpet pic (see above). For my non-Portland friends, this is just one of many strange cultural norms from the city that's keeping it weird.

Itinerary: PDX to Amsterdam to Berlin for three weeks. Then Jena, Germany for four days. Back to Berlin for two days, then Auf Wiedersehen Deutschland! Time to head back to the good old US of A.

I will be eating an unnecessary amount of Döner and taking an equally unnecessary amount of photos. And just generally soaking in centuries of German history and stunning architecture.

So, ¡adiós América! Oh the irony of taking four years of Spanish only to study abroad in Germany! Tschüs.