As I mentioned before Goethe’s Kulturprogramm has 2 or 3 items a day that you can participate in. The friend that came to Berlin last year with Goethe recommended Berlin especially, even though it was more expensive, because of the multitude of cultural things to see and do. The Kulturprogramm includes mainly lectures (Vorträge), guided walking tours (Spaziergang), and guided museum tours (Museumsbesuche), in addition to excursions (Ausflug), bike tours, (Radfahren), an Opera visit (Opernbesuch), dancing (Tanzkurs), and a weekly happy hour-get together (Stammtisch). That’s not to mention all the other tours and museums that you can just go to on your own. All the Goethe tours are given in German, and it says you probably need an A2 or above level for it to be meaningful. I would say that’s about right. I get about 2/3+, depending on the topic, when I’ve gone.

With my need to catch up to the expected level in my class, I’ve had to spend more time reading, memorizing, practicing, etc. than I expected, so I have averaged doing something extra every other day. That feels about right with the 3.5 weeks I have here in the city.

So here’s a quick run down of what I did/saw this past week:
Monday: Got tested. The test was negative. I mean, er…, that I scored in B1.2. The test consisted of 70 multiple choice questions, a half-page essay to write, and 5 minute interview afterwards.

Tuesday: Read part of a graded reader short story in dem Mediothek. Started a list of words to memorize. Went to class, felt like I got hit by a train. Went home and STUDIED!

Wednesday: Read part of a different graded reader short story in dem Mediothek. Doubled my list of words to memorize. We also get plenty of words in class to memorize as well.

Thursday: In the morning I went on the Museumsbesuch (Museum visit) to the Deutsches Historishes Museum. The tour guide walked through germanic history from the time of Christ until 1900. I got a tingling feeling, literally, as she was talking through the Reformation and the work of Martin Luther. It was one of those cool moments when I thought…I’m here in Germany, learning about the German Reformation, in German.

Friday: Watched a German film (with German Subtitles) called ‘Goodbye, Lenin’ in the Mediothek. It’s a story about an East Berlin family that hides the fact that the Berlin wall fell from their ultra-communist mother, who fell into a coma just before the wall fell, so she wouldn’t get sick again. Class. Now have close to 200 words to have memorized by the end of the weekend, b/c I’m sure I’ll have 200 more by the end of next week.

Saturday: Went on a 5 hour (w/a 30 min brake) walking tour of Berlin in English. This was fantastic–I highly recommend Charlie. It’s run by New Berlin Tours. This was one of their free tours, and you only pay what you feel it’s worth at the end–I gave (the average rate of) €10. They have these in major European cities, and if the others are anything like this one, definitely try it out. The zoo also had a €1 entrance fee after 6pm, so a couple of us headed over there to check it out. It was nice but not really that impressive compared to one’s in the states. Knut the baby polar bear that has stirred up some trouble was already in bed, so we didn’t get to see him.

Sunday: Went to an English-speaking international church (non-denom, as far as I could tell). Decent service and sermon, but no one talked to me, even when I went to the after-service fellowship time that they specifically invited visitors to. Maybe I’m just too ugly or scary looking. I felt compelled to write an email to the pastor–trying to be very constructive vs critical–to let him know my experience. It was so opposite of what we experienced in English churches in the UK–people invited us to lunch the first visit in two of them.

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