Friday, October 14, 2005

Remembering Germany's Past

I am deleting everything that I wrote the other night because it was so ridiculously scatterbrained. However, I will leave it on here that I downloaded Skype on the unreliable wireless I am mooching off of. So, feel free to add me.

Today I went to the Deutsches Historisches Museum by myself. I actually could only figure my way to the part of the museum that I.M.Pei designed because I didn't see any maps to lead me around. (Picture on the right is where I was) I'll eventually figure my way over to the Zeighaus, which is the older part of the museum. The part the I.M. Pei designed houses the temporary exhibitions, so I stayed in this one exhibit titled Der Krieg und seine Folgen 1945: Kriegsende und Erinnerungspolitik in Deutschland (Translation: The War & Its Consequences 1945: The End of the War and Politics of Rememberance). It was absolutely fascinating because it dealt with how Germany changed after the end of World War II, from 1945 until present day. The exhibit was actually only supposed to last through August, but it's been extended until October 23.

I get the feeling that many Americans think that the Germans sort of try hiding the past, but that's not true at all. The Germans were affected by Hitler's regime just as much as any other country and they, too, had to deal with the aftermath. Much of the country was left in ruins, many women were left husbandless, children were orphaned, and the country was split into quadrants. Seeing it from this perspective has really made me realize that Germany has struggled with its past in the sense that they could not really be patriotic like Americans, because the rest of the world saw it as coming too close to Nazism. I suppose it will only be a matter of time before that is all changed with younger generations, but the past will surely not be forgotten.

The picture on the left is one I took while walking on Unter den Linden, one of the main roads here in Berlin. It is where the Deutsches Historisches Museum is, along with Humboldt Universität, the Deutsche Guggenheim, and a good amount of other museums. It's the Fernsehen Turm and I have no idea what the other pretty building is.

On a completely different note, I am beginning to feel more comfortable here. Granted I have not been speaking nearly as much German as I should be, but considering classes will be starting on Monday and I will be moving into my apartment in about two weeks, I feel like I'm getting to know the city better. I am remembering the U-bahn and S-bahn systems better and I don't constantly have to pull out a map. Tomorrow I will be going back to the FU to make sure I know my way around on Monday. I'm including a picture of the Silberlaube in this post, which in my opinion is extraordinarily ugly. The Silberlaube is essentially the student center, I think. (Dan, if you're reading this, I think the Doshisha University is probably a million times prettier than this one building that is central to the FU.) Isn't it awful looking? David, another MiddKid who was here in the past, described it as the "big, ugly, silver building that you can't miss" in a packet he wrote for us on where to go look for housing advertisments. I think he is completely right.

My last thing that I would like to post about today is regarding beer. Yes, I am in Germany, and yes, beer is part of the culture here. Like I have said in an earlier post, it is strange to see prepubescent kids on the streets urging each other on to chug a half liter bottle of beer. Today was my first experience buying beer from a supermarket because I offered to bring some beer to my friend Rob's place tonight. Alex and I went to Kaiser's in Wittendorfplatz, which is down the street from our hotel. When people at home told me, "Yeah, beer is cheaper than water over in Germany!," I thought they were kidding. No, everyone who told me that was in fact 100% correct. And to prove it, I am posting my receipt for the three half liter bottles of beer that I bought. One can see Hasseroeder (0.59€), Holsten Pils (0.55€), and Paulaner (0.60€), with an 8 cent deposit on each one. The last item on the receipt, the DW Tasche, was a canvas bag I bought in order to carry the beer back with me. (That is one thing that is very different here: You have to buy the plastic bags for your groceries, or buy canvas bags and reuse them. Canvas bags are useful, so I figured I should buy one.) And yes, you can see that the canvas bag cost me 1.00€, which is more expensive than one bottle of beer.

1. I will be trying a lot of beer this year and there are a lot of beers to try.
2. Beer is in fact cheaper than water, but of course not healthier.
3. The Germans are really all about saving the environment with using canvas bags for everything.


jennyschneider said...

I've been reading your blog! With gusto! :) I miss you and love you lots.


Stiny said...

YO SANNIE, this is a comment...way to drink the beer, you not being too allergic anymore makes me happy, its liek kate over here ending four years of vegetarianism for spanish and steak will conquer the world and I shall be queen! With cake.

Dan said...

Don't delete your entries! I like your stream-of-consciousness stuff. Even if it is scatterbrained.

Yeah, the Doshisha campus isn't anywhere near as nice as Middlebury, but it's a pretty campus. Though, after riding on a bus along the ocean and through the mountains this weekend, I think Japan beats Vermont (gasp!)

It's nice to get a historical perspective from Germany - you'll have to post more on that once you start classes. And I'll post my thoughts after visiting Hiroshima.

Oh, and I'll buy skype credit soon so I can call you more!