Ok, so I've made it safely to Berlin though with much trouble and quite a bit of stress and some crying, but I've made it. I'm settled in and everything's good now. So guess what that means? Pictures! I'm going to put up some pictures of Madrid, though, because I don't have any of Berlin yet. Sorry.
But Madrid was super crazy. It was their 200th year celebration as a city, so they were crazy from that. Then there was a funeral for someone really important and even the Prime Minister was there. I have no idea if the king was...yes, Madrid still has a king. And he still has a fair amount of power...like to get rid of people in parliament whom he deems unfit. Crazy. Then my last night there Madrid won their soccer match, so needless to say, there was some extreme craziness going on in Madrid. There are so many people and they all have their dogs and the dogs go with them everywhere. It was actually neat. Until you soon realized that it almost always smelled like pee, but Stuart said he was pretty sure that was from the bums. There were a fair amount of them too. But I swear that city never stops. It's always crawling with people...wait, except at siesta. Most of the shops close down and half the people in the streets go home. But it's usually almost unbearable crowds. Stuart actually caught a pick-pocket on the metro trying to steal from another passenger. yikes! My purse was awfully close after that.
Then Monday morning went severely awry. I didn't realize how long it would take us by metro to get to the airport and I missed my check-in by a couple minutes. Well, it had been closed for a fair amount of time by the time we realized how to check-in. I was ready to freak. Thank God Stuart was there to ask questions and talk to people for me. The next flight to Berlin was at 3pm, but it was full, so I had to pay 100euro for the flight at 9:40pm. Stuart's bus back to El Puerto was scheduled to leave at 4pm. So we spent a bit of time in a part of Madrid Stuart hadn't seen yet and which was close to the airport. Then at 2:30, Stuart dropped me off at the airport, we said goodbye, and I sat in the airport for seven hours. Actually, it was eight because then my flight was delayed an hour. I hate Iberia Airlines. Never fly Iberia airlines. I had to BUY my water and food on the plane after having to wait an hour. I was so mad.
So I arrived in Berlin around 11/11:30pm, everything was closed and I couldn't get my luggage out of storage. I was so upset by this point that I just couldn't think and got on a bus for the main train station, but I ran out of small change for another ticket, so I got a taxi to my hosts' house. Thank God they're so nice; Soeren waited up for me and let me in and gave me a little tour and I went to bed almost immediately. I got up early to make up my placement test for the Goethe (pronounced GER-tah) Institut and Soeren showed me how to walk to the UBahn (metro) and helped me get a month pass for all mass transit in the city. 72euro. *dies* But I easily got to Goethe, took my test with about 10 other fellow students (two of whom are in my class), got lost walking back from the metro (I am SO glad I tried to figure it out before my class started, or I'd have been doing that in the dark), finally figured it out with help from 3 different people for directions, and had enough time to drop off some things, pick up my notebook, and quickly head back to the school.
My class is...really slow. My grammatical understanding of German is far above the level I was put in, but my speaking skills are terrible. I was almost always the first person to finish in-class assignments. I talked to my teacher after class and she said to give it a couple more days. I may just stay, though, because she's a really good teacher and I don't want to get someone who's really tough or something. She's really sweet and funny. And the first person I met from my class is a guy from Israel! I was so excited! We had to do interviews with a partner and when he said he was from Israel, I told him how I've already been there and that I'm going back. He was excited to talk to me about some places. Though he lives in Tel Aviv and I was only at the airport. Tel Aviv is pretty much the equivalent to like Chicago or something. It's very very modern and quite a hip scene. Then I met this Algerian guy and he started hitting on me so bad, so I walked away from him. But there are also three Japanese students (I've talked with two of them quite a bit), two from Spain, one from Brazil, and Italian, two Frenchmen, a Russian, and one other American named BILL. He said it in a really deep voice. Then my teacher made fun of his American accent in his German. But she also made fun of the Frenchies' accents and the Russian girl's. I think it's really interesting that no one could guess where I was from. The Algerian swore up and down that I was the Russian girl. My teacher didn't even know where I was from! Yay! I'm not a typical American to the Europeans!
My class is from 1:15 - 5:45, but we get two breaks, one half hour and one fifteen minute. They have food and drinks at the first one...and coffee, which made me very happy. I was so tired. There was a boat tour they had scheduled for this morning, but I didn't bother because I really needed to catch up on some sleep. I meant to get up at 10am today and get a fast shower so I could get down to the Kaiser's Supermarkt, but I slept till 11 instead and I was afraid of having to run to class. So instead I had a very large glass of apple juice that Suzanne and Soeren had bought for me and I'm going to get lunch on the way to class. I'll go to the Supermarkt tonight after class. And I can go on the boat tour at another time.
I have been complaining about my early miseries with Kat (my friend at Lycoming who's from Germany) and I guess she told Dr. Cagle (my German professor) and he sent me a message asking how I was doing. The Berlin May Term people are coming on Friday (YAY!) and he said we can get together that night. Thank God. People I know!!!! Then Stuart arrives on Saturday night until Tuesday morning, and Suzanne has kindly allowed him to stay here for free! I asked if she wanted some money for it and she gave me a funny look and was like, no, of course not. So, yay! Less money needed to be spent! Suzanne and Soeren are really nice and very helpful. I didn't meet Suzanne until late yesterday, right before I ran back to the airport to pick up my luggage. She actually kind of reminds me of Maddy. Tiny and sweet-spoken. haha. They both know English pretty well, too, so when I'm having trouble understanding them or if it's something really important, they'll let me know in English. I really want to have it so that by the end of my time here, they don't need to tell me anything in English. Oops, I spent too much time updating and now I have to head to class. Ok, pictures later, I promise!