|Hello, friends! Well, I have gotten a bit behind on this journal. It is hard to write about what we are doing, because it seems so superficial and if I tried to write about everything we did and felt and saw, it would be very long and also difficult to articulate.
Anyway. Berlin was interesting. I am fascinated by this place that only 20 years ago was divided by a wall and communism for that matter. Also, in general, Germany has such a thriving community and culture after such tragedy only 70 or so years ago. I spent a lot of time talking with Svennie°s boyfriend Frito about all of this. Paige became quite glazed in the eye (probably like everyone who is reading this blog right now) when I brought it up, so it was nice to have talks with someone who enjoyed the conversation. Frito°s Father worked for HP for a long time before the wall fell, and so he remembers very well having to deal with intense security guards at the airport, and all the food shortages, ect.. I just love getting the perspective of someone who was there. I feel they should require high school students to visit the countries they are studying in history, because it is so different, seeing the land, talking with people, and just the feel of the place in general instead of reading a book with names and dates.
Okay, I digress. Berlin was super cool. Frito dropped us off basically right where the gates to the wall were, where in 1989 people were finally allowed to walk free from one side to the other. It was pretty neat- despite the huge crowd of tourists (this is becoming quite a theme, the tourist annoyed with the other tourists). We walked all over, Svennie was an excellent tour guide. It was so great because she was able to give her thoughts on their history, and not just something she is supposed to recite from a book. We walked all through what used to be East Berlin. Definitely still some remnants of the occupation. Large, Soviet concrete blocks painted in bright colors only recently. A LOT of construction.
Frito mentioned that although in general, people were very happy when the wall fell because of course they wanted to be able to move about freely and live on their terms, there was also many negative consequences to it. People who always had jobs were left unemployed. With western life comes western problems, Unemployment and disease being two of the biggest. This is something I have been hearing from many people I°ve talked to, especially in central Europe. And this is something you don°t learn in school in America, or at least not in my school. If only there was an easy solution.
We ate dinner in the west half of the city, and afterwards went for a walk around the area with all the shops. It was just interesting, even 20 years later, the western part of the city had such a different vibe. I would like to spend more time there, I have heard they have a thriving youth culture, with a big alternative music and art scene. It definitely had an amazing energy.