A QUICK GUIDE-LINE: WANNSEE

Thanks to a colleague who suggested that I visit Wannsee as one of my weekend spring excursions. For someone like me, located in Groß-Klienicke- Potsdam, a place more or less on the boarder to Berlin, I have had to take an advantage to some boat riding and island weekend. Given that I am only 10 minutes away from Kladow- Berlin, where I can take a boat to Wannsee conveniently, I used this guild-line to find my way there.

Below is the quick guide created by my colleague in my favour :).

  • Fähre von Kladow nach Wannsee (mit normalem BVG-Ticket).
  • Bus nach ”Pfaueninsel”
  • Fähre nach ”Pfaueninsel” —–> dort Spaziergang oder Picknick
  • Weiter Spaziergang nach St-Peter-und-Paul (russisch-orthodoxe Kirsche) und Nikolkoe (Gasthaus mit schöner Terrasse und super blick) —–> kaffee trinken?.
  • Weiter Spaziergang bis Gasthaus (Biergarten) Moorlake und dann zurück zum Bus, der an der Pfaueninsel abfährt
  • Bus nach Wannsee —-> Fähre nach Kladow (wann fährt die lezte?)

To be translated into English*

Feature image by: _an

 

Late Post: Brandenburger Tor

During Paul Veigl weekend visit in Potsdam. We walked through Berlin and visited Potsdam to catch drinks.

Paul is a good friend of mine whom I met in South Africa during his one year voluntary visit at Kliptown Youth Program (KYP). He was also teaching me German at an A1 level.

We have ever since being good friends, exchanging thoughts about various topics such as politics, university, life, history and all that is in between.

These pictures reflect and remind me of his visit and stop at Brandenburger Tor (to read more),  is a structure in Berlin, Germany. It is the only remaining gate through which people used to enter Berlin. It was built between 1788 and 1791. It is located between the Platz des 18. März and the Pariser Platz. Nearby to the north is the Reichstag building. During the Cold War, the Reichstag was in West Berlin, and the Brandenburger Tor in East Berlin (Wikipedia).

There is more to see. Berlin is an ideal place to stay in.

Feature image credit: creative commons/ Wikipedia

 

FAST DREI MONATE (ALMOST 3 MONTHS)

Two months and 12 days. I already feel like my year here is soon to end but I in fact have approximately 9 almost 10 months of sticking around. But, even so, the end this term, when it comes to an end…I suspect to have had the best of years in my life, thought changing, trying new things, exploring and getting to know myself myself and of course, speaking the German language more fluently.

The past few weeks after my one week autumn holiday in Aachen and Köln where both great and a bit long sometimes, particularly at my workplace. But, initially, every minute spent there has been nothing but fantastic and worth it. While I am also attempting to speak German, breaking this language but still understood by its native speakers and kids. I am learning so much.

One of my greatest moments here in the days I have spent so far is realising that I am starting to have an ear for the German language. I am finally comprehending it. This hearing ability is helping me pick up how people speak, how they construct sentences and use the grammar, which I think is the most challenging thing about the German language. I am not using the word “difficult” because, although it may be, it is not impossible to learn and adapt to it. At the pace I am on, I think I am doing just fine. Although, a sense of impatience is getting to me because all I want to do is to speak good German and unrealistically now. I am so longing to know how to speak this language very well immediately because some how, somewhat, there is so much beauty in having the ability to engage through it. I trust I am well on my way.

So much I have learnt and picked up through listening has been from from the kids, colleagues and the family I live with. I find the children far sympathetic. And of course, teachers with patience and often a simplified speech and frank ways to tell you when you are wrong and to correct you. It has never felt any less than a safe space to make mistakes.

It is endless. I am amazed about how my German has improved. Conversations with children turn to be endless, we talk about animals, about food, about making noise, going to the toilet, using the bus, mothers, fathers, playing and all that is in between. And of course coming back to where I live, the conversations continue but more often on other interesting things like music, what we are eating later, how each others days were. To a larger some of our conversations have been far important. Including things like getting me a German sim card, travelling alone, shopping, and all the necessary things to get me going to be familiar with my surroundings.

I found pleasure in learning. But, I think one can only embrace this if and only if the space of learning is initiated with no pressure. I am finding my feet. I hope that I absorb much very quickly.

My second highlight in the past months is how my birthday was spent. It is so much linked to the culture of how birthdays are celebrated and the language as songs were sang in German and not in English. It was great. My birthday was on the 3rd of November and this day kicked started earlier as I usually join my host family on breakfast.

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my-birthday

The breakfast was a little difficult, with a home baked chocolate cake, baked by my host mother and, some cherry cup cakes baked by her also lovely sister which I later took to the kindergarten  to share with my colleagues and kids. There were also about 7 or 8 presents. I really appreciated the moment. Maybe this celebration was meant to teach me to start celebrating my life far more than I never found it relevant to do. It felt like my life was important. Which I never saw in this way. My family in South Africa has always and I mean for every birthday bought cakes and would sing very early in the morning. This to me was all I needed. Some hugs and blessings. Fortunately, they still sang for me early in the morning via a Skype call. Later in the morning, I had celebration at work with kids and colleagues. There also, I got some gifts. The parents of children with which I am part of their group called the Rosengruppe, literally meaning the group of flowers also surprised me with gifts. Although I do not celebrate my birthdays, I have learnt to embrace every moment given to be on earth. After all, we live once.

With that said, I have been effortlessly doing my best to enjoy myself through engaging and trying to internalise the German language. This past weekend, I attended two markets.The first one was a joined initiative of Waldofpädagogik Havelhöhe, which incorporates a kindergarten, school (both primary and secondary levels). This is were I volunteer. The was a market called Licht Markt (Light market) and was brought together by the kindergarten and the school as a way to fund-raise. I enjoyed being a part of it and more importantly seeing parents, educators and learners coming together with different ideas of selling things in order to make a direct contributions to the institution. This market sold a lot of things such as food, clothes for children, decoration for Christmas, toys and a bit of self made things, creating more entertainment. I got a chance to participate in some of the activities and to also had a shift to sell at the kindergarten´s stall/booth where I was working with my colleagues.

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On the following day, Sunday the 20th of November, we went to another market in Messa, Berlin. There was stalls of different products sold from different countries. Africa, as a continent was there and, South Africa was among the African countries.

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I felt the need to support South African although I supported another country buying bracelets. I ended up in interesting conversations with the ladies I met from South Africa. It was a breather to even speak iSizulu there, back to back accommodating each other speaking Sesotho too. I had to grace the moment.

Not only have I being engaging in these ways, going out in this cold autumn, I have also sort to have really warm indoor moments with my host family, be in comfortable clothes, taking some naps and doing some studying relating to my other interest, journalism.

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TIME FLIES WHEN YOU………

…..Are you constructively and productively make use of your time. And yes, when you are having fun.

I am astonished about how today officially marks my first month in Berlin. It was only six weeks ago or so when I was told my departure is on the 14th of September. I had one week to set my things into order. You know, the packing and all. Before I knew it, my luggage was full and I was ready to leave home. It all happen so fast. Next think I knew, I was boarding for my first time flight to Berlin, inter-connecting flights at Zurich, Switzerland to my destination.

After some 13 hours or so, here I was…in Berlin meeting up with my host mother Julia who had been patiently waiting for approximately 20 minutes. What a good kicked started welcome and unpacking.

I have done so much for one month and I think included in this, is my many attempts to speak German. I have took in so much from everyone regarding the language. I have also seen much than I expected for one moth. A bit of moving around, trying new food, meeting new people, getting a hang of my new voluntary work and of course settling in.

Have I thought? I feel content. In my second week I felt like I had lived here before and like I knew my host family. It never so completely new. I am so free. I am home.

Given than its the end of my first month, I can say, I have settled. And here are typical things that are a proof of this:

  1. I rode the bike back home from work alone on my first day. I had only been shown by my host sisters my way there. Its relatively 20 minutes. I did it and I had no internet to navigate my way or even had a functional number to make calls. I probably took my own way back home somehow but I found it. This was epic.
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    Second Left: My bike is a new member in the Schad household

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    My friend helping me get from A to B, rain or not. 
  2. By end of my first week, I already had memorised and understood one prayer in German.
  3. I went to a store after about 2 days during my break to by a lip cream. Looking up things on my own and attempting to ask in stores can be a bit not easy and also funny but this is a good language practice.
  4. Like everyone else, rain does not stop one from using the bike. To be part of the community. I have also used the bike every single day to and back from work regardless. The more stronger I have felt.
  5. Travelling some 46 minutes by bus and then S-Bahn to central Berlin to meet a friend. It sounds complicated at some point but I have found this extremely easy. Thanks to my host mother who literally can explain to simplicity.
  6. Watching movies in German was always something I tried in South Africa but, I really did not enjoy it. This time my family invited me to join them watch a movie with their family friends. I mean…cinema right at home. The big screen, the sound, lights out and snacks. Without anticipation, I enjoyed this movie. I actually understood it more than I thought I would. Thanks too to my host father for giving my a brief heads up on its story line. I am sire the excitement also came about because there were scenes in South Africa, particularly in Cape Town. It was epic! It was comedy after all.
  7. It sounds like everything is nearly perfect and lit. But no, I nearly bumped into an old lady one morning on the bike to work. I was riding fast and trying so hard to be on time. She appeared from no where. I was wondering how possible this month could be so perfect without a mistake. Well, I did really did not bump her, I nearly did. I said I am sorry and found my focus again.

What a month! Bliss…lit and epic.

What is your view? Do you think I have settled in already?