I’m back!?

Hi there!

I’m sure you thought you’d seen the last of me, but I’m back with some general life updates and a half-hearted promise to blog on a more regular basis. Fall semester has not been a walk in the park, but there have been a few good moments that I’ll share with you all.

A band I absolutely love has been on tour this fall and I went to see them in Athens, GA. I left school on Monday afternoon and drove home to Atlanta, then I drove to Athens the next evening for the concert. After the concert (and after meeting half of the band) I got in my car and drove all the way back to Greensboro, North Carolina, because I had a circuits test at noon. The band is called Hippo Campus, and they’re amazing live. I didn’t know anyone else going to the concert, so I went alone (story of my life). After the show, a group of fans (including me) waited in the parking lot to meet the guys and get pictures. I met another black girl that was there by herself and we decided that’d we meet the band together so we could take each others pictures. When the tour bus door opened, we ran  walked at a reasonable pace to meet them. AND THEY WERE SO NICE AND AMAZING. We talked to Nathan (guitar) for around 7-10 minutes about life on tour, what he feels like he’s missing out on being on tour, and life in general. This was honestly the highlight of my month year. I was first introduced to their music at a very stressful time in my life, so being able to meet them meant a lot to me. I plan on meeting them again in January when I see them in L.A, this time with other amazing people that I’ve gotten to know through this band. As for the girl I met in the parking lot, we exchanged Snapchats and have stayed in touch.

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Nathan and I

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Zach

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Nathan

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The venue (40 Watt Club) after the show

The next cool thing™️ that happened this month is that I met a professor in the English department here at A&T who is from Germany. Her research is on African American and Afro-German literature and how they are related. I met her at a movie presentation related to the “Homestory Deutschland: Black Biographies in Historical and in Present Times” exhibit that has been on display in our university gallery. The exhibit showcases Black Germans and their accomplishments. We spoke in German and English and she invited me to view the exhibit with her so she could hear my thoughts as a black student who has studied abroad in Germany. She walked me through each display, as well as showed me some other resources about Afro-Germany to explore on my own. I think we spent a little over two hours talking that day. I haven’t had a chance to practice speaking German much since I got back in August, so it was great to be able to switch back and forth between languages. I’m happy to report that I haven’t completely forgotten everything.Screen Shot 2017-11-22 at 11.44.20 AM

On a more practical note, I spent the beginning of the semester applying for countless part-time jobs, and so far I have been hired at not one, but two! I worked as a seasonal associate at a Halloween store for the month of October, and I actually loved it? It was usually really busy, but we had so much fun as a team. It was cool to walk around and help people with their costume ideas, or help people try on costumes and brainstorm together on cool accessory options. Unfortunately, the store is only seasonal, and closed a few days after the holiday. Now I’m a part-time associate at a department store near my house. I’ll be working my first Thanksgiving and Black Friday, so pray for me! I’ll also be working during the Christmas season, so I won’t be visiting Guyana like I usually do in December, but I do have some adventures planned for 2018, so stay tuned.

I will be posting again in the next few days (it’s already written and scheduled to post, I swear!) about what I’ve been reading this year, so you can expect to see that by Saturday. I also have a few drafts of blog posts I wrote in Germany that I may or may not post. They’re basically collections of random thoughts and experiences I had out there.

Until next time,

Imani

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Auf Wiedersehen!

I’m going home! It has been a wonderful couple of months here in Deutschland, but it is time for me to return to the USA. I spent the last week finishing exams, moving out of my apartment and traveling between different Airbnb’s, and stuffing as much as I could manage into my suitcase.

I had to move out of my apartment on Monday, which is also when I had my last exam. To make my life somewhat easier, I checked into an Airbnb on Sunday evening so I wouldn’t have to deal with the stress of exams and moving on the same day. I ended up giving away a few things to my neighbors (I left things outside of my door, and my neighbors generously took them off my hands), and what was left (that I couldn’t bring home) had to be thrown out.

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Last view from my apartment window in Braunschweig

The room I booked was only available until Thursday, so I had to leave and check into another room much farther away. My host was an older German woman who lived in a house in a very quiet neighborhood. She was very nice, and preferred to only speak German, so I got some unplanned language practice. Unfortunately, she had a cat and I’m allergic, so that wasn’t fun. I tried to stay out of the house during the day so I could breathe normally, so I tried some different cafés and restaurants in the city.

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Typical German breakfast (from Fräulein Wunder in Braunschweig)

I also got to see some of the friends I met here in Germany before I left. We went bowling and then out to dinner at a Turkish place, where I discovered my love of Döner Boxes. Döner is a popular Turkish dish in Germany. The Döner Box has all the same ingredients, just thrown into a box with seasoned fries, and it’s only 3.50 EUR! I’m so upset that I just discovered this the same week I leave the country. My Turkish friends that I went with said they had never seen that in Turkey before, so I’m guessing it’s unique to Germany (but I hope not).

As much as I love Döner Boxes and Currywurst, I can’t wait to go home and eat tacos, lemon pepper wings (with peach drink from American Deli, obviously), brown stew chicken and rice and peas with cabbage and a Ting, beef patties, pad thai, and a million other things. Aside from the food, I’m also very excited to see my family and friends again, and have access to hair products designed for my hair texture.

This won’t be my last post, as I have a few more thoughts about my time here in Germany. I will be taking a much needed break from all things German for a little while though, so I’m not sure when that post will happen.

Bis dann!

Imani

 

General Updates

Hi there!

I’m still alive, still in school, and still in Germany. I have about one month left before it’s time to go back home to the U.S. My classes are wrapping up now, and the exam period will begin at the end of July. I’ve been using this time to hit the books, so I don’t think there will be any more exciting international trips for me. After exams, I’ll have one week in Germany with no set place to stay (my lease ends July 31), so I may do a small trip or two then, but probably somewhere within Germany.

German language progress:

I’m definitely getting better at forming coherent sentences in German, so that’s exciting. I’m in two different German classes, one for students with technical and scientific majors, and another conversational class. Both of my professors have commented on my improvement during the semester. In class, we had to retake the language placement exam that we took in the beginning of the semester, and I scored a C1, which is much better than the B2.1 that I earned the first time. (For more about what these scores mean, visit this site: http://www.goethe.de/lrn/prj/pba/bes/enindex.htm. ) Also, I just finished my first 300 page German novel: “Hirschluder” by Christian Oehlschläger. It took me a while (2 months), but it definitely improved my vocabulary. I’ve also been watching an Austrian show on Netflix called “Vorstadtweiber” or “Suburbia – Women on the Edge” that’s been really entertaining and has also exposed me to some more differences between Standard German and Austrian German.

 

 

 

Amsterdam

A few weeks ago my university shut down for Excursion Week.  Most students take this week as a chance to travel to different cities across Europe. There are also professors who organize educational excursions to different cities to visit different companies. I chose to use this time to do some studying and take a short trip to Amsterdam. Continue reading

Berlin

I recently took a weekend trip to Berlin to meet my aunt, who came to visit for a few days. Last time I travelled to Berlin, I made the mistake of taking the train. Everyone here in Braunschweig laughed when I told them this, and informed me that the bus is much cheaper. This time I took a Flixbus, which is essentially a much nicer version of the Greyhound. It took about three hours to get to the Berlin central bus station. From there, I walked to the nearest subway station and took a train to the nearest stop to the hotel I was meeting my aunt (Shout out to me for not getting totally lost because we all know how directionally challenged I am). I even found a San Franciscan (?) burrito place nearby, where I got three soft tacos. I’ve been craving tacos for the longest, and there are none to be found in my little town here in Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony). I’ve actually had people here tell me they’ve never had tacos before!

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Berlin Wall

I did a lot of exploring in Berlin, mostly on foot. My poor feet have experienced so many painful moments during my time here in Germany. From our hotel we walked to (and through) the Tiergarten, and ended up at the Brandenburg Gate.

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Berlin Wall

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Brandenburg Gate

From there we kept walking until we ran into an outdoor art market and the Berliner Dom. Then we walked to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, which is a very interesting and moving place. Our next stop was the East Side Gallery, which is the a 1316 m long portion of the Berlin Wall.

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Berliner Dom

 

Berlin was amazing, and I am so grateful for my wonderful Aunty Natasha, who fed me and hosted me in her hotel during my visit! Also shout out to Simone, who was my travel partner during this trip!

Tot de volgende keer,

Imani


Thank you for reading my blog! If you enjoy reading about my experiences here in Germany and in Europe, please consider donating to my PayPal or GoFundMe. Feel free to also send me your mailing address if you’d like a post card from me!

Hamburg

Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany, and is located in the northern part of the country closer to the coast. A friend of mine recently invited me to go with her and one of her friends for a day trip and tour of the city. It’s is about 3 hours away from Braunschweig, and with our student ID’s we can get there for free. The catch is that we can only take regional transportation within our state, so we had to take about 4 different trains to get there. Nonetheless, I’m always down for a free trip and I’d heard how beautiful Hamburg was, so I was excited.

 

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My friends and I in Hamburg

My friends had registered us for a free tour of the city, and we had about 20 minutes to get from the train station to the meeting point after we arrived in Hamburg. Unfortunately, we spent about 10 minutes looking for the bathroom, which had the longest line ever. We ended up having to speed walk/sprint to the meeting spot, which was 15 minutes from the station. Luckily, they were still there when we arrived.

 

Hamburg seemed like it would be a beautiful place on a warm and sunny day, but unfortunately that was not the day we visited. It was cold, wet, and slightly miserable. The pictures I took were during the few times the sun did peak out for about five minutes. We did have a very good tour guide, and it was free, so I’m not complaining.

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Elbe Philharmonic Hall


Thank you for reading my blog. If you enjoy reading about my experiences here in Germany and in Europe, please consider donating to my PayPal or GoFundMe. Feel free to also send me your mailing address if you’d like a post card from me!

American Culture?

Many of the other international students and German students here have told me that they learned all about American culture by watching different movies and TV shows, such as Friends, The Big Bang Theory, and Star Trek, to name a few.

 

Just glancing at these cast images, the first thing I notice is the lack of Black people, with the exception of Geordi La Forge in Star Trek TNG. The actor who played Worf  (Michael Dorn) is black, but Worf is a Klingon, which is an alien species characterized as being uncivilized, violent warriors. The other shows are mainly set in New York or California and feature all white casts. As a black girl raised in the South and born to Caribbean parents, these shows represent an American culture that I’ve never experienced.

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what American culture even is, and I feel like the U.S. is way too massive for such a label. The culture in the South is different than the North, the West is different from the East, and there are even further differences within each region.

Shows that I would recommend for people interested in learning about different cultures in the U.S. typically overlooked by Hollywood include Black-ish, Queen SugarInsecure, Atlanta, Living SingleThe Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Living Single, Girlfriends, Martin, etc. I think what’s interesting about these shows is how they’re all set in very different parts of the U.S., and therefore the experiences shown are very diverse. For example, Queen Sugar, which is set in Louisiana, deals with completely different issues than shows like Atlanta, set in Atlanta, Georgia (obviously), or Insecure, which is set in Los Angeles, California. There are many other shows as well, these are just a few of my favorites.