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!

2nd Week of Classes + Easter Excursion

Thursday after class I met with a new friend from Turkey to do some shopping in Braunschweig, then I returned to my room to stuff enough clothes for the weekend in my backpack and caught a train twenty minutes later. I took a train from Braunschweig to Berlin, then spent the night in the airport (~Adventure~) to catch a flight to London 7:00AM. My university was closed Friday to Monday for Easter, and I don’t have classes on Tuesday, so I figured it would be a great time for a trip.

I’ve been to London before and done the usual tourist stuff, so I skipped that this time and just enjoyed a peaceful weekend with my family. I did visit a few places, including Nandos, a bookstore called Waterstones, and few stores on Oxford Street.

 

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Nandos

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Waterstones Bookstore

I left London early Tuesday morning and landed in Düsseldorf, Germany, where I had a layover. I almost missed connecting flight to Berlin because the gate changed, but the flight leaving from the gate I was waiting at was still going to Berlin. As the flight was boarding, I realized that it was not the right airline, and my flight was boarding from a gate in a completely different terminal. As I sprinted (a sprint for me is a fast-paced walk) to my gate, I just knew that the flight had already closed and I’d have to figure out a plan B, but God is good and there were a few others who had also been at the wrong gate. I was yelled at in German by the lady at the desk to run faster because the flight was scheduled to leave two minutes ago.

When I arrived in Berlin, my plan was to save some money and take all the regional trains (as opposed to the high speed trains) back to Braunschweig. Using screenshots from Google Maps for guidance (I don’t have a data plan here in Germany, so my phone is always on airplane mode), I started with a bus from the airport to a stop about two minutes from a small train station. After stumbling around in random directions for about ten minutes, I finally found the station and took a train to another station, where I got another train to a different station and so on and so on. I took at least five different trains and waited anywhere between 20 and 45 minutes in the cold at several different stations. At one point it even started snowing or hailing. I landed in Berlin around 3:00pm and got back into Braunschweig around 10:00pm. Did I save money? Yes, probably about 10 €…However, I did manage to do all of this with very little help from the internet, which is impressive for me.

Overall, I had a great Easter weekend and I am very grateful that I got to spend this time with my family. I’d also like to just take this time to say that my family is pretty amazing. I called Wednesday night to ask if I could spend Thursday to Tuesday with them, and not only did they say yes, but they also bought my ticket and were waiting for me at the airport when I arrived super early in the morning. I complained about not being able the seasoning I usually use in the supermarkets in Braunschweig, so my aunt bought me an all-purpose seasoning and curry powder, as well as chocolate. Thank you Aunty Christine! I’d also like to thank my wonderful big (but debatably shorter) cousin Freya for taking me shopping, letting me bother you, and waking up at the crack of dawn to take me to the airport!

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My aunt gave me chocolate and seasoning to take back to Germany with me