Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Erin: "We're staying on the beach, in tents." Katie: "Wow. That's intense."

It seems fitting since my favorite television show, Lost, had its series finale this week, that I should preface this post with a similarly titled problem I have run into here in Berlin.

True Life: I get lost everywhere I go.

Pictured above is a map of the Berlin public transportation system. As you can see there are many options of places to go and lines to take, all of which can guarantee the following:

1. To smell like smoke.
2. To smell like numerous other boorish stenches that are ususally masked by the excessive smoke smell, but occasionally break through and catch you mid-yawn. Gross.
3. To not actually take me where I want/need to go. Sometimes I think this place is worse than Hogwarts. Like, "Ohhh....poor Harry....sorry those staircases keep moving on you. Maybe you should try living in a city that has your name on some sort of blacklist at transportation headquarters allowing every u-bahn, s-bahn and bus you attempt to ride to get re-routed to the farthest spot from your intended destination."

Pretty sure Voldemorts not dead, he's just found a new job running the Berlin bus system.
Avada Kedavra old man, Avada Kedavra.
Anyways, I bet you are thinking that, based on how long that "preface" was, this is going to be a really long blog post. Corrrrrrect. I always think its funny when people apologize for their long blog posts. It's as if just by posting it, they think the reader is obligated to completely read it all. Good news: you're not. It's a free country! (is that a valid 4th grader slam in Germany too?) BUT, I promise if you keep reading, you'll like what you see, even if you don't like what you read. I went to two beautiful cities this last weekend: Lübeck and Potsdam!

Lübeck: (its in Northern Germany)

The buildings were incredible! All of the streets looked so unique and everything was very well preserved.

This is my friend Michael Warden. Every trip we go on, we make a sign that says "Welcome to sunny_______." So far, of the three trips we've been on, all three have poured rain.
We are leaving for Prague tomorrow and there are death threats against us touching pen or paper the whole four hour train ride.

This was the drive. Fields and fields and fields of yellow. It was so beautiful that I had to take a picture every time we drove past a new set of them. I thought it was a good idea at the time to take so many that later I could recreate the drive in my mind. But, in reality, I could probably just print this exact picture out 49 times and accomplish the same thing. 3 hours of this kind of beauty is nothing to complain about however. There was a lot more to Luebeck than photographed here. I recommend Wikilooking it up.

Potsdam is a place just a few minutes outside of Berlin. We got to see Frederick the Greats excessive estate here and spend the day wandering through his perfectly manicured and somewhat ostentacious but certainly breathtaking gardens and palaces.

It really was (I think this is the 4th time i've said this in the 6 total blog posts i've done) the most beautiful place I've ever been. (I really think I mean it this time)

*Yet another disclaimer. I wrote this blog post last weekend and forgot to post it! Lets be honest, the only person who is really mad about this is Denise Wade. Hold your horses Denise. Another one is on it's way shortly!

Love, Katie

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Somehow mummy children are less fascinating and more depressing...

I went to the Neues Museum this week and spent a couple hours on their first floor ancient Egyptian exhibit. Holy. Cow. Talk about a lot of extremely old and historically significant things all in one room! Which is exactly what I plan on doing...(with pictures of course.) I'll try and just stick to the highlights, but in reality, the whole museum was incredible!

*Side note: this post is being written between breaks I've been taking while I wait for more "Lost" to load. Even when you live in Europe, some things just can't be abdicated. That's going to explain any sporadic or disjointed comments. If you feel the need to read this post between breaks from watching YOUR favorite online television show, I won't be offended. Scouts honor.

I am 100% certain that you are about 99.3% skeptical of the notability of this picture. Which means that approximately .7% of you is thinking...there's got to be more to this or she wouldn't have wasted her time blogging about it. I'm going to give you around four seconds to think about the probability that the .7% in you is correct before I slam you with the fun little fact that this Lion statue is tenatively FIVE THOUSAND YEARS OLD!!!!!! No jokes. Just to put that into a little perspective for you: this guy could be Mufasa's great-grandpa x 500.

This one really got me. I swear I had a folding chair just like this that my mom kept in the pantry growing up. Except this one is from around 1540 b.c. Dear mankind, this is kind of embarassing that we haven't progressed much in the way of folding chairs in 3,500 years.

Funny Story: There are no ropes or barriers of any kind around these sarcophoguses. But there ARE super grouchy German women who will verbally face-punch you in a language you don't understand if you get in any way too close. Anyways, one of them really must have been slacking when I took this picture because right after I did, an old man walked by and set a bunch of books and a water bottle on top of one of them while he fixed his jacket. It took him around 15 seconds before he realized that he had just put his newest copy of "Rick Steve's guide to Europe" on top of one of mankind's oldest artifacts. He kind of freaked out and most definitely left the room (and probably the museum) pretty soon after. The museum was kind of empty since it was a Tuesday morning so I'm pretty sure I was the only one who saw and I couldn't stop laughing. Don't worry old man, I won't tell a soul.

There's no doubt in my mind that this thing is straight out of Narnia. RIP Aslan.

My main goal almost the entire time I was in this museum was to see an actual mummy, mostly since I never have. We searched and searched and saw plenty of tombs and creepy egyptian tomb artifacts, but no actual mummies. Then, in the last room we tried, we found these...three children mummies. Feel free to revert now to the title of this post for my feelings on this subject. I don't know why seeing a really old, dead ADULT body all wrapped and dried up is super cool, and seeing three child siblings similarly shriveled is not, but its just the way things are.

I'm sure had we looked harder, or on other floors, we could have found a real life adult mummy king or queen of some kind, but by this point I had really hit my museum wall. This happens in almost every museum and I'd like to refer to it as my "Miley Cyrus" museum moment. Its the part where I start to feel a little dizzy and nauseous, extremely exhausted and a little fed up with humanity. Its almost exactly how I feel every time "The Climb" comes on the radio. I guess I just have a set amount of emotional capacity available for extremely precious artifacts and melodramatic teenage popstars, and once I reach that capacity I have about fifteen seconds to leave the museum/smash my car radio to bits before things get ugly.

I'm pretty sure the mummies will be just as dead the next time I go.
Here's hoping,

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Pole jokes in Poland are not good jokes.

Today, I experienced what the English speaking world (apparently there are whole countries out there who don't actually 'speak' my language.) refers to as an "ephiphany." It wasn't even a very nice epiphany either. Nor was it an englightening, James Joyce kind of moment. It was mostly just frustrating.

Let me back up.
I have a favorite joke. Its a joke that never gets old to me. One that I laugh at over and over and over again. And everybody else really hates it. And it goes like this:
Question: "Why did the little girl fall out of the swing?"
Answer: "Because she didn't have any arms!"
Okay fast forward.
I went to Poland today. I have been really excited about going, especially because it was only going to cost me 7 euro. (Which is a premium price for traveling to another country, I don't care who you are) Anyways, to make a long story short I got really sick yesterday but decided to go anyways. And then it poured rain the entire time. And was really freezing. And I remembered that I forgot to bring a decent jacket with me when I flew to Europe. And Poland looked a lot like Germany except the graffiti was in polish this time.

So there I was, standing there in the pouring rain with a raging fever, so stuffed up I couldn't smell the steaming polish dog the kid standing next to me was holding, when it hit me...

...having no arms isn't that funny. And neither was my predicament. In fact, both of them kind of sucked. And between that and the fact that it was getting late on a Saturday and I had just remembered that all I have to eat for tomorrow is potatoes, instant mashed potatoes, and potato balls, I reached the distinct conclusion that today wasn't all that nice to me.

I guess I should look on the bright side and say "Hey, at least I have arms." But then I think about some girl with no arms, sitting in the sun in a swing on the other side of the world, and just as she slips from her swing I bet she is saying "Hey, at least I'm not in Poland, in the pouring rain, with no warm jacket, and a fever.
But I don't hear her. Because I'm laughing really hard. That joke gets me every time.
Glad to be back in my temporary home.
I kinda missed Deutschland.


P.S.- I guess I better post some pictures now, just to prove that I didn't hate ALL of Poland.

*Disclaimer: These pictures have been edited to make things look a lot sunnier and more colorful than things actually were.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hate being patient. Love being German.

So I FINALLY got the internet here at my apartment and now have a chance to share with the world life in Germany. (Hi Mom. Sorry this took me so long.)
For starters, this is my #1 favorite building on this whole earth. Meaning the JFSB on BYU campus was bumped down to #2. It wasn't even a tough decision. Look at this thing. INcredible. We actually found it our first day exploring all by accident. We didn't know where to go so we decided to just get on a random train and pick a stop to get off. And we ended up here. Life really likes me.
What we are holding in our hands is called a Döner. They are made by super patronizing Turkish men who make fun of my German while they carve off slices of the sketchy but amazing mystery meat that go in these things. And I don't even care about any of that. Because they are so delicious! It's great when food can do that for you.

For those of you who don't know (everyone), this is a Jewish memorial. Though this looks like nothing more than an excellent album cover, in reality it is a series of blocks that slowly get taller and shorter as the ground rises and falls to make it look like a cement block ocean. So hip and now.

Brandenburger Tor. I looked this up on Wikipedia (pronounced "Vikipedia" here in the motherland) because there wasn't too much information about it at the actual site. Apparently it is the last of a series of gates through which one could formally enter the city of Berlin.

These are my new friends Joslin and Kaitlin. They are sisters. They're cute. Their names rhyme. Lots of good things going on here.

There is some incredible modern architecture here in this city because so many buildings got destroyed in the war and had to be re-built.

The irony of turning 21 while you are in Germany is that you actually could have drank alcohol 5 years ago had you been here all along. Also you're mormon so you can't do it anyways. Ohhh life.

Quite possibly the most incredible part of my trip (I mean life), thus far. I am standing under the actual Gate of Babylon! Some Germans discovered it (rumor has it, it was our good friend Hitler), claimed it, and re-built it right here in Berlin, then proceeded to build a whole museum around it. And then, just for good measure, they brought this authentic Greek temple with them as partially displayed here:

"Go big or go home."

Nothing says classy like your mother's name graffitied onto the wall of your nearest U-bahn station. Berlin has incredible amounts of graffiti. It's kind of like how New Zealanders are outnumbered by sheep 70-1. Except dirty german words, usually done in complimentary colors.
Also, today was a holiday of some kind in Germany (nobody here actually KNOWS which holiday it is, they just know there's no work and plenty of alcohol.) And LET ME TELL YOU, the big group standing outside my window wearing bright orange hats that say "Got BEER??" in English ?....tempting. Reeaaalllyyy tempting. So is the guitar hero that has been going on upstairs for close to six hours now. However, for the sake of the fact that tonight is still a school night, I'm going to have to refrain.
Even if I am 21 now.
Loving Deutschland. Missing Americans.