Donnerstag, 4. Dezember 2008

(At)tempting fate's bluff, and chinwagging with a VIP (very important Pole).

Prepare yourselves people, this whole story is just too tragic. Honestly, it's like Romeo and Juliet meets Wuthering Heights (in terms of tragic romance, since the plot really bears no ressemblance to either. ) So anyway, here is the story. Prepare tissues. For weeping, there aren't any naughty bits.

I was like all sad and sleepy, so I'd skipped my one class today to go shopping with Lisa, my Mitbewohnerin. Note how the whole situation only arose due to randomly deciding to skip uni, and this was in turn due to me being sad. Time for fate to strike or what? That way you can look back and say, "Gosh, and it all only happened because I decided to skip that class that day." That's the kind of thing people say, isn't it? That's what HAPPENS. Right. So we'd been a-shopping. Not hugely successfully, but a few purchases had been made. Then we came back. I wasn't going to come back. I actually had my swimming stuff with me and had been intending to go to the pool straight from the shopping centre. But I hadn't gone, because we'd mooched around for too long and decided to stop off for summat to drink. So I hadn't gone to class. I hadn't gone swimming. So I was there. At the right time. For the...


Not a real dinosaur. Obv, you fool. A person dressed as a dinosaur. Handing out flyers for a puppet theatre show round the corner, in under an hour. And behind the dinosaur, there he stood. The most beautiful man in the world. He had such lovely eyes. He was holding a microphone-on-a-stick. And the other, also quite good looking but essentially insignificant from the perspective of fate, man was holding a TV camera. They asked me what I thought about puppet theatre. NO IDEA what I said. The whole thing was a little weird. But never mind. It turned out they were Swedish, and making a documentary for Swedish TV. Cool. So they asked if we were gonna go, and we said maybe. Then he looked me right in the eyes. And I fell in love. And he said he'd see hopefully me there. And I died.

Of course I went. Lisa couldn't make it coz she had to go meet a friend. I myself had a meeting in another part of the city at half six. It started at half five. But I went. Of course I went. It was in the Schokofabrik, this funky little bar/venue/thing just round the corner from where I live. Just going in there was cool I guess, as I'd not got round to it. It was so cool. Totally dilapidated. And only a few people there, all of whom were either involved in the venue or the puppet theatre. Or Swedish TV. Yup, there he was. SO I sit myself down on a like table type thing. Then I get interviewed about my views on puppet theatre and why I'd decided to come (I claimed it was because of the dinosaur). The best thing was that I was actually instructed to look at him while talking. And his eyes were so lovely, and he was smiling at the amusing things I said. They said they'd speak to me again afterwards. I sit back down.

Then began the waiting. The people doing the show were kinda amateur, so it took them a long time to get ready. I had quite a nice chat to a couple of people there. In fact, if it wasn't for the fact I had just fallen in love with Swedish man and wanted to go tell him we should spend ourt lives together I'd have been generally pround of myself just for going and talking to people auf Deutsch. But time was a-ticking by, and I was getting worried. The meeting, remember? I had to be in the Nikolaiviertel by 1830 and by the time they finally got going, it was already 1800. Shit.

It was marvellous. It was basic and witty and they got bits wrong and it was hilarious and just a little bit moving. Oh, and all the characters were birds. They were typical generation X guys. In a band and shit, getting worried about the future. You know the deal. But time was going by. I'd managed to make slight eye contact with my future husband a couple of times, but obviously he was kinda busy filming stuff (by this time they'd swapped, and he was holding the camera while otherman held the microphone-on-a-stick.) But it was already half six when the thing finally ended. I went to the back of the room to grab my coat and headed for the door. And there they were, outside, waiting for me. So I do my short interview about what I'd thought about the show. I say how great it was. It was great. I do all of this looking straight at otherman while He holds the camera. I couldn't look at him, coz I wasnae allowed. I presume he was still looking beautiful.

And then I had to go. I was so late. There was no time to chat. No time to ask him what he was doing in Berlin, if he lives here, what channel he works for, if I'm gonna be on TV, how old he is, if he has a girlfriend, a boyfriend, a phone number, a name. I had to go. So I went. I smiled cheerfully and said goodbye. And hurried off to my meeting. I ran. Ran to to the U-Bahn. Ran from the U-Bahn, past the TV-Tower, past the Christmas Market, smelling of Glühwein and Wurst, past the Ferris Wheel. And I got to the meeting, only 15 minutes late. And two people were still not there. Kitti had rung. She wasn't going to be there for another 20 minutes.

I had left. I had RUN. I had run away from what will probably be my only chance of happiness in my entire life.For nothing. For social obligation. I could have stayed another 20 minutes with no negative consquences. I could at least have asked his name.

I went back later of course, after the meeting, after the couple of mugs of Glühwein. I claimed to have lost my gloves. He wasn't there anymore. He's probably somewhere editing my face and words to fit the requirements of a Swedish documentary about the weirdos who live in Berlin and spend their days wandering around in furry hats and going to puppet theatre. I hope he thinks I was cute.


P.S. I'm interviewing the Polish foreign minister on stage tomorrow. Go me.

Montag, 1. Dezember 2008

I'm not dead.


I've been told I have to write in the blog again, so here I am to fulfill people's wish. Sorry for the total lack of writing anything, I was just getting all pissed off at blogging. But here I am to give it another go. The fact that my laptop has randomly decided to stop being able to play DVDs means I have a lot of time to kill. (That's right, I'm STILL not really doing much work.) I've been a bit down and homesick recently, and have thus been watching lots of Ab Fab. But now I can't anymore, coz life despises me. Or maybe just wants me to leave the flat.

But I do! I leave it regularly. Every day in fact. (Actually, that may be true, I think it's been a long time now since I had a day where I didn't actually go out at all.) Since I haven't written in over a month I'm just gonna have to skip over November (which was lovely, thanks) and jump straight to today. I went on a trip to the Finnish embassy with the Finnish class, which was cool. I was feeling a bit shakey after a rather hardcore weekend, but it was still fun having alook around. In a typically smug gesture of Nordic solidarity Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Finnland all have their embassies together in a very modern, fabulously stylish complex of little buildings. It's fit. I also chatted a bit with some people in the class, which was nice. I think things are slowly starting to thaw out there, it's just taking a lot of time, and I'm having to put in a LOT of charm. However, and this is gonna sound dreadful, I reckon that what with it being a class of 32 with only 3 boys, of whom I am so the best looking, I should be well placed to make some nice female friends (coz my life is so lacking those!). That may sound harsh, but I'm beginning to realise that I am really rather attractive and fanciable...

TO WOMEN. No good for my love life, but at least if they think I'm cute they're more likely to wanna be friends with me. Is that evil? Maybe, but I don't care. I need to speak more German!

However, the being good-looking only seems to work on girls, since even at gay clubs in one of the gayest cities in the world I am still universally ignored. I'm thinking the presumption that I would acquire a boyfriend during this year is gonna need a rework, which in turn has a pretty serious knock-on effect on my hopes of ever getting one ever in my life. I really have a lot resting on this year. 

Actually the boyfriend situation is a relatively small problem compared to the Big Question. Do I like Berlin? Obv I do like Berlin. I love it. But do I like it enough? Will I come back after my degree? Will I actually try and attempt to have a life abroad? I just don't know. I really don't. And that's a bid deal for me, as it shows how much this whole experience is challenging me. Before getting here I was so naive, so presumptious. I was so definite that I'd bugger off as soon as my degree was done with. But it's really not easy. I also really don't know why I'm so bothered by this question already. I've still got months left to make up my mind. I should probs concentrate more on having fun and less on...whatever that is...

Right, now I'm gonna see if I can get this bloody DVD to play. Hopefully I will be able to. Or I'm not gonna be impressed. I shall leave you with some joy:

Sooooo good. It's been a really big hit here (they're from Dresden) and I got the album today. Very impressive. I reckon they could even make it in England, since the album is in English. They're coming to Berlin in a couple of months, maybe I'll see if I can get some people together to go see them.

Aaaanyhoo, good night people. If you're there. If not I feel better for writing this anyway, so that's all good. Ciao!

Montag, 27. Oktober 2008

Solitary Brooooooother!

Yes, I am listening to Killer. It is fit. And yes, there is a part of me that wants to live.

So anyway, I'm sad. And just sneezed. This makes me sadder. And it's raining. And I've overdosed on cake. Sadsadsad.

Basically I'm sad because I have no friends. This is of course a total exaggeration, I have plenty of friends. But they're all English. And I guess the people at the Studienkolleg will become more friend-like as time goes by. But I want to make some at uni. I have so few classes, and don't actually take part in any proper degree structure, so I'm just this random outsider who sits there and then leaves at the end. Alone. While they all talk and chat to each other. In German. It is well depressing. I mean, the classes are really fun and stuff. I'm thinking Finnish and Hungarian was a fabulous idea. But I just dunno how to MEET people. I can't function in a university that doesn't have a college structure. Since I don't actually live in uni accomodation and never have small-group classes or supervisions, I don't really feel any connection to the other students or the institution as a whole. How do people at normal universities make friends? Or do they not? Is this adulthood? It this the wonder of being part of the most mobile generation ever created by our individualist society? Is this what it means to have the world at my feet, bursting with opportunity?

Coz it just smells a bit like solitude and no matter how much cake I eat it still tastes like disappointment.

Bleergh. I am already so over my whining. Just shut up Bryn. Apologies.


Dienstag, 21. Oktober 2008

I have Jet Lag

Right, I have come to the conclusion that I simply can't cope with living in Berlin. It is far too cool for me. How can you got out on a Friday a stay up until 8am and then have worked your body clock round again in order to GET UP at 8am on Monday. Wrong. Ah well, I had a well good weekend. We went to Das Haus B, which will be known to those of you who went interrailing with me as the really trashy gay club near Warschauer Strasse. T'was great!

I have also started my Finnish and Hungarian classes. Hoorah! :-)

Ooh, and I got wined and dined on the top floor of the Hanselmanturm...a really prestigious (and proper well fit) piece of Communist architecture. The view was AMAZING. I'm so into the Studienkolleg. Tonight is the official opening of the Kolleg year, and I'm giving a little speech abou our group's project. Funtimes.

There are so many people I want to talk to in person about specific things. Blogging is a frustrating format. Ah well, such is life. Laterz! xxx

Dienstag, 14. Oktober 2008

University has started. Not.

So, long time no write. I would like to claim that this is because I have been hugely busy achieving marvellous things with my life, making hundreds of new friends and finishing my dissertation. Sadly I cannot, as that would be a lie, and I'm a good little boy.

I haven't actually been to a single learning event yet, as everytime I attempt to go, there is nobody there. This makes me sad. Almost to the point of crying in the streets. The whole system is so vague and confusing. I mean, it's good to have the freedom to put together your own course and stuff, but I really miss having a director of studies. There's just no PERSON I can go to and say "WTF is going on?" Instead I just wander round on my own attempting to go to lectures which have evidently been cancelled. Hmm. Let's just say I'm finding the transition from the 3rd best uni in the world (better than Oxford, woot!) to one that hovers in the late hundreds a bit of a rough ride. I did get a place on the Hungarian course though, which is good. And Finnish hopefully will start soon. I'm just gonna keep turning up until it does. Then all will be good. I might actually just do those two and give up on the idea of going to politiky lectures. I'm just too fond of well-organised clarity to cope if it's gonna be all messy and unpleasant and undignified. I'm just too mentally neat. Hmm. I'm really trying to be all tolerant and enjoy the multicultural experience, but I'm starting to think Cambridge is just better in all ways...

HOWEVER. Not all has been woe. I went out! Me and Ralph (friend of a friend) decided to frapper gayville (the area around Nollendorfplatz) on saturday night. It was odd. It was kinda empty, there were no women and no young people. I was turned away from a club for wearing trainers...I was really shocked at this as I hadnae thought Berlin was that kinda town. I mean, shoe-based entry policies are just so common. Vodka Revs has one. QED. We were then turned away from another one because we by this point had a woman with us. I got very angry about this, as the guy at the door was really rude to her. Lazy gay misogyny really pisses me off. I mean FFS, our rights are totally dependent on women's lib. There was also a real lack of noisy drunks fighting and women crying...I miss England! :-p

Hmm, I just made it sound like I didn't have any fun, which is not at all the case. It was well fun talking to randoms. And very interesting. I don't think I'll ever go back though. It just wasnae my kinda area. Not enough...well I, I guess. Not enough FUNFUNFUN. I always feel like that going West though. The whole place depresses me. Feels so dead and pointless. Fills me with the really strange mixture of creeped-out-ness and pity. The night was, Berlin style, also sooo long. I got home about six in the morning (partly because Nollendorfplatz is so far west, like basically in Cornwall) and then had to leave pretty much straight away for the expat day at the seaside. Turns out that the sea is VERY far away, which I find strange, being from a town about 10 mins from the sea in a country where you're never that far from wetness. It took about 3 1/2 hours...and we're actually really quite near by German standards. Weird. Still, it was really nice there (Zinnowitz) and the beach had real sand and CLEAR water. Take that Felxistowe. Obv it was way too cold to actually go swimming, but we paddled a bit and went in this really cool underwater cinema to watch 3D videos about fish. Funtimes.

Right, I am going to go achieve summat with my life. Laterz.


Montag, 6. Oktober 2008


This country is bloody ridiculous sometimes. Matrikulation was a huge disaster. I mean, in Cambridge it was just an excuse to dress up in our gowns and ponce around a bit before signing a piece of paper. Here it's a massive black hole of bureaucratic nightmaricy. Here is the process in bullet points:
  1. Go to desk.
  2. Wait in (something that in abroadland counts as a) queue.
  3. Get piece of paper allowing you pay fees.
  4. Go to other end of university and pay fees.
  5. Go see a man who will write on a piece of paper that you have a piece of plastic proving that you have health insurance.
  6. Return to desk.
  7. Wait in "queue".
  8. Receive number.
  9. Wait.
  10. Matriculate.
Anyone with a basic understanding of, well, just about ANYTHING can see that that is stupid. No multi-stage process should ever require returning to one of the earlier stages to proceed to the end. Especially not when this stage is a desk being run by ONE very stressed looking Italian woman. This is basically the platonic image of a bottleneck. Honestly, it was a better bottle neck than the actual neck of the actual bottle from which Jesus poured the wine in the Holy Grail before sacrificing himself to rescue the souls of mankind. (Except anyone working in the admin department of the Humboldt University, who are quite clearly servants of Satan.)

The system also allows no self initiative. My attempts to pay my fees at the Kasse without first going to the desk and getting my pink piece of paper allowing me to pay my fees were firmly rebuffed. So I go to the desk, wait for ages, and then receive my piece of pink paper, on which there stands not a single piece of information that was not already on some other piece of paper elsewhere. How ridiculous.

Even more ridiculous, by the time I had got my piece of pink paper giving me the right to give them my money and hurried down to the Kasse, it had shut. And that stupid cow down there was SOO rude. Bitch. I hope she gets very very itchy thrush. Well, with the Kasse shut until one I couldn't pay my fees, and without paying my fees I couldn't matriculate. The Kasse opens again at one, but this is when matriculation closes...

Excuse me?
No, but, actually, EXCUSE ME?

What the hell is wrong with these people? How on Earth can they have such amazing public transport but be SOOO rubbish at what is actually a fairly simple administrative task. Honestly, if they had just given me all the forms I could have done it myself in about ten minutes. FFS.

So, Bryn is now pissed off and has to go back tomorrow to finish it all off. *weeps*


Sonntag, 5. Oktober 2008

Wannsee Life

Hillo all, hope you've been a-having a nice week. I have.

So, I was in Wannsee for the introductory week of the Studienkolleg. It was well cool, but bloody exhausting. Much discussion, many speeches and lectures, much drinking, much eating, much befriending and much dancing, and a little kissing. Alles auf Deutsch of course. Funtimes.

They're a really nice bunch, which bodes well, as I have to work with them for the rest of the year. There was a little too much democracy going on, as in endless constant discussion and voting of what we should do. But still, it was coolfit. I even had an introduction to conflict management, so should any of you fall out with a friend, workmate or neighbouring state then you know who to call!

Best of all, we sorted out our project groups and I pretty much got to do my idea. Hoorah! There's five of us, and we'll be travelling to the border between Hungary and Serbia to look at the effects of the recently-extended Schengen zone on those living near the border. Am tres excited.

In even more exciting news, I am FINALLY matriculating at the Humboldt tomorrow. Yay! Lectures, however, don't actually start until the 14th of Oktober.