Tuesday, August 4, 2015

(Day 20) ZOooo

It's hard to believe that today in not only my last day in berlin but my last day in Europe, no more cities after this. This has definitely been an experience of a lifetime and I just wish every student could do this program. My last day simply consisted of fun and reflexion. First I started the day off by going to the zoo, which happens to have more species than any other zoo in the world. It was beautiful and calming to see so many different kinds of animals even though sometimes cages seem inhumane to me. Seeing so much beauty just make you appreciate the entire experience. After the zoo, we returned just in time to go ton the boat cruise. The boat cruise is always one of my favorite activities in each city simply because it allows you time to just reflect of life. It was such a calming experience and I am truly grateful for this opportunity. As I get ready to pack my bags I say goodbye to Europe but only for a short time. I have really fell in love with international travel and plan to return here and explore more countries in the future. Thank you TNCIS !

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Day Nineteen Berlin Zoo

My last day in Europe.

            I cannot believe that this was our very last day abroad. I made sure to make the most out of it (after sleeping in) and went to the zoo with a close friend I had made throughout the trip. Once we had made it to one of the largest zoos in the world, we encountered a man dressed in overalls and traditional German clothing who winded a giant music box.  Every time someone came to tip him he would tip his hat in one exaggerated motion and shout “Danke!” (“thank you” in German) happily. His music made me even more excited for the zoo, and seeing how happy he was making other people cheerful only contributed to my glee. Next came the skeleton marionette, who I found to be just plain hilarious. As popular 60’s music played, a man made a puppet of a skeleton dance and sing with conviction, sometimes making it walk towards people in the line.
The first animal I saw was the alpaca, lounging about in the shade with the rest of the herd. Across from them was a machine that has the word “cheese” on it, so my friend and I both assumed it was a place for people to purchase cheese to feed to the animals. Makes sense, right? Of course, it was a photo booth, and my friend and I laughed about that for a long time. After seeing many animals that I have never even seen before, my friend and I managed to catch the orangutan feeding.All of the monkeys came to one side of the fenced enclosure and hung there, reaching their hands to the other side to beckon for food. After the orangutans we went to the nocturnal exhibit, encountering lions and leopards along the way.
The dark nocturnal animals area was underground and contained a vast expanse of desert foxes, moles, and, most notably, bats. Once we left the area and our eyes had adjusted, we ran into an enormous white bird that was just inches away from the gate separating it from the zoo visitors. It could easily jump the fence, but it used its three-foot-long beak instead to poke passersby. We spent the rest of the time at the zoo looking for the penguin exhibit which wasn’t easy to find. When we did find it, however, we were pleasantly surprised by the gleeful penguin enjoying the attention of its visitors. It was the only visible penguin in the exhibit, and people were able to touch it if the penguin got close enough. Whenever anyone did manage to pet it, the creature would tilt its head back and smile. It literally smiled. It was probably the cutest thing I had seen all day.
Once my friend and I felt as if we had seen enough animals (the zoo was so big that we couldn’t finish looking at everything) we headed to the Doc Martin store for her to look for a new pair of shoes. It was a really fun experience, and we went to the hostel for a break afterwards. After about two hours we both headed out to have dinner at the same burger place I had gone to the day before. Of course, I tried something new and enjoyed it in its entirety. The non-alcoholic Moskito and the Klassic burger were both divine. After dinner, it was time to get ready to leave at 3:30 the next morning. I went to bed for a few hours before waking up and heading on the bus to the Berlin Airport. I will never forget the experiences that I had here in Europe. I never thought that I’d grow so close with so many people in such a short amount of time, but I really am going to miss not only the marketing class, but everyone else, too. The trip abroad has helped me to grow as a person independently and academically, and I do not regret making the decision to take part in such a trip at all.

(Day 19) Alexanderplatz

It's official we have two days left in Europe and before I leave berlin I had to go shopping. Today 2 of my classmates and I went shopping in Alexanderplatz at a store that is like H&M on steroids. We all found some great clothes at great prices and even have a chance to have a bratwurst from a guy who had his grill attached to him like a backpack. After we finished shopping we headed back to the hostel and from there I headed back out to try and get more interviews for my research. There was one store from yesterday that told me the manager ould be in today and to come back, when I arrived I was happy to see that he was actually in and he was more than happy to answer my questions. Once the interview was over he gave me a small gift from the store and even helped me find some great nightlife activities. I also got two more interviews from two great shops that we similar yet different in many ways. All three interviews from today were great and I learned a lot from them and it even helped inspire me to follow my dreams to start a clothing line one day. Later that night some peers and I decided to experience Berlin's nightlife and it was definitely a great time and a great way to spend one of our last night in Europe.

The final day in Berlin was beautiful.  The city shook its week-long chill and warmed my walk to Museum Island.  

Bode Museum crossing the Spree onto Museum Island

Which museum would have top priority?  How many can I squeeze into one day?  I chose to visit the Pergamon Museum first and I wandered among exhibits that took me from Ishtar’s Gate down the Processional Way in the exhibit rooms housing the Ancient Near East collection.   A few areas of this museum are under renovation but there is still plenty to see among the Classical Antiquities Collection (Greeks and Romans) and the Museum of Islamic Arts. 

Reconstruction of the Processional Way
7th Century BC Basalt Water Basin

Artifacts from an Uruk period room

Neues Museum was the next stop.  The lower floor holds the Egyptian collection going back to 3000 BC.  The next floor took me back even further in time with its Stone Age exhibits. 

There are two pieces featured in this museum. First there is the bust of Queen Nefertiti.  No photographs allowed near this eternal beauty, so I lingered by her display case enjoying her symmetry and her details.  It’s true that from a distance she looks perfect, but at a closer range she really does have small age lines around her eyes, even the missing eye. 

The second piece is The Golden Hate of Berlin.  This is an astonishing astronomical and mathematical treasure from the Bronze Age that was used to predict lunar and solar cycles as well as agricultural cycles.

Two museums were all I could fit into one day.  I hope that one day life will present another opportunity for me to return to Berlin and view more of the treasures its museums hold.

Remnants of a Bronze Age Sacrificial Well (Neues Museum)
Prayer Niche (Pergamon Museum)

Several of the group took advantage of the evening City Boat Cruise, the final outing offered by the Great European Capitals program.  The river view of Berlin was a enjoyable way to revisit several of the historic sights our group experienced this week.
German Chancellery (aka The Washing Machine)

House of World Cultures (aka The Pregnant Oyster or Jimmy Carter's Smile)


Berliner Dom

This has been a memorable three weeks – truly a trip of a lifetime – with cultural and educational opportunities that a classroom setting cannot match. 

The question circulating among the group is “which city did you like best?”  That is like being asked which flower in a bouquet is the most beautiful.  I am taking away special memories of each city’s rich history, accepting cultures and welcoming residents.  I CAN tell you what I’ll miss the most:  the outstanding public transportation! 

Day 21 (THE Last Day)-Berlin 8/1/15

Well, well, well. I must say that it has been a journey for the books! Today was the very last day of Great European Capitals experience! To top it off, some friends and I took a trip to what is said to be the largest zoo in the world. Walked around for hours looking at all of the exotic creatures. My favorites were the giraffes. They just have such a beautiful pattern, and they walk so elegantly.
            After the zoo, I took a long nap, so that I would be able to stay up through the night. We have to leave the hostile at 4am! I’m all packed and ready though, and I’m just going to throw on my plane ride clothes for the rest of the night. When I woke up, I had dinner at the restaurant down the road called Bombay. Sadly, I have run out of Euros! Luckily, a nice friend was willing to pay for dinner tonightJ I guess running out of money on the very last day isn’t half bad.
      All in all, I am extremely happy that I took this opportunity. A year ago, I would have never even imagined going out of the country. Now that I have, I can appreciate the many privileges and luxuries that I have living in the U.S, and also the privileges and lifestyles of those way on the other side of the world! I have met some of the most amazing people, and I know that we will continue to be friends when we get back to good ole Tennessee! I believe that traveling abroad is a great way increase your life. You are forced to strengthen your communication skills, you learn how to accept and respect the morals and values of those that may not be similar to you, and you learn the importance of expansion rather than confinement. If we continue to be confined to only the lifestyle and culture that we are used to, we will never really know how amazing and beautiful life on Earth truly is.

            It’s been real EU! Now its time for this American girl to get back home and get back to business. Thank you TNCIS, Dr. V, all of the professors, students, company employees, and God for making this experience more than I could ever ask for!

Day 20 I can't believe the end is here

First off, I seriously can’t believe that today is my last and final day abroad. This trip has been such a great experience, I have had the best time and I have learned so much; I am so grateful for this opportunity. We spent our last day in Berlin at the zoo, which I don’t know if this is true or not, but I was told it is the largest zoo in the world, and even if it’s not I surely am going to tell everyone back home that it is.They had so many didn’t species, I honestly didn’t know there were that many different types of small cats and monkeys. The elephant enclosure was by far my favorite, I love elephants I wish there was a way for me to get closer to them. I spent so much of the day saying “Did you know….” I’m sure they had no idea I was so full of fun facts. I’m also sure by the end of the day I was annoying my friends a little bit, but hey I bet they learned a thing or two! We literally spent almost five hours at the zoo day, and they were rushing me at the end because some needed to be back for the river cruise, I could have honestly stay there all day. After the zoo I came back to the hostel and took a nap, my legs were so very tired after a night of dancing followed by a day of walking. After my nap I woke up and showered and started packing up my belongings to go home! I can’t believe I am finally saying that, what a bittersweet feeling it is. I’m just waiting for me to get emotional at the airport once everyone goes their separate ways. I can’t wait to come back to Nashville to visit my new friends. TnCIS is such a wonderful program ran by such wonderful people I will not hesitate to recommend it to anyone eager to travel.