dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
Yesterday I kind of reached my breaking point. Or is that boiling point? Anyway, late Monday evening I did a last check of my schedule - in case they'd switched rooms or something. And there I found out that I'd been thrown out of two classes by the online scheduling system, which kind of made me flip my shit a bit. Now, the first class, which was on Tuesday morning, wasn't too bad since it said that it's got unlimited space. But the second class, which I'll go visited and try to get into today, only has 35 places. And I applied in good time, but now I'm not sure if I'll be able to take it or not. It also looks really interesting

Then in the morning we got a surprise (for me) visit by the washing machine repair guy, which would have annoyed me considerably less if I'd known to wash my hair in the evening. Solution: Keep that hat on, yo! Lucky for me, there was such a long break between morning and afternoon class so I could go home and fix my hair. I just hate it when stuff messes up on my first day...

The day finished with an epically long lecture, on an interesting but heavy topic: The lost illusions of German nationalism, a cultural history. Interesting, but hard to listen to for three hours, especially as I was kind of dying of hunger after a while and because the lecture contained omg so much information, of which I desperately had to try and write everything down.
Thank goodness for anime, is all I can say, because it is not an exaggeration to state that everything I learned about the Holy Roman Empire I learned due to Hetalia. And there was a lot about the HRE yesterday, as well as various German poets whose names I only vaguely recall (Klopstock being the one I know best, and even that is basically as "the guy they like in Werther") as well as various societies and groups. Unfortunately, our lecturer did not write a single thing on the whiteboard, nor did he put on any pictures or anything, so I will have to go through my notes and try to google/wiki the hmm-mebbe-spelled-like-this? people.

Oh, and he's scheduled the exams for the 20th or 21th of December. When I have already gone back to Sweden for Christmas, since the website and several people have stated quite clearly that term ends on the 19th December. Joy is not what I feel about this revelation...

Anyway, tired and grumpy as I was, I hurried over to the library (which is open until midnight ♥) and decided with some of my classmates that one successful day totally deserves a beer or similar. So we met up at Warschauer strasse in the rain (I don't know why, but Berlin never feels as Berlin-y to me as when it's raining) and then found a little italian place with cheap drinks. And nice soup too, we discovered after a while. I tried a grog, which was less sweet than I had expected but just what I needed after that day and then somehow we ended up with me and A having a bit of a Harry Potter geekout - I think I want to read the books in German before I go home, btw - and it was basically just what I needed.

Today I'll try to apply for a language class and will go to my maybe-I'm-allowed-in-maybe-not class and hopefully it will start better and end as well as yesterday.
dancing_moon: Text: Resistance is ohm (resistance is ohm)
Wrote a mail to the leader of the Projekttutorium "Marginalized identities & their representation" asking for further information, but unless I've grossly misunderstood everything I'll sign up and visit this seminar series.

Of course, before I got that far, I had to figure out what the heck a projektutorium is. Since I activated my Humboldt e-mail account, I've gotten several mails daily inviting me to various things. Some was just crap, some was events happening at the university and then there were all these "projekttutoriums"... Does that mean tutorials? Open lectures? Wut?

Luckily, the one that finally tickled my interest enough to click through to the main site also contained a handy link to the university page explaining what a PT is.

Basically, it's a series of classes/seminars lead by a students about topics that do not fit into the regular study topics (or there's no-one interested in teaching it, I guess, since intersectionality and identities totally seems like a "valid" topic) and you get no points/ECTS-credits for them. However, the university supplies rooms, a bit of money and you can add it to your schedule through the AGNES-system, where you add all regular classes. I think it's a great idea and, even if this PT wouldn't have had a topic which I'm really interested in, I would've liked to visit some PT just to see how it works. I can't think of anything similar on Swedish universitites, there everything seems to be done either through the student union (completely free, but also rarely economic support from the university) or it's part of someone's thesis work, comes from a faculty or similar.

Anyway, I think I'll take part of the PT about Marginalisierte Identitäten und deren Repräsentation. The topics are Queer History, Race, Trans* liberation, Rights of children (ex. Intersexed children), Religion/Visibility of Islam in Europe, HIV/AIDS, Disability Studies and Methods & Language.
It all looks quite interesting, also the time-plan seems well-structured with a (so far I can judge) varied and relevant reading list.

Since I'm strictly verboten from taking regular classes that aren't offered by the Philosophic Faculty II (basically, German + a bunch of European languages) I think it will be a nice break from only lit. classes. And, of course, it connects nicely with my interest in gender-studies. I've also never before had the time or possibility to take classes directly concerning racism or other non-gender opressions, nor a "pure" minorities studies class, so this is a good chance to try something new.

Is anyone else familiar with this kind of student-lead studies? Do they tend to work well?

In further somewhat study-relevant news, I managed to nab a place in one of the super-cheap sport groups that are on offer for students. I'm going to lern fencing! With a sabre! Wish me luck, I'll totally need it ;P
dancing_moon: My books: Never enough shelf space (books)
Today I went on the library tour through the imposing Grimm-Zentrum, the brand new (only two years old!) university library that belongs to Humboldt. It's not exactly easy to figure out what to do the first time you enter here, but after an informative tour, I think I'll manage. More or less.

Secondly, I got the computer connected to the university wlan \o/ Now, just gotta fix the phone too.

And, last but not least, I logged into my university account, looked at my schedule (that I've put together myself *ohSOproud*), found the one book that I know we are to read, found it in the library catalogue and nabbed the very last book from the shelf.

Good job, self, it almost makes up for not cleaning this morning even though you were supposed to. Now, home, eat and then off and see if I can get tickets for Versailles.
dancing_moon: Farin Urlaub is shot by Lara Croft. No, really (Farin U)
Where did last week go? o.0 I thought, what with language class ending, that I'd have a bit more free time, but a sudden realization that it was my cleaning weekend and I'd signed up for a "How to study in Germany" workshop which lasted all Saturday suddenly made the time seem very short indeed... This week, I'm technically free, but tomorrow will be completely dedicated to university stuff, since we have our introduction events for both the department and all international students. The other days are also a bit booked with various tours - of library, mediothek etc, which I think I will all need to visit because hot damn if the Humboldt university ain't a quagmire of rules!! Just getting into the library is approaching airport securty controls.

Some whining re school )

Leaving behind the woes of a student (for the moment), I do have some little free time this week and I intend to use it well!

Today I went with three classmates from the language group (I'll miss them soooo much! Even though we've got a Fb group, it won't be the same thing! And we we were such a nice, well-matched group, nevermind our obsession with whether the teacher waxed his chest or not... Ahem, moving on) to the museum Haus am Checkpoint Charlie.
It's dedicated to the Berlin Wall; it's history, the victims, the escapes and the art it inspired. It also has a pretty substantial department which covers peaceful protests against human rights abuse and, more generally, the different protests in the Soviet area.

Text-intensive, quite "heavy" museum, but super interesting if you take the time to read it all.
That it's actually located right at (the rebuilt) Checkpoint Charlie and is quite agitatory about the themes covered, makes it even more of an experience. Since it's inside an old office building (bigger on the inside! but not by much!) and a first stop for many tourists, there are heavy crowds and not much oxygen.

Anyway, in we went and spent an informative couple of hours. I've visited once, but it was ten years ago and it was interesting to return. This time, I could also appreciate some of the art pieces a bit more, although most of my mental energy was expanded on reading the many signs.

You really, REALLY need to be willing to take your time with the (many) signs on the walls here. They, and the photos they accompany of course, are the meat of the museum - the actual exhibit pieces are mostly items used in escapes and some rather kitschy bits of clothing (uniforms and whatnot). Due to the somewhat erratic spelling/grammar in the English signs, it also helps to have a good grasp of German. I think this is (one of) the reason(s) for several negative reviews I found online.
The other is the somewhat mistaken impression one easily gets from the name of the museum. This ain't a pedagogic look at the "how and why" of the Iron Curtain, but more a grand collection of eye-witness accounts. And if you're not familiar with at least a bit background structure, you won't be able to understand much of what's happening.

Despite the crowds and weird layout, I would still recommend the Haus am Maur ten times more than the GDR museum (located near the Berlin Dome, by the water) which really is a kitschy tourist trap. That ones full of "everyday items from the GRD" and, uh yeah, while it is a kid-friendly museum it was a bit too much Ostalgie and not enough information for me.

Aaaanyway, back to Checkpoint Charlie. Since I'm the kind of geek that likes reading signs, I quite like the Wall House, even if I would have wished the company of slightly fewer visitors.

What did baffle me quite a bit were the two rooms dedicated to Ronald Reagan and Axel Springer. Not that they existed as such, considering how both of them said and did things that are quite relevant in a look at the political themes surrounding the wall, but that the informationed semed about 110% positive. While Reagan's timeline included the tax cuts and his firing of the air traffic controllers, it was mentioned in one line. I think even his cowboy stuff got a sign of it's own, but not this.

And Springer? Who is definitely a debated figure in German history, especially if you're a museum dedicated to human rights issues, protests and freedom... Now, admittedly, I didn't read everything in that room as we were all getting quite tired, but the overall tone seemed very pro Springer-company. Since this is a privately owned museum, they are of course free to exhibit whatever they want, but it made me quite curious about 1) who actually owns the place, these days and 2) what else are they leaving out?

Anyway - if you're in Berlin, you could do worse than come to this museum. Just get up earlier than we did, so you don't have to push through quite as many crowds.
dancing_moon: Farin Urlaub is shot by Lara Croft. No, really (Farin U)
...and then she went Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!! because the tribute night to Die Ärzte, a multi-band cover concert, turned out friggin awesome! out of 8 bands, I only really felt one were bad )and they could play, but they totally lacked energy and/or stage presence), it ended with all the bands + some audience + plenty of beer *cough* on the stage of Kulturbrauerei singing Zu Spät and Westerland after a pretty fantastic 4 HOURS of music & jokes by/about/related to my favorites favorite band in the world.

This after a Friday evening spent playing Settlers of Catan and Munchkin until laaate (got home at four-ish. AM.) and a Saturday day which began with a spontaneous visit to IKEA because we totally needed a spagetthi strainer and a lkfmnhj-thingy, which you turn pancackes etc with, for the non-stick pan followed by a equally spontaneous stanidng around watching the inline skating marathon as it passed by our subway station (but we ran home and dumped the IKEA stuff. Since when do they not have paper bags, the bastids?) and that was really nice, sunny, happy people, swoooosh and they'd inlined past.
Alright, the accident we saw because some dumb fuck just couldn't wait or go around so that a poor marathonist rolled into her bike which she saw fit to drag over the marked street just before a new big heap of inliners were coming in - that was less fun, more ohshit!! But the inline person seemed fine and rolled away after someone helped hir up & the stupid woman with a bike got booed out, a soda can thrown after her and an angry lecture from someonein an Official Jacket, so all was well.

AND THEN I went off to spend something like five hours dancing and getting to know some people whom I will meet again at the Abwärts concert and now my feet are falling off, but I am so happy =D


dancing_moon: Wao Youka as Dracula (Creepy)
There is this thing called budgeting. My budget, in this special circumstance of one heap'o'CSN and euros and whatnot, is what this post is all about )

So, budgeting it is. And saving every recipe, sorting them and trying to figure out how much I need each month to live one. The rent is higher too, a given since I'm living in the middle of the city, although it's far from painfully high.

Because when the big downpayment comes, I WILL know how much it costs to live in Berlin, how much I can use for fun every month and that's final!

This post brought to you by the four letters I got from the bank today and my argh-official-documents-in-German procrastination angst ;) Now I'm gonna be a good girl and actually open them!
dancing_moon: Gilbert goes "Wat??" (wat)
Ze street signs
I decided that, since I am joining the tech-geeky generation by buying a Smartphone (Samsung Galaxy 5, like it so far) and Facebook is evul and only allows logged-in people to see the pictures, and I am far to lazy to double-upload everything, imma gonna get a twitter account. Connected to twitpic, you see =)
So if anyone wants to see my random photos from Berlin (which I will try to remember to actually take, ehehe) you can find my tweetages @dansandem

This photo, I just have to share twice:
Crossing Rudi-Dutschke-Str/Axel-Springer-Str

I _boggled_ seeing those signs during my walk, lemme tell you! Now, you gotta know some pretty recent German history to understand that bogglement, and I most certainly do not know the whole story!

But, basically Dutschke was a left-activist and student leader. He was shot by a right-wing extremist in 1968, survived but was severly wounded.
And Axel Springer was the then owner of the Springer-group which, among other things, owned the magazine Bild which went out very hard against the student movement and agitated in what to me looks like a pretty Sarah Palinish way (less crazy religion tho).

Eh, right, the Springer main offices is also right by this crossing.

Sooooo basically I stood there wondering whether I misremembered a name (Springer, Sprenger, what do I know? Apparantly I didn't), if this was some kind of German expression of black humor, if it was a protest against Springer or what. So of course I had to photograph it, and from what I can see off Wikipedia, it's basically a combined memorial for Dutschke and a bit of a "Fuck off!" to Springer.

If anyone has more information or a link about this, do share because it seems fascinating =D

Så var det det där med lokaltrafiken aka My thoughts on BVG vs. SL

(I suspect the rest of this post will mainly interest [personal profile] lanjelin but what the hell she's not here so I can discuss it face to face so you ALL GET TO SHARE =D)

BVG = The peeps running the trains, buses etc in Berlin
SL = Dito, but Stockholm

BVG vs SL: Overall )

Prices )

So: If you work and buy a monthly ticket, the difference in cost ain't that huge. If you're a visitor or a student, Berlin FTW

One place where it's mostly a YMMW is the matter of ticket barriers and ticket formats )

Oh, and there one more way that the BVG wins. THE *BLEEPING* TRAINS ACTUALLY RUN. ON TIME. Sure, delays happen, but they're an exception, not the norm

And since school starts tomorrow, I really gotta sleep now!
dancing_moon: [APH] Austria getting his hair teased (Stress)
Ahhh I just wrote my first formal e-amil in German and now I want to hide beneath the bed. The tenses! The Fälle! Those bloody stupid gendered nouns which I don't know because I only actually sat down and studied German grammar in school when I was like 14. That was in another millenia, how am I supposed to remember!!!


But it was to the ERASMUS coordinator at the school, so hopefully she's used to various misspellings. At least I have a proper copy-pasted business mail greeting in the beginning /when in doubt, shoot for formality/
dancing_moon: Text: Resistance is ohm (resistance is ohm)
a.k.a. The Exciting Sequel to DM Trying to Register as a Resident of Berlin. Subtitle: The Rebels Exchange Student Is Victorius!

So, today after some online research and preparation, off I went to visit my third third Citizens Office... )

Feeling emboldened by this sucess (btw this paperwork has cost me a total of 4,5 hours of waiting, some phonecalls, four subway tickets [of which 3 were basically wasted] and considerably aggravation) and some pizza I bought in the subway and put away in record time, I decided I'd attack the next hurdle to a free and painless life in Germany: Getting a bank account and an EC-card.

Because whoever said VISA works everywhere, lied )

*phew* I feel much better after this tl;dr whine. Although I thought it was supposed to take three months before you got to the "raarh stupid foreign customs why must you be so aggravated"-stage.
Ok, this is a bit of a hyperbole. I know Swedish government agencies can also be painfully slow - after all, I had a delightful five-hourish wait for my new passport this summer - but at least they are doing their very best so that you never actually have to park your butt in their offices, so I'm not used to quite this level of aggrevation. Not quite.

* obligatory whinage of Swede used to do 99% of government contact electronically/by phone now follows: OH LORD WHY CAN'T THE WORLD START USING OBLIGATORY NATIONAL ID NUMBERS ALREADY
dancing_moon: Farin Urlaub is shot by Lara Croft. No, really (Farin U)
Phew, tired & happy! I've walked around above Alexanderplats today, looking for the comic shop Grober Unfug which I thought was somewhere by the subway station Weinmeisterstrasse. Turns out they'd moved up a stop (I suspected as much when I began to see the very fancy stores that are all over the area now, not the kind of neighbours comic stores can usually afford. Alas). But! They'd left a sign behind and with some luck and a few helpful locals, I found them again. Larger store, but quite small manga department. There was many more titles in the Thalia bookshop in that big shopping senter at Alex.

I also had to stop at restaurant Transit for a somewhat too expensive, but amazingly tasty lunch. I honestly only gave them a second look because the waitresses were standing and giggling in the open window, they looked a bit too preppy for me. But, happy waitresses? And Asian food, of some kind of izakaya/tapas variety?
Weeell, I took the chance and don't regret it a bit. 3 small dishes, a bubble tea and a bowl of rice came to about 12 euro and it was among the best modern Asian I've had. Ever.
It was also plenty filling - each small dish cost 3 euro and I could honestly have skipped the rice, except as mouth soothener after the spicy beef salad. I warmly recommend it, and you can get every dish vegetarian too.

Today I also got myself a Tip magazine, which contains info about events in Berlin. (On a side-note, I'm always positively surprised by how much actual written content German magazines have. Even Tip carries several editorials and a couple of readable articles)

Anyway, tonight there was apparantly a free Shakespeare play in a nearby park. Probably one of the more unusual Shakespeare versions I've seen, but a damn good one )

The play was entertaining, more engaging than I would've thought and the only downside was that it was a bit hard to hear what happened sometime, especially when prince Harry spoke, but otherwise I count is as a most successful experience.

There's another show tomorrow, same time and place, if anyone thinks it sounds like fun. And is in Berlin, ehe ;)
dancing_moon: To Victory! Daleks can win the war (victory!)
I've landed! I actually landed on Thursday but the internet connection's been wonky.

Which in a way was a good thing, since it meant I could spend most of these days running around town ^___^

The Good
My landlady seems really nice, my room is larger than I thought and the house is just wonderfully placed!

The window faces the garden, a lush half-wild little oasis (where, I just found out this morning, a goshawk moved in not long ago!) and the front of the house faces a mini-plaza. Which, honestly, mostly works like a parking lot but it's rather still and quiet. So, surrounded by our little isle of calm, we sit in the middle of Kreuzberg: Oranienstrasse round the corner, nightclubs, bars, restaurants, quirky shops, second-hand stuff, hairsalons that advertize their skill with punk styles, street art and lord knows what else. I ♥ it.

Have mostly spent the days running around shopping and exploring the area, which is totally neat. Also sleeping and reading, because I think a bit of pre-travel jitters loosened themselves by making me super tired. But today, I'm feeling quite perky and since it's saturday, I won't have to spend a couple of hours on the other activity that I've been doing since coming here. Which leads us on to...

The Not-So-Good
What is less smiley and more :( is the fact that I, despite two visits (and a lot of waiting) to two different Burgerämter (Citizens Office aka The Dread German Bureaucracy) I still haven't managed to register myself as a person living in Berlin. Which I must have to be able to enroll in school. You are seeing my problem, yes? Well, the first time they were stupid and couldn't find my landlady in their records. Of course, when she called them not 40 minutes later, they found her in a tick. I mean, what?

Then I tried another office, on her recommendation, and whaddya know, due to lack of personell they only had pre-booked meetings that day. Which they've apparantly been doing for all of August, a fact that none of the three people we talked to one the phone saw fit to mention even as we said the name of that office to two of them. *sigh*

On Monday, I'm trying the last of the three offices in this part of the city and if that doesn't work I'll go to the student union to ask for a native backup.
dancing_moon: PANIC!!!! (Sinfest image) (Panic!)

(although ok I have to sleep some hours so "this date" actually becomes "today" but still)

What have I forgotten? I'm not gonna see people for so long ;_;

Argh, I have to ACTUALLY WRITE UNIVERSITY LEVELS ESSAYS IN FUCKING GERMAN. I'm a fraud, I only studied German for two years! Two years! And that was in another millenia, I don't remember any grammar are you nuts?

But! New city, new life, study literature without Strindberg =D Stuff! Excitement! I can haz packed 2 days ago (mwahahahahaha!!!)! Apfelschorle and hearing German all the time and omigosh


Think I'm gonna manage to go to sleep now? Uh-huh, me too...
dancing_moon: PANIC!!!! (Sinfest image) (Panic!)
The headline says it all, but oh-em-gee, how many forms do I have to fill out and what do they even mean? My adress, my former adress, my previous adress in-country, my adress in 1939* and then I have to hand it in and ~apparantly~ the only have a bookable time at 8.15 the morning after I arrive or after school has already started well thank you so much dear German bureocracy. At least we don't have to take the car for two hours out in the middle of some bloody field somewhere, as we did when I was living in land Brandenburg.

I want to believe it is a bit easier in Sweden, but I have the nagging suspicion that most of our ease is due to the personal numbers. And that foreign students are most likely required to jump through a billion hoops before they receive said personal number.

* obv. not relevant to me but still a little bit baffling to find. (ETA: No disrespect meant, it took me about 0.2 seconds to realize why that part was there but, y'know, first moment of bafflement) Also surprising was the place where I could fill in my "order" name. Good for all nuns, I guess?


dancing_moon: Jadeite / DM / Me (Default)
Dancing Moon


Style Credit

May 2012

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