How to Go Underground in Berlin

I didn’t name my blog “in transit” just because I like to travel. It’s really (primarily!) because my life is always transitioning. Take the past month, for example, while I’ve transitioned into full-time job search and part-time transcription work. But this morning I looked up from re(re)(re)customizing my résumé and realized I never wrote about Berlin Underground!

While I was visiting my friends in Berlin (now with a blog of their own at Adventuring Pandas), we had dinner with Rob, once of the This Week in Germany podcast. When he found out I was undecided about my plans the next day, he recommended the Berlin-Underground Tour (which he’d featured on Episode 105, around the 10 minute mark), and Rob, I’m here to say thank you. I only wish I’d had time to take ALL of the tours they offer that day instead of just one!

Conclusion of the notes I took after the tour:

Great tour, great price, go go go!!!

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Driving Through the Highlands

Glancing at my calendar yesterday, it hit me that tomorrow, it will have been three weeks since I flew back to the States. Three weeks, that is, without updating my faithful and patient readers on all the cool, non-farming, non-disillusioning stuff I did while I was away!

Allow me to rectify that oversight starting now, with a Scotland omnibus similar to my Trial By Fire post a month ago.

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Deep Breath

Langston Hughes wrote a famous poem about a dream deferred. I’ve been reciting it in my head a lot during the past month, ever since reality hit in Scotland and it became clear that the pursuit of my sheep farm dream was ending up far unlike I had, well, dreamed it would.

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I spent a lot more time shredding tree branches than tending sheep. Really quite meditative, as jobs go.

But this poem—a brilliant piece of art, go read it if you don’t know it—is about putting off a dream. As Hughes writes, when we put off our dreams, they can dry up, fester, or even explode. It’s scary to put off dreams. But we do it anyway.

Why?

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Ich bin (ein) Berliner

When I was in high school studying German, my teacher told us about JFK’s famous Ich bin ein Berliner speech, pointing out that, in German, we don’t say, “I am a Berliner” or “an American” or “a Pennsylvanian,” but simply, “I am Berliner,” or “I am Pennsylvanian.” Adding an article before Berliner kind of made it sound like he said, “I am a type of gooey jelly donut famous to this region.”

But I digress. Whatever the literal translation, his meaning was clear. And today, I feel exactly the same way.

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Berlin Wall 1961–1989

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“What do they need that your talent can provide?”

Today a friend tagged me in a Facebook video of Jim Carrey. In it, he says,

Risk being seen in all your glory. . . . Fear is writing the script, and the working title is I’ll Never Be Enough. . . . How will you serve the world? What do they need that your talent can provide?

All month, my working title has been I’ll Never Be Enough, as I’ve managed to fail at everything they’ve given me to do, and at even understanding them half the time. But today, on my penultimate day of volunteering, I have figured out what they need that my talent can provide.

Beauty.

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How to WWOOF Effectively

If you’ve seen any of my recent posts, you know I’ve had some trouble adjusting to my first experience WWOOFing. It has not been all bad, but it also hasn’t been all good. (Whatup, life?) Mostly it’s been my fault for not being really ready.

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Oomph.

I’ve had a lot of time to think about how I could have prepared better and how it could have gone more smoothly. If you’re thinking of WWOOFing, here’s some advice.

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Mrs A

No country British home is complete without its Mrs A. She cooks, helps with the laundry, and—most importantly my first few days here—keeps everyone warm.

“You just don’t see these in the States,” I said my first day, cozying up to her with a cup of tea.
“Not even in the countryside?” the other WWOOFer here asked, aghast.

Alas, no. My friends, allow me to introduce Mrs A.

(A is for Aga.)

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On Being Spaintaneous

The year before I studied in Germany, a friend of mine studied in Spain. That semester, she stopped wearing her watch, she stopped worrying as much as we’re both prone to, and she learned how to be spontaneous, or, as she called it, spaintaenous.

What a great way to live.

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Pont du Gard, 2009.

Just like my friend, I typically like to plan things. I like to know where I’m headed and what steps I’ll take to get there. But there’s a big, suppressed part of me that hates being so regimented.

And this week, she won out.

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Trial By Fire

Clearly by my last post, you all know I certainly felt in over my head upon arrival. And it was undoubtedly difficult, especially as someone who doesn’t know how to pace herself or when to quit. I had also forgotten I can experience things like homesickness and loneliness, for all my big talk about about traveling solo. Despite all that, after getting to know my host and hostess better—and realizing just how kind they are—I’ve hit my pace and am well-poised to enjoy the rest of this experience.

And what an experience it is! The Spirit of Speyside Whisky Fest is taking place this weekend, and my hostess and I went to a ceilidh to celebrate. I feel like Lydia Bennet when I say I danced every dance!

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