28.6.11

A splash of color on grey



Oh my life is changing everyday
Every possible way
Though my dreams, it’s never quite as it seems
Never quite as it seems

 So far, life in Berlin has been saturated with ambivalent feelings and drastic contrast. Sometimes I feel on the verge of anxiety, a crushing feeling of loneliness, which can only be accurately portrayed by this clip of Misery Bear:


And then, one sunny but fresh afternoon I go out for drinks with my first girlfriend here (i.e. a girl who is also my friend) and have a great time talking about life and the sweet and sour adventures of living on your own, and how we -young adults- are all neotenic these days.

One day I feel completely incompetent, oblivious and underquialified regarding the theoretic background for my new project and the skills required to carry it out, and the other I find myself at a top-class conference, impressing a cool Russian guy with my diluted knowledge on Russian literature and films.

At the aforementioned conference, I got confirmation on my suspicion regarding the reason why I have succeeded so far on having a normal social life despite being esencially a loner, an often mediocre first impression and a socially awkward person. The quid is, I'm not one to look for friends, and it usually takes me a considerable amount of time to adapt to my classmates/colleagues (as most of the time I feel we have little in common); but, for whatever reason, people just tend to approach me. I sat by miself in a corner of the garden, or stood up drinking my tea, oblivious of the happenings around me, and then, lo and behold! Someone approaches and starts conversation with me.

It's like negative reciprocal of the Law Of Attraction: looks like I attract good things with a negative attitude. Take that, Rhonda Byrne.

In the past few weeks, and without making any effort, I managed to stumble upon and go out with a couple of very kind and interesting people who definitely have great friend potential (luckily, I got myself once again into one of this "What in earth did I do for this person to like me so much?" kind of situation). But luck can only get you so far. You cannot just sit in a corner looking dark and misterious and hope for a bunch of interesting people to come close and talk to you. Most of the time, it doesn't work that way. Specially when they are complete strangers.

I want my life here to bloom like it never did before: do the things I always wanted to do, meet the people I've always wanted to meet, visit the places I've always wanted to see. Get knowledge. Get experience. Get sophisticated.

Also, trying new things is good for your brain. And I always love a new challenge. Let's get started!


Tschüss!

Marissa

15.6.11

See the new moon rising...

Tonight, a blood moon will rise over Berlin.



You know what's funny? Watching tourists and their desperate efforts to try to get a picture of themselves and fit the entire Fernsehturm (TV Tower) as a background. Man, some of them get really creative, but in the end all of them realize is impossible and give in.

I salute you -live!- from Alexander Platz's Starbucks, at the very heart of the German capital, the Fernsehturm right above me. I'm not one to endorse monster chains of fast-food, and certainly not one that feels specially proud to sit here and consume their (bland) products (unlike my friend next to me, who's busy getting her picture taken next to the Starbucks sign because apparently she travelled all the way to Berlin to be photographed chilling at the same coffee-making monster corporation she can find at home- get real, lady).

I am here because I am still homeless, and that means no internet access (gasp!) either.  Which is one of the reasons for the very slow posting these days.

Still, there's many exciting things coming soon, starting tomorrow, with Roger Waters' "The Wall", the legendary show that I missed in Mexico, but now I have the opportunity to witness in the only city in the world were this stale metaphor adquires a most special feeling; coincidentally, the wall will be right there, standing next to us as we listen ecstatic to the magic chords. You cannot ask for more. Oh, no, wait, you can! I demand David Gilmour playing the solo for Comfortably Numb (pleaaaaaasseeeee... so not happening, but hope dies last, right?). I only hope we didn't get scammed by the guy who sold us the tickets, or there will be a small tragedy of Sophoclean proportions tomorrow.

 On june 21, the streets will be soaked in musical bliss, as the Fête de la Musique hits the town (well, every town, actually). For me it's a great oportunity to grasp a little of the vibrant musical scene in this city, still awaiting to be discovered. I need to either choose wisely, or wander like a nomad until I find something I like, but definitely looking forward to it!

Additionally, there's parties and festivals every weekend, so there's plenty to choose from. This weekend the 48 Stunden Neukölln Festival calls my name. Next weekend there's Exberliner's 9th Anniversary Party at Monster Ronson's, which I may attend...


Anyway, here I am when I should be looking at flats to rent, hmmm... time to go!




Tchüss!


Marissa

Weekend out, part II




Saturday

A walk through Friedrichshain

Sunny parks and people sitting on the grass while charging batteries. Also, assorted shops offering interesting and fun clothes and accessories, scattered through a stylishly relaxed, inspiring, and friendly neighborhood. 


Small Coffee Shops with cozy spaces and outside benches where you can drink your Chai Latte, or eat simple but well presented tasty food, while having good conversation and looking at the other characters roaming the street in their cool and effortless attires.

I love how in Berlin you can go out for a little shopping adventure and always find a treasure or two. It’s like you only need to say: “I need a cool ___add any noun here___, and it materializes before your eyes! (and no, I'm not "manifesting" stuff with the power of my good wishes, you goddamn new wave hippies...).
 

Boat spotting! Spree river



A great (and cheap!) way to waste a weekend afternoon (although time that you enjoy wasting  is never wasted time): Get a cold beer, cigarettes and a snack, and take a short walk from the Warshawer Strasse U-bahn station; steer clear those hordes of silly tourists trying to get their passport stamped at Checkpoint Charlie while competing to see who gets an ethylic coma first (or gets lucky with the busty and over-tanned tourist mate of the bus), and walk behind The Wall (yes, of course, THE Wall). 

Then, join the dozens of people sunbathing like Iguanas thawing after the long frigid winter. The view of the Spree from there is one of my favorite landscapes in the city. You also get to see a few hilarious/extravangant things as well. The boyfriend and I saluted the people on the boats by waving our arms like muppets, but none of them returned the courtesy. They were all acting like they were too cool for it, or maybe they just were boring. Or maybe they just were being german (drumroll… zing!).



Oranienburger Strasse


 


For a drastic change of scene, we took a couple of trains to get to Oranienburger Strasse. Altough very touristy, it feels so incredible alive and colorful, the collective spirit cheers you up and gives you momentum. The smell from the many different meals impregnate the air as you walk, and the Tacheles stands, old and damaged, but proud, before us. Today, there’s a street party aiming to collect funds for legal aid, in order to try and save the alternative ground. A capitalist pig asks for your money:


 As the sunlight faded away and the city lights turned brighter, we headed to BarCelona, were we had a splendid meal. Seafood is the highlight of the menu, and for once it was refreshing to be able to order in Spanish! "Ostia! Traedme mis camarones, tío!" (Well, actually we don’t speak Spanish-spanish, but you get the idea).

Our drink? A rubi red Rioja, the perfect companion for an aromatic paella. It was one of those “I can’t believe this is happening, it’s just like my dreams, I’m so lucky to be here right now!” kind of moment, one of the many that I have had since that sweet and sour moment, one month ago, in which I planted my feet on Berlin, knowing this time it would be for good…



Tschüss!

Marissa

5.6.11

Intermission


But now the dreams and waking screams
That everlast the night
So build a wall
Behind it crawl
And hide until it's light...


And, all of the sudden, that familiar sting. I feel it starting to unlfold in the back of my head, and even though I try to resist it, it’s still there. I don’t want to go back to that mental space again. But it’s there, developing with the gentle hum of anxiety: depression.

It starts like a little spark, a little voice in your head that suddenly pops up in your mind and says: “Why do you even bother?”. Those days when you just cannot make it out of the bed, because there is absolutely no motivation to get up. Or worse: waking up and wishing you haven’t. I know that kind of pain. I knew it well for several months, during those harsh hopeless days of fall, when basically my life could be summed up by this Metallica video:



(Minus the sex, so it was even sadder…)

I try to keep telling myself that I've only been here for one month, and nobody would expect me to start producing real data by now or being fully adapted to life here. But what if they are? Someone told me that it seems like I am not struggling with the lab work at all. And yes, I've tried my best to not complain and be independent and cheerful despite how I really feel. But what if they think that I am ready to carry out a project? I also feel that my reasoning and deductive skills are not being so bright these days.

In short, I am very worried of being in a situation in which people expect a lot from me and I won’t be able to deliver. I am working trying to figure things out but it’s still not clear. There are some things which I have no experience with at all, and are very hard to understand, and I hate feeling that I am working blindly, because I cannot plan experiments if I don’t know the details about how something is done, and good experiments need to be planned flawlessly.

Besides, the weight of being by yourself in an strange environment is heavier than expected. I had seriously underestimated the impact of moving out into a new country, leaving all behind. Is so hard to find your way in a stranger land and make it your home and create a new lifestyle from scratch. You feel terribly alone, frustrated and disappointed many times. This has given to me a whole new order of respect for those who are brave enough to make it. It is not trivial, it’s awfully scary. Add the fact that I have someone here for me, the boyfriend whom I love, and has helped me more than I would expect to kick-start my new life. I cannot imagine how harsh it should be to make it on your own.

 
Mama they try and break me...

2.6.11

First Weekend in Berlin

 And it all begins...
Friday



With the nice weather already blooming in Berlin, the Freiluftkino in Kreuzberg is a great option for a relaxing summer evening. Picture yourself in the middle of a grass field, in a lovely location, beer in hand, sitting on a deck chair with the sky as your rooftop, and on top of that, enjoying a great film! We catched “Exit Trough the Gift Shop”, the mockumentary by  world-famous street artist and prolific mastermind, Banksy. There were even fireworks! (Well, not actually in the cinema, but somewhere else close by).



By the way, I love how in their website, the people from Freiluftkino say that “only dogs in a leash will be admitted to the cinema”. Why in earth would you take your dog to the cinema is something that eludes me… but then again, we see dogs in the subway, at restaurants, stores and even in the bank (yes, in the fuckin’ bank). But the german dog thing is a subject in itself that shall be covered some other time.




 Photo by Skpy

After a evening walk through the buzzing environment of the neighborhood, we wanted to refresh our thirsty throats with some great quality home brewed beer. That would complete a wonderful evening and be the perfect catalyzer for good conversation. So we hopped into the subway to get to the Warschauer Strasse U-bahn station and then do a short walk to one of our favorite spots in Berlin: Hopes & Barley’s Pub.

From Cider to Dark beer, each kind of beer is tastier than the other. Also, it’s good for your health, since cloudy beer means live organisms that make your belly happy inhabit the beer that you are about to drink. Or at least that’s what a couple of german geeks told us one day, and I shall believe them (who am I to contradict them? I mean, they are german and all).

Everytime we go there there’s an all-german crowd (which I think is a good sign), which was kind of intimidating the first time we entered the place, until we realized that everyone there is really friendly and make you feel at home. My favorite drink? The Schlangenbiss (A.K.A. "Snakebite”): Half beer, half cider, with a touch of misterious liquor. Oh yeah. Make sure to try it if you ever go there. 

German beer, man. German beer and chocolate will be the end of me (well, at least of the slim version of me).





To be continued...