Wednesday was the start of greatness (aka team Alpha!) I was surrounded by Peter’s giant smile, Harris’s constant jokes, Lauren’s never-ending questions, Emma’s humorous sarcasm, and Taylor’s bold confidence. Taking on the city of Berlin alongside these five individuals was a one in a lifetime experience. I was shocked to discover how at peace I could feel while wandering foreign streets with only my peers. I was comfortable enough to place my trust in them and explore wholeheartedly.
A few of the most impactful memories for me personally included The Memorial of the Murdered Jews, The Soviet Memorial, and The Berlin Wall Museum. The Memorial of the Murdered Jews was abstract, yet extremely effective in highlighting the feeling of being isolated, terrified, and trapped in one state both mentally and physically. The Soviet Memorial was absolutely breathtaking. The amount of thought that went into everything from the weeping willows to the story carved into stone to the massive solider crushing the swastika was captivating. Lastly, the Berlin Wall Museum was my personal favorite as it highlighted life before, after, and during the 28 year time period in which the wall existed. There was everything from testimonies of successful escape attempts to reactions to the building of the war. One recored reaction that truly got me thinking reads,
“It’s not a very nice decision, but a wall is a hell of a lot better than a war.”
This mindset intrigued me. I thought to myself, do I agree with this? In my opinion, no one should be subject to a life in which their freedoms are stripped away simply because it appears to be the easy way out for a certain group of individuals.
Dinner in the dark was an experience like none other. The combination of unfamiliarity, fear, and uncertainty created quite a bond among our entire group. I have never been in a room that is so dark my eyes fail to adjust, and eventually I got to the point where I simply didn’t care to try as much and settled on the darkness. On a grander scale, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to endure tragedies such as the ones we discussed that took place in Germany and overcome the desire to stop trying altogether.
In contrast, stumbling upon the Rose Garden was my favorite part about Berlin. The sensation of serenity brought instant pleasure, comfort, and love. Surrounded by the beautiful flowers, fresh air, and distinct architecture, it was a moment of joy I will never forget.
In addition to the pieces of history I am continuously getting to learn significantly more about, I was also able to grasp a couple of life lessons I find myself wanting to implement or was reminded to continue actively doing. These include:
– Partaking in activities the right way. In Dr. P’s words, “It’s about the way you do things that speak volumes about your character.”
– Being completely open and transparent with those around me. If someone asks me any type of life question, I desire to boldly deliver the full truth.
– Finding a balance between being my authentic self and being considerate of the emotions of others around me. I currently place a great amount of value in making sure people have ideal perceptions and opinions of me, but I shouldn’t do that at the expense of also doing what makes me happy. I want to find the healthy in between of embracing life’s moments while being intentional along the way.
Take it easy,