Three weeks ago was my last week of classes, which was definitely a mixed bag of emotions for me. On the one hand, I was glad that classes were finally finished. I'm still far too used to the quarter system, and the fourteen-week semester somehow felt so much longer than the ten-week quarter. And, as I already said, it's difficult to concentrate on classes in the middle of July! On the other, it meant that the year is over, and I have to say goodbye to the friends I've made here, some of whom I may never see again. In addition, I have to prepare for my own trip back the US. This was the attitude that I had going into the university the last week, and felt quite surreal. My last International Management lecture was just a review of everything we had learned over the semester, but she also talked about the class and research opportunities available Winter Semester. It seemed like just another reminder that I won't be back and couldn't take advantage of these opportunities.
Tuesday night I headed over to Potsdamer Platz to see the midnight release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. I didn't dress up, and most people didn't, but it was fun to see the few Germans who did. Several of my friends did tell me I was either a very dedicated fan or crazy, possibly both, because I went to the movies the night before I had a final. But when you've been planning something for so long, like I had to see HP at midnight, there's no holding back. But yes, it did make me slightly worried for my oral test Wednesday evening for my Prussian Foreign Policy class. Ultimately, though, although there was a bit of confusion with the professor and the questions he asked, the final wound up being okay. That was the one class I couldn't wait to finish. Immediately after the oral exam, I went off to the farewell party for the EAP program. It was great being able to see everybody there one last time. Even though I had only met them a year ago, or some of them only a semester ago, I've become quite close to some of them. It's funny that all of us are from California, and some are even from Davis, and we had to come all the way to Berlin so our paths could cross!
Friday, after all of the classes were over for the semester, I went out to dinner to a restaurant called Unsichtbar, which literally translates to "hidden" or "invisible", which may give a hint as to the kind of meal we had- we ate in the dark! That's definitely not a place to go to if you are a picky eater, though, since besides the main protein (which we chose) of the meal, they didn't tell us anything about our meal! The three of us were a little disoriented at first, but amazingly, we were able to adjust pretty quickly to the environment. By the time dessert came around, we were eating as confidently as if we could see what we were doing.
Since classes ended, I've been going out with friends on a more regular basis, so that we're able to say goodbye to each other. So many people are throwing themselves goodbye parties, which is customary in Germany. I've decided not to do so, since most of the people I have met will have flown back to their home countries before I will, and there won't be a whole lot of people around when it's time for me to go. Instead, I just go to all the other goodbye parties or say goodbye some other time. It has surprisingly led to several new experiences in the city, such as going to a Kölsch bar and having people speak the Kölsch dialect to us incessantly, multilingual charades, and seeing a robot drink water and splash it on the people watching.
I had my last final on Friday, which wrapped up my time at the Free University Berlin. Walking out of the Rost und Silberlaube, the main building on campus, I had some mixed feelings. To be honest, I like the American system more. The professors are (usually) crystal clear about what they expect out of students in the class, which I didn't always find to be true here in Berlin. In addition, it was often difficult to find the professor's office hours to discuss any problems with them, something UC Davis professors are required to have. On the other hand, there have been some good memories here. I've been successful in my classes, even when it seemed everything was stacked against me. I walk by the Mensa (cafeteria) and remember some of the conversations I had with my tandem partner. There's the "brain", the central library, where I would study between classes Winter Semester. From that building, I could quickly get to the history building, where I had one of my favorite classes of the year, as well as one of my least favorite. I remember the day I decided to walk home from the university, which took me three and a half hours, but let me see areas of the city that made me question whether I was even still in Berlin.
I'm slowly coming to terms with the fact that I will be going back to California soon. In any case, I'm definitely looking forward to it more than I was two weeks ago. But that definitely doesn't mean I won't be enjoying my last 11 days to the fullest!