Friday, July 29, 2011

Berlin: Singing in the rain

I actually have a lot more to post about Berlin but tomorrow I am going away and will not have access to my computer. Will post more when I return. I am dancing because I am so happy I am seeing my parents and sister tomorrow. (This is my attempt at making a good old cheesy gif, its bad but its a first).

Berlin: Singing in the rain

I actually have a lot more to post about Berlin but tomorrow I am going away and will not have access to my computer. Will post more when I return. I am dancing because I am so happy I am seeing my parents and sister tomorrow 

Berlin: Kreuzberg

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Berlin: Tea with Lise

Day 2: Having tea on the way to Schloss Charlottenburg

Berlin: First Impressions

- At the Berlin Wall -

One great thing about living in Europe is that it is so easy to travel around. With our summer holidays here I am taking the free time to do just that. This pas week I met up with my best friend in Berlin. After everyone has told me about how amazing the city  it it seemed right to go see for myself.  

My  besty Lise and  I met up at our hotel as we both got to Berlin  at night.  My flight got delayed which got me arriving at the hotel at 1 am. The excitement when two friends who have not seen each other in a few months  is one magical thing that this earth offers us, and so it was for us. Having too much to talk about (as it goes one always ends up talking in the dark) we ended up falling asleep just before dawn. We arose the next morning after the cleaning lady knocked on the door. We rushed to finish considering the fact that we are in another city and fought of the rain and freezing wind like true determined tourists. Like all typical tourists we headed for the centre first.

 Berlin is a big city and not easy to immediately get a feel for, this is especially true for the centre which has big modern buildings and wide streets. It was pouring down and so cold and we have not yet had breakfast, this made us feel unwelcome in the city at first. We rushed in to a place that offered food and tea and after that we rushed towards ZARA who had a sale to see if we can find perhaps another jacket. Warmer and fed we  felt more courage to trump the weather and go see what the city had to offer.

Berlin can seem very grey at first, there is the Holocaust Memorial, a beautiful land art piece but kind of depressing, then you find Check Point Charlie and the remains of the Berlin wall. This combined with bad weather was about enough that we could take and we ended our day with a piece of cake and tea at a Starbucks of all places. The cake did not disappoint. After that we accidently stumbled across the area around Alexanderplatz and Hackescher market where you find the Dome and the museums and green gardens. Even in the greyness we were convinced, we actually do like Berlin. We ended our day in our hostel room with Prosecco and a kebab and  with the good conversation and giggles only a best friend can offer...

Berlin: Something modern - something old

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Berlin: Holocaust Memorial

Note: You are not supposed to stand and climb on those blocks.

Berlin: Death of Umbrella

First day in Berlin we had a freezing wind and continuous rain - my Woolworths umbrella has seen its end. 

Summer treat :-)

Ok, really bad photo, but this is one of the things that makes me so happy anguria e melone (watermelon and melon). Also I immediately get that Afrikaans song in my head, "Saai die waatlemoen" and remember Christmas in South Africa - instant pick me up in the summer heat.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Biennale di Venezia

This is the work of Sigalit Landau at Israel pavilion entitled "One man's floor is another man's feelings", it was one of my favourites at the Biennale.  Read about it here.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Summer in Milan

Summer in Milan comes with a few challenges. Number one: the weather, with high  humidity (some days an average of 56) and temperature soaring up to 32 degrees  one really  starts to wish for a bedroom that does not face the late afternoon sun. I now wear tiny sun dresses for the most part and sit around in my underwear where possible.

Second challenge which comes along with the heat and the humidity is that of the mosquitoes. These bloodsucking parasites of Milan are super creatures; high level buildings and clothes are not a challenge to them. You will get bitten, and the bite stings. It also leaves very prominent pink bumps which if you scratch it looks like you have some skin disease.  And they will bite you several times, and they choose the places which are most uncomfortable for you like on your fingers, toes and the inside of you thigh, with the placement just right so that it would be inappropriate to scratch yourself in public. I have now counted 3 on each foot (of which 2 are on my toes), 2 on my one thigh, and one on the other, one on my finger, one on my knee, one behind my knee and one of my calf.  

Then there is the third challenge: EXAMS! Now the exams here in Italy are a completely different process than South Africa and if you are  not used to it the process can be compared to Chinese torture.

First of all, they refer to this exam often as an interrogation. Exams are done orally. One has 10 minutes to discus all you know with the teacher. In the most part it doesn’t start by them asking you question but it starts by them looking at you with eager empty faces and then them saying: “Start!” So there I sit in front of them and I hardly know where to start! So here I discovered my weakness, I am really good at preparing for written exams, and it requires you to prepare the minimum and you usually then have an hour to formulate your thoughts around the knowledge base.  It is not so easy to formulate something in 10 minutes that sounds like something, also I realised that I have a tendency to be distracted easily when I talk. I go from one point to a completely random point.  I felt at most part like I said nothing.

The worst part of the exam however was the way it is organised. Your timetable states the exam is on a specific date and starting at a specific time. You then show up at that time, and they circulate a paper on which you list your name, and then you wait for your turn according to that list –taking in consideration that some lectures needs coffee and smoke breaks. For example my first exam start at 9:30 but I only did my exam at 14:00. For the waiting part everyone else sits in the same class where you are being interrogated. So if the build up in the wait and listening to everyone else doing their exams (wondering if you are able to say as much as they just did) didn’t make you nervous enough, you have the entire class listening to you when you do yours. Exams in general I find painful, but these are a slow torture.

However I made it through and passed all of them with good marks, and now I still have four more to do in September which will end my first year of my masters.  Between the heat, the mosquitoes and exams however there are the great things:  Gelato, watermelons,  cappucio freddo (coffee and milk on ice), green parks, summer storms (which reminds me of home), summer holiday coming soon and then starting the first weekend in July the SUMMER SALE!! So if you excuse me I have to work some so that I can go do some shopping tomorrow.

--- To come: 
I still need to write about the Venice Biennial ---