Sunday, July 19, 2015

Wannsee - the Potsdam Side

On one side of Wannsee is Berlin, and the other is Potsdam. I lived with my host family for a month on the Berlin side, and every time I told anyone where I lived within Berlin, they were shocked and their eyes widened as they realized how "far" Wannsee is from the center of the city. However, it was about 12-15 miles from "Berlin", and when you got the right train, it took 20 minutes to be in the middle of the city. (When you didn't get the right train, it took more like 40, so I only did that when I wanted to read or really had nowhere to go.) 

During my last week in Berlin, I went to the other side of the lake, and took my camera. I'd run there before, and can completely understand why people live there. It's beautiful, calm, and there are some gorgeous homes. When I introduced myself on my first day in the language school, mentioning also that I was staying in Wannsee, the always over-the-top susbtitute we had that day (named Lubo) had one comment, a very dramatic, "Oh, how luxurious!"

And so, here's Wannsee from the Potsdam side:

Looked like a beautiful day to begin with.

Then a storm happened to appear.

Looking to the left, it looked like it had been storming for hours, dark clouds and all. To the right, just looked like another day with a beautiful blue sky and some clouds. In all of Germany (and probably the world outside of the SW desert of the US), it's amazing to see how fast the weather can change, and completely change.

See? Blue skies.

The cream-colored house (er, mansion) there on the right, with all the sail boats in the water in front of it, is the American Academy of Berlin. The house I lived in was down the street from it, so one night in June I walked over (after registering, because every good society event needs registration for when they distribute their guest list the night of an event) to see an event.

It was a lecture on why the American political system really can't seem to do the best that it can, and how that's affected elections, daily life, and how it will affect the upcoming presidential election. Basically, because we have a two-party system, leadership is more or less going to continue to go back and forth between the two parties, meaning often legislation will go back and forth, meaning no one gets anything done. Furthermore, when we're in a situation like we are not (Democrat for a president, Republican with a majority in Congress) it makes it even harder to get things done.

While I found the topic very interesting, the better part was that we could talk (in English!) about something I knew, and cared about. It's much easier to be interested in a conversation if you have background and understanding of the topic before the conversation starts. Also, lots of jokes about society that I understood!

Also, the American Academy has a very nice view of the water, as you can see. The reception after the lecture was pretty nice. Sunset and drinks and food all go well together.

More weather-related dichotomy.

Didn't do anything to this picture, it came out of my camera that way. I'm amazed at how green it is here, and bright green. I can only imagine if the sun had been shining how much brighter it would have been.

And the harbor. On the other side of the lake you can see the beach (Standbad Wannsee). I never made it there. Once we tried to go to the beach, but then it started pouring (and I mean pouring) so everyone left. By the time we actually got to the beach, it was warm and hot again, but then we realized we'd have to pay to go in, and why pay when it's probably about to storm again?

Living near water was the complete opposite of my experience thus far in life, and I'm happy to report that I liked it a lot. From just seeing it mostly every day to running around it in the mornings and evenings, there was something different about the environment. Happy I could have lived there, instead of a random apartment building in the city.

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