Breaking in Berlin

By Jessica Winters

With graduation in the near future and the hope in my heart of finding a job that has something to do with the skill set I’ve been preparing for, the practical way to spend spring break would have been to stick around, work/job hunt, and maybe do a few reasonably priced things to celebrate the quarter’s end. I mean, I have future rent and other bills to consider, right? But that’s not what I did.

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What I did do was buy a round trip ticket to Berlin for a week. Probably not the most practical “get ready for the future” move, but it’s what I did, and I don’t regret it even a little bit. Once you enter the “adult-ing world,” you have to carefully schedule time off, and until you’ve paid off most of your loans, there’s a slim chance you’ll be able to afford taking a week or more off at a time. This was my last spring break ever. I had no intention of wasting it.

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My younger brother has been studying in Berlin for the past year, so part of the reason for going there was to visit him. Coincidentally, this also meant I had a free place to sleep and access to a kitchen, as well as an adventure companion with a working knowledge of the city and public transportation, and, most importantly to me, where to find* great vegan** food.

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Now when you think about it, a week really isn’t that much time to get to know a place, so, I definitely had to do some prioritizing when it came to major sites I just HAD to see. But I figure anything I missed will go onto my list of things to do when I visit again one day. The sites I did manage to squeeze in were absolutely incredible. A few of my favorites included The Jewish Memorial, The Brandenburg Gate, and (of course) The Berlin Wall/East Side Gallery.

Berlin 5

When it comes right down to it though, my favorite moments spent in Berlin can be summed up thusly: 1) Quality sibling time and 2) Amazing food.

And I’m not just saying that to win*** “big sister brownie points.” I will never forget roaming the streets of Berlin with my brother, devouring**** massive amounts of delicious things, all while taking in the signs of time that still mark the city’s face and the open-hearted vibe it gives off despite all the hardships it has endured.

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Even more than that, I will never, ever regret doing something so big for my final spring break. We learn so many valuable things in our classes, but if you don’t (at least once) strike out and experience places and people far different than those you’re used to, you are shortchanging yourself on one of the most valuable opportunities college affords you.

*Berlin is super vegan friendly!
**Yes, I’m one of those dastardly defiers of dairy.
***A valuable commodity worth hoarding, I assure you.
****Seriously. We ate soooo much! For more on that, check out my Instagram account, Jwin89.

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