I've been home from my semester in Berlin for a little over a month now, and I must say I miss having a croissant with meat and cheese for breakfast every day. Before I slowly sink back into my every day routine as a bored American, here is a list of my top 10 lessons I learned while I was abroad.
1. Guided tours aren't lame
This is not very a wanderlustee thing to admit, but I will choose the €20 guided tour over aimless trekking any day. I absolutely adore learning all there is to know when I visit a new place, and who better to teach me than Morgan Freeman reading a script for a double decker bus company?
2. Foreign boys are weird
Unfortunately, not everything plays out like the Olsen twins' Passport to Paris.
3. There is nothing like European streetstyle
These people do not give a damn. Berlin is particularly 90s grungey, but each city has a style so unapologetically unique to themselves. Getting on the U-Bahn every morning was like scrolling through Tumblr in real life.
4. Open container laws are a bummer
What do you mean I have to finish my beer before we leave?
5. Going back to school after experiencing so much can feel trivial, and thats OK
I have to admit that coming back to Kentucky for sorority recruitment felt almost comical after my summer abroad. The world was so big just two months ago, and while I feel a little contained now, I have grown so much from my experience and it is apparent to everyone back home. It's nearly impossible to return from a trip abroad without feeling wildly experienced and mature. As Mark Twain once said, "Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.”
6. Gelato > ice cream
It was not uncommon for me to both start and end my day with a scoop of strawberry wonderfulness.
7. American pizza > any other kind of pizza
I so despearately want to be that effortlessly chic traveler possessing the most seasoned of palates, but I'm just not there yet. Sorry, Italy. Nobody treats me better than Papa John.
8. Ice is not to be taken for granted
I could only drink so many flat Coca Cola Light's before I just had to pack my bags and head back to the good ole U.S. of Air Conditioning.
9. Talking louder won't dismantle the language barrier
An embarrassing lesson that we all need reminding of sometimes. Stop yelling at me, bitte.
10. Being scared is fun
I could never have foreseen that I would one day be capable of navigating the public transit system of a country whose language I don't speak, but here I am! With no cell phone and no idea of where I was more than half of the time, I made it work. I was late more often than I wasn't, but I left my program feeling proud of my accomplishments, both as a student as a human being. I faced a number of nerve-wracking experiences during this trip with a confidence that, a year ago, I lacked entirely. There is something very humbling about being seen as a "foreigner." Adapting to someone else's land is terrifying and beautiful and difficult and simplistic all at once. Remember to scare yourself every once in a while.