As I write this, my last week is already over! I am sad to leave Berlin; it is a wonderful city, and you all should visit it sometime! I also am sad to leave all my Buka friends. We will meet each other again, in March, June, and July. Plus I will have two of my closest friends semi-nearby. I am sure I will be taking an excursion or two to Bremen and Bremerhaven.
Our Monday began with another press-related trip, this time to the “Zweites Deutsche Fernsehen,” basically the number two TV station in Germany. We got a studio tour and got to ask many questions of Frank Buchwald, one of the station’s correspondents. I also was able to find out more about the channel’s “Heute Show,” which is kind of like our Daily Show with John Stewart. I asked our seminar organizer, Friedrich, about the Heute Show, and he said it is political cabaret. I told him we had a similar show in the USA, and that some of us get our news from our show. Friedrich seemed a bit concerned about that, but the Germans really like their newspapers and taking a more active political role in their society. Plus, the Heute Show is only on Friday nights; who would wait that long and stay in on Fridays to get their news fix anyway? We followed the TV studio with a visit to a ceramics studio. One of last year’s Bukas is still completing her project there, and we were able to see her work.
Tuesday we went to Potsdam, which is just southwest of Berlin. I had never been to Potsdam before, and our trip included important highlights like Schloss Cecilienhof, the location of the Potsdam Conference during summer 1945. We saw the rooms were the Cold War more or less started, and learned that Truman was at Cecilienhof when he had to decide to drop the atomic bombs on Japan. I found it fitting that, in the past few months, I have visited Los Alamos—where the bombs were researched and constructed—and now Potsdam—where the decision was made to drop the bombs. We then had an AMAZING lunch at a beer garden nearby. Unfortunately all of the beer and food turned us all into disinterested zombies for our next visit at Schloss Sanssouci. Sanssouci means “without doubt” in English. The gardens at this Baroque palace were delightful.
|Emmeline and Lizzie at the Schloss|
|Garden view of Sans Souci, one of the main Prussian palaces found throughout eastern Germany.|
|Yes, this is Friedrich the Great's grave, and yes, it is covered in potatoes. Good ol' Friedrich is credited with introducing potatoes to the Prussians. And, yes, he is buried next to his dogs (not pictured), following his last wishes.|
|Asian gazebo at San Souci|
|Over-orientalized "Asian" person playing some sort of chordophone.|
On Wednesday we visited an organization which represents German industrial interests. Most of the presentation dealt with German-Chinese and German-Russian business ties. After a long lunch break (during which I took a long nap to try to get rid of an illness I have had the past week or so), we met to discuss the highs and lows of the seminar. Afterward we had our last dinner with the Buka fellows, as well as some alumni and hosts in Berlin. The restaurant was very nice, and I met an alumnus of the Buka program who is also a musicologist! Only four musicologists have been awarded Buka fellowships, and now I have met the other three! I am the first woman musicologist to receive the fellowship!
Thursday was an intense politics day. We visited the German Bundestag, the legislative parliament. In 2006 I visited the Reichstag building, which has a beautiful dome on top of it that welcomes visitors. This time around, we Bukas had meetings with representatives of Germany’s five main political parties, and we got to attend part of a plenary legislative session. At said session, we were only allowed to sit and breathe. Everything else was forbidden! At the end of the day, I decided that I wouldn’t mind being a politician in Germany. It seems like the German government generally gets things done, much in contrast with the US Congress. After our visit, everyone went their separate ways.
|View inside the Bundestag meeting hall.|
|Me at the Bundestag. No one could give me a definitive answer as to when the building began to have an EU flag on it...|
I, on the other hand, had to prepare for an even greater adventure!