"Now in Portland, Soon in Berlin" - Introducing myself, and anticipating my journey to Berlin.
Good evening! Or, good afternoon, good morning, or goodnight, depending on where you are. Unlike many of you, I'm currently lounging my days away (read: frantically tidying up my affairs and temping in my dad’s office) in the Pacific Time Zone, still in my beloved home of Portland, Oregon. Although I leave for Berlin in only six days, the reality of a move that will span a continent an the Atlantic ocean, as evidenced by my meager packing efforts: my soon-to-be-checked bag currently contains a bottle of conditioner, two skirts, and a calendar of historic Portland photographs.
But before we get too far into my musings regarding Germany and my upcoming journey, I suppose it is a good idea to actually introduce myself and explain why I’m here. My name is Hannah, and I am a sophomore Gallatin student by way of the Tisch acting program. I’m a life-long Oregonian, an avid knitter, a Germanophile, a Star Trek fan, a feminist, and a big happy geek. I enjoy long walks on the beach, fine wines, and discussions regarding social and political histories of former Eastern Bloc nations.
My concentration has gone through a variety of permutations before now, and it will likely continue to change, but its tentative title is “Performance, Gender, and Germany: A Sociological Perspective” (those are, of course, my four favorite areas of academia). In my freshman year of high school, I began learning German, and thus began my life as a huge nerd regarding anything to do with German language or culture. And, to be honest, this nerdery is part of what compelled me to go to Gallatin and stay at NYU. See, when I realized that the acting program was most definitely not for me, I constantly fretted over whether or not I had made a mistake by coming to NYU. But the academic freedom of Gallatin (I was an IB student in high school, which encourage a great deal of independent research, even though the program was very structured) combined with NYU’s rich study abroad opportunities were exactly what I wanted in a university program I have gotten extremely close to going to Germany two times in my past, but the ease of studying abroad at NYU will finally make this goal of mine a reality.
The German language is one of my great loves, and the recent history of Germany itself fascinates me. The German people are living their history right now; the consequences of reunification and the Second World War are still being revealed and acted upon. “Ossis” and “Wessis” (Easterners and Westerners) often remain divided. Although reforms have taken place, old laws still make it difficult for the country’s largely Turkish working-class immigrant population to obtain and retain citizenship. Germany is in an extremely unique situation, and Berlin itself is a fantastic place to study and experience this situation. It’s where the East meets the West, where traditional “old world” conceptions of Europe smash up against the harsh realities of the past seventy years. I couldn’t be more excited.
I hope to have many adventures throughout Germany and central/eastern European countries to reflect upon (I have already informed my bank that I will be traveling through Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Bosnia and Herzegovina), but for now all I can do is anticipate. And, of course, finish packing. Ich kann es fast nicht glauben, dass ich bald nach Berlin fliegen werde!
The above photo of me was taken far too long ago by my mother in Eugene, OR. I went to middle and high school there while I lived with my mother. More recent, exciting, and Berlin-filled photos are to come.