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Sunday, June 6, 2010

5th Stop - Berlin

Probably one of the foggiest drives ever from Prague to Berlin. I guess it was the barrier from bad weather to good weather because I was truly blessed when I got to Berlin. Clear blue sky and sun for my stay (the clouds you see above cleared up the next day)!

Claudia, president of JCI Berlin, whom I met in Stockholm during the European Capitals Meeting, put me in touch with one of her members, Chuy-You Phow, for a home-stay. Turns out, Chuy-You is from France! I made it to Chuy-You’s flat in the former Eastern side of Berlin and then we went out for dinner at a Thai restaurant. Chuy-You recently started a marketing business and is currently completing a degree program in sustainable development. She’s aiming to do consulting work for companies in regards to sustainability issues in the near future. After dinner, we went for a drink with Marcus. Marcus told me about a great IT-related advertising idea that his company, Godot, is working on.

The next day, we both worked in the morning, but couldn’t resist the nice weather for long. We headed over to a nearby park for a walk and lunch, bratwurst, beer and Kartoffelsalat (potato salad, one of the few things I know how to say in German!). After lunch, we walked around the park some more and soaked up some rays.

On our way back home, we took a detour and went to an old bread factory that has been transformed into studio space for artists. We ran into Sara from Italy and Javier from Colombia and chatted a while with them. Sara painted some wicked shoes, I can see them now: hot blue, orange, and yellow.

As we made our way out of the building, we were intrigued by some nice music coming from one of the studios. We hesitated for a minute in front of the door, then said to one another “If you don’t dare to do anything, you end up with nothing”, opened it and walked in. Inside, we met Pat Matshikiza from South Africa. Pat was very nice to us and told us about his work in South Africa and what he likes about working up in Berlin. I hope I get a chance to meet up with him again... maybe in Capetown in August!

Chuy-You left that night for a trip to Paris. She also left me her apartment which may come as a surprise to you... Knowing that I am a member of JCI, she had no worries and full trust in me. Apparently, I even managed to fix the leaking faucet in the kitchen sink and the washing machine. I don’t know how, but am happy to have unleashed the magic nevertheless!

Thursday night, I had the opportunity to attend a business training on how to dress for success, organized by JCI Berlin. Thanks to Claudia and all the members for welcoming me to this training. You’ve encouraged me to learn German! Good weather and good people in Berlin, I think I’ll come back one summer for a couple of months.

On Friday, I ran a one-to-one Wordfast Pro course with Christa. We had a nice time and covered a lot of ground. Best of luck to your Christa for your future translating endeavors!

Thanks to everyone for making my stay in Berlin so nice and a special thanks to Chuy-You for hosting me; I’ve bought 3 bednets in your name and you’ll help protect 3 families from malaria for the next 5 years.

Next stop: Potsdam!

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