The search for the next class of Robert Bosch Foundation Fellowship Program Fellows is underway. The road shows will begin soon, with receptions scheduled around the country that will bring together high-potential young professionals who are curious about the cultural exchange and professional development that the Fellowship can provide. The application process is arduous, and the evaluation and placement processes for successful applicants is even more difficult, but the hard work pays off immediately and in perpetuity. Now in my second year as co-president of the Robert Bosch Fellowship Alumni Association, I get the chance to reflect almost every day on the value the Bosch Fellowship has added to my life, giving me German fluency, lifelong friendships, and a paid year outside of normal life – and my comfort zone – to focus on writing….
black chick in foreign land
30 Aug 2001
inspired by the fabulous Candice and her splendiferous travelogues, i impart to you my collected experiences of the last month – if you dont care please delete now…
First off – i like Germany and i love Berlin – there is so much to do here and not once have i been forced to eat native German Speise (that’s food) – i have had no trouble what so ever finding a suitable mojito and cheap grocery stores are in abundance (we’re talking a bottle of wine, slab of camembert, cucumber, jar of nutella, bread, lettuce, pasta, sauce and yogurt all for about 7 bucks) -
last week was the semi-annual Long Night of the Museums – sounds ominous i know but get this – for 12 DM (6 bucks) from 6 pm last Sat night to 2 AM on Sun i had my choice of 100 museums, plus a shuttle service between them all… since i did not leave my apt until 10pm, i limited myself to the Museumsinsel (the Museum Island), which is a pice of land in the center of Berlin surrounded by the Spree (said “Shpray”) River – on the Museumsinsel stands the Berliner Dom (really old gorgeous cathedral), the Pergamon (ancient architecture – we’re talking huge chunks of Greek temples and whatnot), the Old Natíonal Gallery (first rate Caravaggio exhibit right now, as well as more ancient stuff) and the New National Gallery (well its closed for renov. right now – they use it in the meantime as a screen for openair movies) -
at midnight the Insel was packed – there were jugglers and acrobats and lovers and snack carts everywhere – there were beers and dogs, and kids and grannies….the Fernsehturm (the big strikingly ugly tv tower that dominates Berlins skyline) glowed Deutsche Telekom Pink – the Caravaggio exhibit was complemented by the string quartet that played for us while we browsed – and the Dom served up heavenly Gregorian chant from midnight to 2, after which came a short service and a free breakfast, of course….
There is no shortage of outdoor activity here – the Volksparks are many, as well as the lakes (Seen und Bäder) – most are just a short train or bike ride away – i have been running in Tiergarten (literally ‘Animal Garden’) a huge green space smack in the middle of town and bordered by most of the most recognizable landmarks – the Siegesäule (column with gold Victory on top), Brandenburger Tor (big gate with greenish Victory in chariot on top), rather scary statue of Bismarck flanked by lions and big strapping bo-hunk farmboy types… but i digress -
yeah – i have been going to class too – today was the last day (and writing you guys is my idea of celebrating) we took a 7 hour test – hmph too much like work – pretty much sucked – and earlier this week a friend and i trekked out to the Freie Universität Berlins to check out the law library – sounds too much like work you say – not so! not ten minutes into our browsing the computerized catalog we are approached by the dear Henning (some of you know the story) and off we go to lunch – one hour gone just like that – i am happy to report that one lunch, two coffee breaks and four hours later, i managed to come away with much needed info on German civil law as well as tentative plans to cook dinner for 8 this Thanksgiving….
Bad things about Berlin? the sewer stinks. so what, you say – the ‘what’ is that the stench has an annoying habit of wafting up through the grates, as well as your plumbing, when you least expect it – i am well armed with incense from the Winterfeldplatz Market….oh, and people here cannot park to SAVE THEIR LIVES – such itty bitty cars they have – the Smart car (a Mercedes, by the by)is half the size of a Civic hatchback – yet and still, the Berliners bump their way in and out of parking spaces (parallel and non) – at least twice i have seen people (one man, one woman) directing a driver into a parallel parking space – twice in 3 weeks! when is the last time you saw a MAN take orders from a WOMAN on how to get into a parallel parking space? i am so glad i left Boyfriend at home…
phone usage here is rather spendy, and the bureacracy is murderous…everyone is required to register their address with an official office – the piece of paper you get upon registration is required for seemingly everything (“oh – your passport – oh, but it doesn’t have your address – sorry, can’t give you your cell phone/library card/bank account/luggage/first born child/ etc.”)
all in all – i am taking it light here and it feels fine – i have met with my soon-to-be boss at Deutsche Bank – he is a big strapping fellow with experience in N. American banks (he knows finacial covenants – how can this go wrong?) – i start work Oct 1. – the question has already been asked – would i consider staying on after my fellowship? DUDE – i pled the fifth….
I move into my permanent apt the first week of Oct – it is a one bedroom in Schöneberg (nice area of town – like Dupont, if one gets one’s drift) with plenty room for guests – so please come see me….
my credit in this fabu internet cafe is expiring soon so i better go
Ulla – mein Deutsch wird immer besser, und Du bist immer vermisst – noch weiter, ich habe UHU für dich gekauft….
next time – politics (*groan*)
bis bald (til soon) y’all
Yolanda D. McGill, Esq.
Bosch Fellow 2001-2002