Wanderlust #20: The Berlin State of Mind

Image may contain: 1 person, cloud, sky, bicycle and outdoorPeople are on bicycles everywhere. No, literally, everywhere.

There is something about Berlin that has my heart and if I could spend my life living there for a couple of years, it would be a dream. Although there are tourists, it isn’t like London where you are in a congested world of tourists. Berlin just has a vibe that is hipster and chill. I found that I just fell in love with waking up and being in a city that wasn’t like anything else that I had ever been in before. The fact that people were on bicycles everywhere made me wish that I could ride a bicycle. The people were all very kind there and it was only sketchy at night in certain areas. Since I was filming a short film there were a lot of people.

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A museum near Alexanderplatz.

I think that the beauty of Berlin is that there is so much to do and yet there can just be space. I should elaborate. When I walked to a destination I would just wander in the direction back to the hostel but not really worry about getting back by a certain time. I passed by homes, grocery stores, cafes, parks, etc. I had this sense of fear and freedom. I think that the biggest fear was being unable to communicate with people and with little to no cell service. I didn’t travel as far as I probably would have if I had a working cell service.

Image may contain: people sitting and outdoorMe taking the morning sitting outside the hostel to just enjoy Berlin and be grateful for what I have.

In Berlin, my worries were less about school and what I am doing with my life. My worries consisted of where I am going in life. Where do I see myself? I had a lot of freedom to really think about what my life is like right now and where it could go. I watched people in Berlin walk the streets and drive-by, living their life. Berlin is a place for exploring, adventure, self-exploration, and perspective.

Would you all be interested in an Italy and London version of state-of-mind?

-Tiffany

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Wanderlust #19: Berlin Hostel | The Circus Hostel

Image may contain: 1 person, smilingThis is me in the hostel bathroom downstairs. I know, cheesy, but the U-bahn map is so freaking cool!

To be honest, this was a wonderful hostel but it definitely had some pros and cons, more pros though. Upon arrival it is very open, there is a cafe to your left and a seating area on your right. The receptionist desk is a little farther in and they speak English which is nice. I had just had just had an awkward half-English conversation with the taxi cab driver, a super nice man. The whole place is very clean and has a calm and cool vibe. Now, time to break it down…

Price
I believe that it was about $27.00 per night in a larger room and a smaller room was about $36.00 a night. Of course, prices may have changed since I was there in May 2017.

Reception
Super helpful! I enjoyed talking to them when I needed help because I knew that whatever issues I had, they would happily help solve it.

Rooms
So, I ended up staying in two rooms, a 10-person room, and 2-person room. It was how it worked out with my flight schedule since my friend was booking it for me. The 10-person room was co-ed and it was okay to stay in. It was a little awkward because there was absolutely no privacy. Unlike Palmer’s Swiss Cottage in London, where curtains gave privacy, this was wide open. I also wasn’t used to sleeping in a room with men I didn’t know. The first night was mainly women with one male and the second night was a bunch of males and only me. It was fine though. I moved to the 2-person room where I stayed with one of the actresses on the short film I was working on in Berlin. She was awesome. The private room was also just perfect for privacy. There was a table and chairs and two chairs, a lockbox and dresser. My only issue with the hostel’s rooms is that there is no air conditioning, at least, not set on a cooler function. I was getting hot most nights which made it uncomfortable to sleep. So, to solve that, I left the window open. The windows are huge and let a lot of light in but the sounds of the ambulances is insane because they are louder than American ones. The noise from partiers is also a little obnoxious but that happened mainly on one night.

Bathrooms
The bathrooms are separated by male and female bathrooms, the showers are separated. The bathrooms are small but they have enough room so that you can change in the stall while the showers are a little roomier but they don’t have shelves. It was kind of frustrating to have to keep opening the door to grab what I needed, getting water everywhere.

Location
A great location if you don’t want to be around the center of the city. The great thing about this hostel is that it is on the corner of the intersection and there are so many cute shops and restaurants that make living at the hostel so easy. There is a flea market called the Flohmarkt am Mauerpark which is a definite must if you are in that area, it is about a twenty-minute walk. There is a park that is about five minutes or less from the hostel as well that is super cute. The U-bahn (subway) is right outside the hostel which is so nice and easy to get to other locations.

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Food
This is a selection of the breakfast that you can get at the hotel using a voucher or paying about 5-10 euros (I think). My absolute favorite thing to get was the yogurt with the chocolate and granola mix. It was so good and refreshing in the morning. There weren’t any warm foods, a lot of cold cuts and fruit. You could toast the bread but that was the only “warm” food. Orange juice and coffee are non-refillable so you would need to pay for another glass. Water is free. You can get other sandwiches and goods which are made fresh every day from their display.

Let me know if you have questions!

-Tiffany

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Wanderlust #18: Language Barrier


Photo was taken at the Flohmarkt in Mauerpark in Berlin!

The language barrier in Berlin is not as drastic as some might think. Sure, there are plenty of people who don’t speak English but they do try to help in the best way that they can. I love that the people were kind enough to be patient with me or take my pointing at things on the menu as a sign not to judge me too harshly. I think that because I stayed at a hostel that shop owners in the surrounding area spoke more English.

For example, the people at the falafel shop right downstairs, across the street, spoke a little English and were friendly. The woman at the sushi spot around the corner spoke no English, she actually spoke Vietnamese and then German to me, but I couldn’t speak either German or Vietnamese. I may not understand German but I was always, always, thankful and made sure to tell people “Danke” (“Thank you”) every time I got food or went shopping. I feel that it is our number one priority (aside from being safe) as outsiders in a new place to be thankful for the people who help make our situation a little easier.

This was short and sweet but I think that it definitely had to be said. I hope that more people will take the moment to just appreciate and remember all the people who helped you when you were lost or couldn’t understand a different language.

Lots of love.

Wanderlust #17: How I Got to Travel to Berlin

This is way overdue when it comes to updating everyone but I am so excited to share my Berlin adventures. I had a summer of fun and hard work and I am just getting around to talking about Berlin. Boy, do I have a lot to talk about! There is a whole series of Berlin blog posts I have cooking in my head so that I can share them with you. Now, how did I get to go to Berlin? I actually didn’t think that I would have the chance to travel internationally because my plan for the summer involved a summer job and summer school.  Thankfully, an opportunity came my way that I hadn’t expected. I was working on a short film project one weekend and talking to my friend, a wig and makeup artist, and she mentioned how she was going to Berlin for a short film with a group of people from the school.

I asked her if they had someone who was going to do wardrobe and she told me that they hadn’t thought of using someone. I texted the co-producer, someone I had worked with before, and he told me the basics. I told him that I was in almost instantly. Logistically, I knew how to get somewhere on my own and it didn’t worry me since I traveled to Italy and London last year, solo for a month and a half. I asked my wig and makeup friend where she bought her ticket. I used WOW Air which saves you a ton of money. My flight to was about $320-330 and my flight back was about the same amount. In total, I spent around $750 which was a huge steal. I can give you all specific amounts if you really want it. I also purchased my hostel stay which was about $500 for two weeks. Miscellaneous costs were food, transit, and personal gifts.

How did I pay for it though? Well, I will be absolutely honest, I used my student loan money that I had from my refund check. I find that it is absolutely justifiable in this way because I am using it as a school expense. I went to the bank to get euros ahead of time so that I wouldn’t have to struggle to try to get money later upon arrival.

I hope that this gives you all some insight and I will be talking about WOW Air because it is important to really be able to save money and I think that they are worth it! (not sponsored) So, let me know where your favorite place to travel has been, domestic or international!

Let me know where your favorite place to travel has been, domestic or international!

-Tiffany

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Snow For Days…

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Surprise! You get a life post. I will probably do these along with my usual Saturday post. Enjoy.

Too bad the snow is causing me to go in this weekend to work on production needs. Sadly, this means that I will miss a Pokemon Go community event and a friend’s birthday dinner but that’s life. It was fun while it lasted, you know? We ended up getting a total of 6 inches after it had fully stopped snowing. Living in North Carolina and getting this much snow means that the whole state just doesn’t know what to do with itself.

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The snow was really fluffy this go-around. Yesterday, I hardly did homework but I did a little bit thinking I was going in today. Thankfully, the school has continued to stay closed and I have been working a little to catch up. My sister and I have been snowed in and enjoying our days at home. Tomorrow, school is canceled until 10 a.m. but that doesn’t mean I am off the hook. I am taking a guest artist we have had to the airport since my professor has a class to teach. You would think that it is odd but it really isn’t. My school is different in the ways that professors and students interact and we are more integrated to treating each other as equals which are not always the case.

Snow days in NC = CLOSED. I am sure it is hilarious to Northerners who think this is nothing.

How has your day been?

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Dependency, Being Hurt, and Not Eating

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Honesty is the best policy and I want to make sure that I don’t hold things in. You know? But, 2018 has just started and I am already feeling a whirlwind of emotions.

I am just overcome with this weird feeling that I can’t seem to shake and I am sure that I am not alone when it comes to feeling this way. Being dependent on people. I am very much an independent person when it comes to loving being alone, driving instead of being a passenger, and being productive by myself. Maybe being dependent isn’t a bad thing but it is when I can’t seem to eat without having company. I think that it is nice, don’t get me wrong. But, when I forgot my lunch on Thursday, I was about to skip my lunch meal because I didn’t want to eat by myself.

I overcame it by sending my sister texts to “just do it” and went to Zaxby’s and picked up some food. It wasn’t so bad once I sat in my studio and just started to eat and watch an episode of Gossip Girl. However, I do not want to be trapped in the quicksand that is being dependent and forgetting to be independent and enjoying that freedom. As many of you know, I love to travel alone and really take in the environment and world. Maybe it is because I am in school right now and with so many people around I feel alone. An odd feeling but I thought that this would be good to just let out and express.

Now, I have this one friend who is in another state on an internship, an amazing one that sounds awesome. She is having fun and we have been talking on Snapchat since the beginning of the year consistently. I was in the studio on Tuesday and my other friend got a call from the one on an internship and I felt hurt. I am not really a person who likes to talk on the phone but I feel that phone conversations really elevate a relationship when there is distance physically or time. I was doing work and pretending not to know that she was on the phone but when my friend told the other that I was in the room, I said, “hello.” I probably should have just said that it hurt my feelings a little but we never took initiative in that way. However, I saw her Snapchat the following evening and she definitely wanted to call me. I think that she may have sensed that I was hurt and I think that we are close enough friends for her to know what emotional state I am in or how much I overthink.

Right now, I am typing this last section and also not eating dinner. Why? Well, it is because I am going through a bit of anxiety because a group of friends is over and there are too many people. By too many people there are 7 people right now. We moved to a smaller house almost one year ago and space, to me, is smaller but enough for me, my sister, and our roommate. I know that it probably does sound odd that I am hiding in my room and avoiding friends but I just don’t feel up to seeing people. Is that odd? No. But avoiding people and not eating to avoid them is.

Anyway, the first week of classes is done and that was the last time I will have the first week of classes at my college!

How has everyone’s week been? I want to hear it! Also, my Berlin posts are happening now so expect them starting next week!

Side note: I did end up eating around 10pm after everyone left.

-Tiffany

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Concert Experience: John Mayer

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20904319_10210196617537210_2069248051_oYou will have to excuse the blurriness of these images since my sister and I were in the far back on the lawn. Free concert though, am I right? My sister messaged me while she was at work and asked me if I wanted to go to a free concert. I asked her for all the details and she won a raffle from a radio station. She told me that it was in our hometown and it was going to be the following day. A free John Mayer concert is something hard to turn down. I do like his music but had no idea that he was on tour. I listened to his music that Monday and then on Tuesday for a little bit. We headed down, me eating Chipotle (what’s new?) and her eating Jimmy John’s. Traffic was okay for the most part but the traffic in the vicinity was atrocious.

20906993_10210196618097224_1405376236_o (1)Finally, at the outside concert venue, we realized that the tickets we won were on the lawn. Thankfully, lawn chairs were for rental and I spent $10 to rent them. We parked our butts on the lawn where there was some space.  The crowd grew and I ended up getting Dippin’ Dots while we were waiting. I got as comfortable as possible in my lawn chair and sat throughout most of the concert. Why did I sit throughout most of the concert?

20930231_10210196618057223_1994686340_oTo be honest, I couldn’t see him, he was an ant. I didn’t feel that there was a need to stand when you couldn’t even see John Mayer. The screens up near the stage were still hard to see. The one time I did get up is when my sister practically pulled me up and I was in absolute awe of the sea of lights in the crowd. John Mayer sang beautifully and thanked everyone for the amazing work that he has had the chance to play for the past 10+ years. He knows that this recent album isn’t skyrocketing but it isn’t about that kind of recognition, it is the fans’ support that keeps him moving. Over 1000 of us were there that night and I won’t forget that.

On the minus, we were stuck in traffic to get out of the venue and then got stuck in road construction, making our one hour trip into two hours. We didn’t get home until 2 am but it was definitely a night to remember.

-Tiffany

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Wanderlust #21: Misconceptions of New York

IMG_2835New York has always been a place that I wanted to go to and when I was around the age of 11 or 12, my whole family went for a wedding. I have never been more afraid in my life. My parents, like many others, are super overprotective and very cautious. It frustrates me to this day that they impose their fears onto me because I don’t want that negativity in my life. I don’t want my experiences to be soiled by their fears. Thankfully, my idea of New York changed when my friend let me stay at her place. If you have seen my recent posts, I talk about my experiences in New York and I cannot wait to go back. Now, before I get into all of this, I will say that there are always truths in each misconception but it is not the full truth. My parents made it seem like New York was full of hooligans and murderers only.

IMG_1097Misconception #1: You will get hurt in New York if you head out at night. I was actually nervous when my friend sent an Uber for me around 10:00 pm because I am not someone who goes out at night at all. I got in and went to her restaurant to find that the people in the restaurant and the people around were really nice. The atmosphere was so different than what I was used to. New Yorkers just don’t care that you are walking around. I was in the Lower East Side which made the experience so much more authentic because it wasn’t full of tourists. I remember going through the city in the wee hours and not feeling weighed down.

Misconception #2: New York is dirty. To a certain extent, yes. I will say that I was nervous because I would see trash bags on the sidewalk and be worried about all the rats. I actually only saw one rat. I found out that the main reason that trash bags are on the street is that there are no trash containers for the trash trucks to grab. The subways are not the cleanest and it does smell but it isn’t the worst thing. I saw so many interesting people on the subway and it really gives you another perspective to the New York experience if you want a well-rounded one.

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Misconception #3: Don’t trust anyone. I can understand this if you are in a heavy tourist area because when I did go to Times Square or Staten Island, so many people kept asking us to buy tickets to this and that. However, if you are not in the main area of New York where there are so many people bombarding you with tickets and things, you can find the gems that are decent people. My friend had to go to work and because I wasn’t going to get to her apartment in time, she left her keys next door at a restaurant with a worker. Another day she left her keys at a deli with the owner for a guest. It blows my mind because I feel like if you did it in other cities that people would give you a funny look. Maybe I am wrong, but it just changed my perception of the people there.

IMG_2819Misconceptions #4: Cabs will steal from you. I am sure that it does happen but each cabbie I was a customer of was either quiet or very nice. I love that the cabs in New York have a credit card machine so you don’t have to have cash on you at all times. I also think that the media portrays some cab drivers as people who will drive away with your luggage or that people will throw up in those cars and the cabbies won’t clean them up.

Misconception #5: You can’t sit on the Met steps. This is going to sound silly but I swear that I read that you couldn’t sit on them because so many people kept doing it when Gossip Girl was on the air.

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Misconception #6: You won’t get anywhere if you take a car. Not true. Sure, you could probably get somewhere by walking much faster than by car. I feel that my friend and I got to the Seaglass Carousel from where she was much faster than if we had taken the subway because we didn’t have to wait for a subway car that was delayed. If you are with a cabbie or uber driver then you are fine because they know just how crazy to drive to get you to your destination.

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Misconception #7: New York is full of people who are not happy with their lives. Not true at all. There are so many people who thrive in New York, like my friend who is living in the city of her dreams. New York offers people so many cultures in one small area of the world. The people who live in New York, truly live in New York, find something about it that speaks to them or keeps them going.

Have you heard any misconceptions of New York that changed?

-Tiffany

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