Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Exhale

My presentation is over (and the Americans tied their last match.) Finally, I can exhale!

View of Fan Fest from top of Reichstag. The stadium is not the real Olympia Stadium, but a replica built in front of the Reichstag where people can watch the game.

I’ve had a busy but very fun few days. Christina (college friend who now lives in Prague) arrived on Saturday afternoon with her boyfriend Dan to enjoy a bit of Berlin sightseeing and a lot of World Cup excitement. We watched part of the Portugal-Iran game at my place, part at a restaurant, and then headed to the “Fan Mile.” Dan didn’t believe me when I said the maximum capacity of the area is 250,000. “you must mean 25,000,” he kept telling me. I didn’t really believe 250,000 myself until we got down there. 250,000 it is! The festival area is enormous! 3 or 4 jumbotrons, food from around the world, bungee jumping, a carousel, t-shirt stands, and lots and lots of fans fill the area between the Brandenburg Gate and Siegessaule (Victory column.)

Sunday morning, Christina, Dan and I set out to see the Soviet Memorial, East Side Gallery and Reichstag building. The Reichstag is conveniently located right next to the Fan Mile, so we strolled through the crowds in the afternoon, looking for “the perfect World Cup t-shirt” and then relaxed while watching the Brazil-Australia game.

Christina and Dan at the Reichstag


I worked on my presentation throughout the weekend, so I was prepared for yesterday…the BIG event! Overall, I think the presentation was fine. I spoke for 20 minutes about how I collected my data, how I compared US and German public diplomacy in the Muslim world and made a few “where do we go from here” suggestions. Some of the comments afterwards were fascinating because I would never have come to the same conclusions from my American point of view. I said the German efforts should be more coordinated. Two people said (from a citizens’ point of view) they liked the chaotic decentralization of the German government. Hmm! Some questions I think I answered well and others not as much. I didn’t get any “super job,” “totally interesting work” comments at the end, but I was asked/told to publish a paper about my work for the Foundation, so I think that is a good sign.

Last night, I had a quite fun, quirky, Berlin evening. I met Matthias for a production of Taming of the Shrew that was being held on a barge along the Spree River. It poured rain in the hour before the play, so we found our way to a nearby bar. The bartender had such a strong accent I could barely understand him. (Matthias said it was Kölsch with a good helping of Berliner) But in the course of 20 or 30 minutes I did manage to hear him swear at President Bush, say he liked the brut force of the American police compared to German police, surmise that I was in Berlin either for the World Cup or to marry Matthias. He also made some other random comments that might have bordered on racist, but once again with such the heavy accent I found myself saying “Ich weiss nicht” and "interessant" a lot. Goodness only knows what I agreed to!

So today it is back to work… but I suspect the building will be empty by the time the Germany-Ecuador game begins at 4pm!

2 Comments:

At 8:21 AM, Anonymous The Exit said...

you did very well :)

 
At 9:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Erin --

Congratulations on doing such a great job on the presentation! I can't wait to see your research in print. I am sure you will make the Foundation very proud.

As for the World Cup . . . wow! Part of me is happy that we didn't visit Berlin during the Cup, but another part of me wishes we could experience all the excitement. Please take lots of pictures!

Take care!
Anuradha

 

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