Well it has been one hell of a day! Woke up at 9:30 East Coast, traveled and flew many hours and arrived in Berlin safely without a hitch! Aside from jet lag, it's been a pretty awesome yet chill day. Although, I've been stuck between German and English all day, unable to decide which language I wanted to communicate in, which was probably the most frustrating part of the day. But from here on out, the plan is mostly German, with English for critically important things.
Later we had some wonderful food and then I took a well deserved 6 hour nap before going out to dinner with the group and then seeing the Brandenburg Tor. Wow. Seeing that took my breath away. Knowing that was an area where the Wall was and it being an iconic German construction, it was so cool. And of course seeing it in the evening when it's all lit up really made it even better. Then the Reichstag was visible from the Brandenburg Tor, and that was even cooler! But the most breath taking moment was certainly seeing das Denkmal für die Ermodeten Juden Europas (memorial for the murdered Jews of Europe). See, I had to do a report on this monument last semester in my German Readings class. Because I had to research it I had a bit of an understanding of it and knew that these sarcophagus-like stones were large. But seeing them in person, standing right beside these monuments that are twice my height was just shocking. And being there really got me thinking even more in depth in regards to the inspiration and its symbolic meanings and such. All in all, a great first day and I cannot wait to get to see Berlin tomorrow! (Hopefully pictures to come!)