Five Casual Conversations from Germany

During my travels, I’ve enjoyed meeting many different people with diverse viewpoints and opinions. I’ve learned a lot from casual conversations. Here are five conversations I had in Germany and my thoughts about them.

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Berlin: Tourism and the “Big” Things

There’s a lot to see and do in/around Berlin. Berlin manages to simultaneously pay homage to its edgy present and harrowing history, which made me think a lot about my role in the histories being made today. Here’s the tl;dr on my tourism and other “big” events during my six weeks in Berlin!

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Wow.

What a day. What a week. Paris, Japan, Baghdad, Beirut, Mexico. Mizzou, Yale, CMC, Howard. I’m still processing it all, and others have been a lot more eloquent on these topics than I can be, so here’s all I’m going to say:

Yes, pray. Pray for the victims, pray for the world, and pray for humanity. But don’t just pray. Reflect. Reflect on the state of the world, and reflect on your own biases. Reflect, and then act. Act against systemic oppression, and act against climate injustice. Act to make the world a better place for its victimized and marginalized members.

Educate yourself, and educate others. Take some time to engage openly and respectfully with dissenting views. Don’t just ridicule or refute, but also try to understand.

Count your blessings. Tell your loved ones that you love them.

Stay strong.

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A Stopover in Aachen

On my way from Freiburg to Berlin, I took a one-day detour to the city of Aachen. Aachen is located at the Dreiländereck (“tripoint”) between Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. It’s also home to the E.ON Energy Research Center, a public-private partnership between RWTH Aachen and one of Europe’s biggest energy companies. I went to conduct some interviews at the research center and did some tourism in the process.

It took about nine hours to get from Freiburg to Aachen by bus. Luckily, I made a friend who kept me company during the journey. Continue reading