Some say April is the cruellest month. They’re wrong; it’s actually February. Aside from the fact I always forget it’s two to three days shorter than every other month and thus my rent/essays are due sooner than I realised, it comes with the added bonus of Valentine’s Day (for a chronically single woman all the PDA is just mockery) and all in all feels like a poxy waste of time between winter ending and spring beginning. Luckily for me, Berlin seems to have completely forgotten there are four seasons. Apparently this is the warmest winter in a long time, and the two weeks in January of -12 and inches of snow seem like a distant memory. Now there’s beautiful blue skies and Saturday morning strolls along the canal to occupy the time, which of course, for a serial procrastinator, means I’ve constantly got an excuse to be doing something other than the four essays I have due in March.
After surviving what feels like the longest semester in the world, I’m in need of a holiday. Unfortunately- due to lack of funds and the fact no one is really clamouring to hire a British girl who speaks appalling German- I’m stuck in Berlin for two and a half months until the next term begins. Of course, complaining about being ‘stuck’ in one of the coolest cities in the world is incredibly self-indulgent. It could be worse. I could be stuck in Sheffield. But watching most of my friends journeying off around Europe or flying home for a few weeks has led me into a pretty melancholy existence. Last week all I managed to achieve was going to cinema on my own three nights in a row and eat a lot of cheesecake in an attempt to console myself. It sort of worked.
I took myself to Berlin’s Tierpark on one sunny (albeit chilly) Monday afternoon. It’s part of the Berlin zoo network, for which I have an annual pass because I really like going to the zoo. It’s my literal happy place. I can spend hours wandering around, and although Berlin’s Hauptzoo isn’t much to marvel at, Tierpark is a glorious place based in the outskirts of the city centre. The sprawling grounds encapsulate several beautiful stately homes, woodland, and my favourite thing of all- a walk-through lemur exhibit home to two very friendly lemurs. For a capital city Berlin isn’t exactly short on green spaces, but Tierpark is definitely one of my favourites.
On the subject of Berlin institutions, it’s been impossible to miss the 63rd Berlinale Film Festival which took place at the beginning of February. This is understandably a big deal in Berlin which sees Hollywood A-Listers and movie business insiders from across the globe descend on the city for two frantic weeks. I myself spent six days trying to secure tickets for various films, and in the end managed to see five films, though I decided against any celeb spotting due to my intense dislike for crowds. I got to see some really great films that I probably would have never heard of without Berlinale, and visit some absolutely stunning venues which were transformed into cinemas for the fortnight.
There’s little else noteworthy to mention about this month. Once again I am overwhelmed by the prospect of essay deadlines, a bit weepy over the prospect of my friends who are leaving Berlin at the end of March, and beginning to worry about how on earth I’ll find a flat in Leeds for next year willing to allow pets. On the plus side, I finally got to try the much-hyped Cronut, so it’s not all bad. In fact, the Cronut is a huge plus.