Die Besucherin is a great example of how you can modify prefixes and suffixes in German words to create nouns or verbs. With the stem of Besuch, which means simply “visit,” you can create the verb by adding an -en at the end of the stem or -er at the end to describe a person, so Besucher means “visitor.” However, German makes you reference the gender of the person most of the time when you talk about him or her and, in this case, adding -in to the end of the word. Besucher specifies that the person who visited me was female.

My friend since 10th grade, Carmen, decided to  take some time off of school and travel this semester, which included the mandatory Eurotrip. What better starting point than at my place in Berlin?

So, after not seeing each other for more than six months, I got several calls from pay phones on my cell phone after work on Monday. Mind you, Carmen had to rebook her flight because of visa complications, so she wasn’t really sure when she was going to get into Berlin and she didn’t have a stable Internet connection. I ran to the Hauptbahnhof, the main train station  (and, by “ran,” I mean I got into a train and impatiently pushed the green button to open the door when we arrived at my station), which is four stories of trains. Carmen had told me to meet her at the Dunkin’ Donuts she was at, not realizing that there are, like, six of them in the station.

After working up a nice sweat in my business clothes, I finally found her at the Dunkin’ Donuts. Being the awesome person she is, she presented me with a rose her boyfriend had bought from a bum that weekend and a bottle of Kahlua she found at Duty-Free (it was Valentine’s Day when I picked her up). We trudged to my apartment and she unloaded her stuff before we met with some other female interns for delicious drinks made with Polish vodka. Needless to say, we were tired and went to bed relatively early on Monday. Unfortunately, I still had to work every morning, so Carmen was forced to entertain herself during the day. I think she Skyped and slept a lot, and on Wednesday I invited some interns over to  eat chicken cacciatore for dinner, which Carmen had spent all day cooking.

We had a slow week at work though, so I took Thursday off to show her around the city. We walked from my apartment all the way to Charlottenburg, the expensive Southern district of Berlin. It’s always interesting to walk around Berlin with non-Germans, because I’ve stopped noticing the weird little habits German have that I picked up. For instance, drinking in public is legal, and many people will walk around the train stations with an open beer in their hand. So I thought nothing about cracking open a beer after we went grocery shopping and drinking it on the train with Carmen, who may have been a little shocked. I also put my empty beer bottle down on the sidewalk after I finished drinking it, which kind of weirded her out. In Germany, you get money back when you return bottles. Beer bottles will get you eight cents and so it’s not uncommon to see people digging through public trash cans for the bottles to bring back for money and it makes setting beer bottles down in public acceptable.

Carmen was also introduced to the junk food of Germany, which is the Turkish Doener. I realize I write about that a lot, but I absolutely love Turkish food here. Moving on, we decided to check out my district and walk around for her last night before we went back to my place and fell asleep. Sadly, Carmen was going to Switzerland over the weekend, so she left me early on Friday morning. We parted at the train station on my way to work and she somehow made it to the main train station in fifteen minutes, which is quite a feat. Luckily she’ll be coming again in March and so until then I have to say “Bis bald!”

-Miranda Murray

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