Feb. 10, 2012
BERLIN, Germany - Junior All-America midfielder Mariah Nogueira of Stanford's national championship women's soccer team is spending the winter quarter in Germany. Here is her report from Europe.
Hello from Berlin! It's been a few weeks but I feel like I've been here for months! It's wonderful. Cold. But wonderful.
My past week has been pretty exciting. Sunday through Wednesday we went on our Will Trip to Istanbul, Turkey. Istanbul is chaotically beautiful. It's hilly and surrounded by water, with one side of the channel being Europe and the other Asia. You can definitely feel both influences. We toured the lit-up city by boat the first night. Monday was more academic. We heard from some Turkish professors, politicians, and students and learned more about Turkey. At night we got to sit in on a traditional Dervish religious ceremony that involved lots of singing, chanting, and praying in Turkish. That was certainly an experience.
The third day we finally got to explore the city! We went to the Golden Horn to see the Aya Sofya, Blue Mosques, and Grand Bazaar. Some people also went to a Turkish Bath, which I hear is an incredible and pretty cheap spa. The mosques were breathtakingly beautiful. The bazaar, OVERWHELMING! Hundreds of shops going in every direction with vendors standing at the entrance beckoning you to come look at their merchandise. I was called "J.Lo," "Beyonce," and "Spice Girl" in about 100 yards. Shout out to my mom for showing me great bargaining skills.
Here in Berlin this weekend there was this great event called Lange Nacht der Museen (Long Night of Museums). Over 50 museums all throughout Berlin were open from 6 p.m.-2 a.m. We bought a 10 euro ticket and got to go wherever we wanted. I saw some great art exhibits and the puppet, salt, car, and hemp museums to name a few. There was food and live music at most museums and it was snowing all night, which made for a cold but magical night. At one museum, I got this great street artist to sketch me, using my broken German and his broken English. That was pretty cool.
Other than that, being abroad has been incredible so far. I'm still in the culture shock phase where everything is new and exciting. I see something new every day and have met some really cool people. My greatest accomplishment in life is when I can get through a full interaction with someone without using English. I'm getting pretty good at ordering, shopping, and asking for directions. The problem is when I get a response. haha "Wie, Bitte" (what was that?) and "bitte langsam" (slowly please) are probably my most used phrases.
As far as soccer goes, It's not quite as intense as Lindsay's experience sounds, but everyone LOVES soccer here. There are cute little caged in small-goal fields all through the city streets. The other day on my jog I saw some high school boys playing and asked if I could join. They hesitantly let me, matching me off with the youngest, and smallest of the bunch. They were pleasantly shocked to see I actually knew how to kick a ball.
My teammates know how long-winded I can get, so I'll cut myself off here. But each day is filled with wonderful, crazy, strange, awkward moments that keep me in love with this city. Talk to you soon!