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on the Bard College Berlin Student Blog

“The Wait” is a short fiction piece by guest contributor Elena Gagovska, a BA2 student in the HAST program at BCB

Christina felt bored waiting in line at the insurance office and tapped her little finger against her chin obsessively. She was there to renew the health insurance for her  two-year-old. It wasn’t a complicated procedure, really, but, just as I would be, Christina was scandalized at the fact that she had to physically go to a place to get something that she thought could easily be computerized. Actually, Christina had a lot of thoughts about a lot of things. But she just worked as tech support for a small law firm and lacked a column or blog-type platform  on which to express and publish her thoughts. When the urge to tell the world how she perceived it started overwhelming her a few years ago, Christina opened a Twitter account under the alias “ITBoredom”. It was more of a way to express her dissatisfaction with her job and current affairs than an intellectual megaphone.

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As I am sure you know, or have experienced, people like to do things. They like to go places and do things, sometimes these things are particular to the place— sometimes they are not. Usually the hardest step in this is getting to the place they want to go. In this I have found Berlin’s public transportation to be a boon. The question “can we get there?” has been replaced by “how will we get there?”

From my home in Pankow, virtually all of Berlin is accessible. Just a hop on the M1 tram, and any place I’ve wanted to go is no more than two transfers away. It has enabled me to visit many new places and diversify my activities with friends; more variety in restaurants, bars, clubs, parks, and museums (I highly suggest The Egyptian Museum of Berlin on Museum Island). Never have I felt like I needed to revisit the same place out of convenience instead of want. Back in my home of Los Angeles, the lack of public transportation defines your world. The places you go for a night out with friends are inherently limited by the fact that you have to drive everywhere, and places outside of a certain radius might as well be in another country. This can cause two people living in LA to have completely different personal landmarks, like they are living in two totally different cities. But in Berlin I can strike up a conversation with a peer and talk about our experiences at Cafe Cinema or what our favorite exhibit was at the German Historical Museum without ever having gone there with them.

This sense of community and connectivity would not be possible without the amazing infrastructure of trams, buses, and subways that make up the Berlin public transportation system. But the system is not without its problems.

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