Irony in Germany

Greetings once again from Poland!  Today’s small life lesson actually comes from Berlin.  For those that don’t know, during the Poland trip, we get a week off to travel anywhere we choose.  My friend Nate and I chose to visit Berlin during that time.  It was an amazing trip, with not enough days and hours to do everything you would want in the city.  The free tours, the museums, the historic sights, the beer, all were incredible.  However, this particular story comes from the end of the trip.

We were on our way back to the bus station, to go back to Poland, when the tram inspector came onboard.  He wanted to see everyone’s tickets, so we produced ours.  It turns out that we had been buying the wrong tickets the whole time.  We tried to explain that we didn’t realize the mistake, but he wouldn’t listen.  Instead, he fined us 40 euro and sent us on our way.

It’s worth mentioning that we had been penny pinching as much as possible during the trip.  No fancy meals, no insane souvenirs, bus instead of plane to get there, all that.  So, to cap all that off with a fine was incredibly ironic.  Not so long ago, I would have been mad, or at least frustrated.  Instead, I looked at the ticket, and just laughed.  It was perfectly awful.  Study abroad can be a very difficult time, and very frustrating.  Yet during it, I’ve learned to better cope with problems and how to make the most of them.  Laughter is certainly better than anger.

To make the most of it, I’m writing this article to tell the world my silly story and so hopefully others learn from my mistake.  Remember, if you’re ever in Berlin, unlike almost everywhere else in Europe, you don’t get a student discount on tickets.  Enjoy those free life lessons courtesy of the study abroad program.


Anthony Meier


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