I then explained that I gathered how Germans (at least in Berlin) were domineering, yet friendly, assertive, but also timid. Perhaps it was the ever presence of authority in the form of police and if you didn’t see them, you definitely heard the sirens. Later in our conversation he would say, “I’m not sure. It’s like they sense danger and appear out of nowhere!” Despite that, Berliners were also carefree like children at the playground or teenagers at a mall with unlimited funds. Even I was surprised to see open bottles at the park, on the train, and as I walked on rugged streets. My first instinct as an American was, “OMG!! You’re going to get arrested!!” At the same time, I found order. People weren’t even pushing others to get into the Bahn. Is this real life?!

Arriving at the Potsdam Hauptbahnhof (Central Station), there wasn’t any time to look disoriented.After all, the herd of people making their way up the stairs made sure everyone kept it moving. I was starving and rather than risk becoming a chalk outline of my former self, I went for the first place that caught my eye, Heißer Wolf. The women behind the counter look like they could choke slam me if I didn’t properly address them. In Berlin, I could at least get by with broken German before someone just spoke English to me to save me. Here I wasn’t so lucky and resorted to hand gestures and singing Kraftwerk’s “Numbers” before ordering.

Easyjet, I read the reviews and I was even advised to pay an extra $100 just to fly with another airline as Easyjet tickets are nonrefundable. I’m sitting in seat 26A, last row aisle. If I sneeze, I’m sure the seat will burst at the seams. We all like a good bargain, but this is on some other level shit.

On my way to the airport, I was having mixed feelings about my first trip to Europe. Traveling to Europe for the first time by yourself is a trip! I wasn’t traveling internationally for the first time.