Funemployed Day 61: Volunteering at a refugee camp with a hangover

"Nein, Nein, Nein!" - A bunch of girls yelling at my in German all day. That was about the only word I understood, but love has no language. 

Tl;dr: Slept way too late (unless you work night shifts and 2pm isn't late for you), may or may not have puked before lunch because I was really hungover, took an extra long, extra hot shower, ate a really nice fish lunch prepared by Peep's mom, rode bikes to a nearby refugee complex where I spent that afternoon chasing (and being chased by) a bunch of little kids, dinner with Peep's parents (think homemade pretzels, then went to bed far too early (think 7pm). 

That was a long Tl;dr. I hope it wasn't too long to didn't read. 

I'll be brief today and from here forward, because you probably are sick of my life, and this is more of a nice way for me to kill some time on my funemployed days back in the States, sitting at a coffee shop, drinking hibiscus tea. That is exactly what I'm doing right now. Wish you were here and we could sit in silence typing together sipping hibiscus iced tea, but you're not. 

So I woke up after a long night of clubbing alone. 

I did not want to wake up. I felt like utter shite. I knew I had good deeds to do this day, and I felt even shittier that I was hungover, almost too hungover, to go volunteer with Peep. You are a shitty person if you are too hungover for your volunteering duties. I knew I had to get it together. Somehow I managed to get myself out of bed, quickly dry heaved whatever liquid was left in me, and took a hot shower. I didn't even feel like a new person after. That's how hungover I was. 

I found my way downstairs to eat some fish for lunch. Somehow I was able to stomach this. That's how much I love seafood. It was delicious. I passed on the white wine I was offered. I listened to a lot of German and nodded at the few words I could recognize, and went with context to slightly figure out what was being said. Also I was ok to sit in silence in this state. 

After lunch I threw on some jeans and we hopped on bikes.

Trailing behind on my bike trying to ignore how tight my jeans were feeling after a night of partying.

Trailing behind on my bike trying to ignore how tight my jeans were feeling after a night of partying.

I distinctly recall how tight and uncomfortable my jeans felt as we rode bikes. They were digging into my gut. But the fresh air felt great. This was curing my hangover, as was the prospect of playing with a bunch of kids. I fucking love kids. If you didn't know that about me, now you do. I spent my teens babysitting and some time in Australia as a nanny after college. 

Peep lives near one of the biggest refugee centers in Berlin. It's for people, mostly from Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan (and the list goes on), who've recently arrived in Germany. First impression was that it looked like a nice apartment complex, by NYC standards. Peep said most of the folks there have recently arrived and don't often leave the grounds of the building, for many reasons, like not knowing German, not having money, or just being unfamiliar or afraid. 

This was a wonderful experience. There's such a vast difference from hearing about refugees on the news, and then meeting real live people in person. They are people. They want to be safe, be with their families, and live a nice life, just like you and I. It's heart breaking to know that many of them have been through so much to get to this place, but also there's a glimmer of hope that people will be able to settle and have a better life here. 

I just grabbed a ball and started playing. Peep and his dad were helping some men enroll in courses and helping with more serious matters, while I just frolicked around the yard with a bunch of children. I mostly had a flock of three girls with me the whole time, one of which I particularly loved. She was headstrong, smart, and yelling at me in German a lot. I loved it. If I tried throwing the ball to someone else she'd glare at me and threaten to walk off. She knew she had me wrapped around her finger. I'd bag her to stay and play with me. Ugh. What a cutie. I think she must have been three or four years old, with big eyes and a cute little brown-haired bowl cut. 

Later in the day we picked flowers from a nearby tree. They weren't particularly beautiful, but I was able to string some together and make flower crowns, in between being tackled and trampled by multiple children. My heart nearly melted out of my body seeing these cute little girls run around in their flower crowns. I really hope they have a great life ahead of them. I hope they find safety and a home in Germany. 

It was crazy to spend three plus hours with all these kids, having such a fun time, without knowing a single word of each other's languages. They were all learning German, so I picked up a few words from their limited vocabulary, but really we had so much fun. It doesn't require words. Kids are the coolest. They are just so down with shit, so genuine, and don't give a fuck about what anyone thinks. It's refreshing and beautiful. 

Ok I said I'd keep it short, but it's hard when I get going on a passionate subject. My fingers just won't stoppppp typppinggggg. 

I was sad to say goodbye to my new little friends as we left to head back to Peep's house. Peep and his dad were admiring my kid-friend-making and flower-crown-making abilities on our bike ride home. We got back to the house, chilled for a bit, then ate dinner outside. It was fresh lettuce from the garden in a beautiful and delicious salad, with hot pretzels. Yum. After dinner I went to get take a little "rest" in bed around 7pm, which turned in to a full on night's sleep. 

On to Spain now. 

  1. Early am airport run
  2. Nearly late for my flight, so I got to cut the security line
  3. Flew to Malaga, Spain next to the badesst assest lady and we talked the whole trip
  4. Got to my Airbnb
  5. Explored the city center
  6. Lounged on a beach chair