It was very cold when the first time I got out of the Terminal C Berlin Tegel airport to Terminal A. It was the third time I went to Europe, but the first time I went in winter. I remember it was 5 degrees Celsius, while in Jakarta it is always 23 until 29 degrees Celsius. So you can imagine how cold it was for me.
I used my 29-inch baggage – too big for a three-day meeting, I know – and it weighed 27 KGs. I hoped there would be elevators instead of stairs to reach Terminal A, so then I could buy local number and asked for a bus to Alexander Platz. After I bought a local number, I went to bus shelter. Happily, the officer had a good English so he could explained to me clearly. Then I got into the bus, sit calmly, and arrived hotel savely. It was almost 4 PM.
I was intentionally arrived Berlin a day early so I could manage to adjust my time hop, since Jakarta and Berlin have 6-hour time difference. As soon as I arrived hotel, I bought a carton of milk and a biscuit in order to keep strong in winter. Was I too much? Okay, then, I opened my laptop, checked email, and prepared my presentation. I was very very very nervous that time. I knew that my partners would be having 10 years of experience in that field, while I only had 3 years’ experience in activism, included only less than a year in labour field.
After working a bit on my presentation, I started to feel hungry. I walked to Alexander Platz to find a doner kebap booth. On my way there, a runner passed me. He ran with short and a shirt. I was amazed how he survived that kind of weather! I would have been freezed! Other people walked fast, in order to keep warm I assume.
Arrived the doner kebap booth, I ordered a currywurst. Too much salt, too less seasoning. I wish I could cook. I brought a soy ketchup from home anyway. I always think that European food, or in this case: Turkish food, would be much more delicious if it included some seasoning from Indonesia, East Indonesia to be exact. After feeling satisfied, I went to walk to the other side of Alexander Platz and found some musicians playing their instruments. God, how I missed folklore festival so much! If it had been summer, I would dance anyway. But it was winter and even my fingers were freezing. So I just went straight to the hotel.
The next day, I woke up at seven. I always do not have problems when coming to Europe, but always have jetlag after I am home. Lucky me! After taking a bath and preparing all the things I needed, I took a walk to the meeting place. Instead of going there directly, I went to sightseeing a bit, took some photos, and then went to the meeting place. It was in the Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte, or House of Democracy and Human Rights in English. I was a bit confused where the meeting was taken since there were several doors. Then I saw four people chit-chatting, so I decided to ask them. Unfortunately, they did not speak English. I tried speaking French, hoping they spoke French, but they did not. Finally there was a man who speak English a little. He helped me to find the right room by asking someone else. Then he walked me to the next door, where I met Berndt, a very friendly and funny man, my partner from Inkota Berlin.
Berndt then introduced me to other people in the project. They were all friendly. After having lunch together, we started the meeting. The first day was all about the introduction of the project, even though almost all of the people in the project had known it. That was the time when I got to know other members of the project, you know I just knew them via Skype, all I knew was their voices. Especially the research circle. I was very glad meeting Anton from Germany, May from China, Bettina from the Global East, and Francesco from Italy. Unfortunately a friend from India could not come so we could not meet in person. My favorite was Francesco, he was like a grandpa for me. He was so clever, funny, and sarcastic. I almost always laughed every time he spoke up! May and Anton were the silliest I think. Well, researchers are not always serious, you know. Then there were Danica and Helle, they were from the communication circle. They were very kind, positive, and supportive. Maybe that was why they were in the communication circle? And then there were Lisa from the lobby companies circle and Bettina, their faces were antagonist haha! I always love antagonist role in a film since I was a kid, I do not know why.
The second day of meeting came. From the very first time I opened my eyes in the morning, I repeatedly rechecking things I should bring to the meeting. I was afraid something would not going well in my presentation. But it turned out good although there was someone dominating me. What I like the most was I was given the opportunity as big as others to speak and to do my role, while I was – and I am now – just a beginner in this field. It would be different in Jakarta. Beginners, or “anak kemarin sore” (literal meaning: a child who was just born yesterday afternoon) would not be recognized and would be degraded in the activism. I thought that was just me who feel being degraded, but my friends who are a senior activist told me that they had been degraded by others also when they were beginners. Of course I am not saying this is applied in all field of activism, but this is applied in many conditions of activism.
I also like to be in this group of people, because these people were full of spirit and seemed like they never tired of this movement to make a world better place. They were full of positive thoughts! Also, this activism includes creativity, such as mobile application and nice design to move people together, to get what we aim together. The movement was not boring at all.
The second day also when I was tired of pasta *grin*. Not that I hated pasta. I am not the kind who picky on food, I actually eat all kinds of food. It was just I had pasta for lunch, and then pasta again for dinner. So, in the third day of meeting, I hoped Berndt would take us into some other kinds of restaurant. And, yes. When I told them, “No pasta again, please?” they laughed and nodded. So we had lunch in the Vietnamese restaurant near the Haus der Demokratie und Menschenrechte.
The third day was full of summaries of what we had done and plans for what we would do next. Two auditors came and played some games with us to get to know how we, as a team, worked together. After the third day of meeting had finished, Berndt asked me to do a shooting the next day. There was a journalist who wanted to know our movement. She wanted to make a documentary film about shoe industry. So I had to come to Inkota Office to do the shooting.
On my way there, I got lost. But I liked it because I could sightseeing a bit. I asked for direction to an old lady, but she was very grumpy. Maybe she needs going to go picnic. Then I asked a young boy. He told me the right direction, and I thanked him.
I thought I would just be the person behind the camera, but when I came to Inkota Office the next day, I had to be the talent of the movie. I always nervous in front of camera, while I enjoy very much dancing in public. Is it maybe because I face the real spectators when I dance, while I do not see any spectators in shooting with cameras? Maybe. So, there were Anna, Michaela, Kathrin, José Luis, Berndt, and I who involved in the shoot. She directed us how we should act and do, so I just did a chit-chat with Anna and José Luis about the leaflets on the table. It was funny and silly how we acted like we were in the middle of meeting. Yeah, meeting day four: shooting.
But I left earlier than anybody else because I had a lunch meeting with a friend of mine who lived in Berlin, named Rosa. She brought me also to the Berlin Wall and the museum near the Nordbahnhof S-bahn. I was amazed how the German Government could make such museums. They even made the Bahnhof as a museum! I could see some photos in Hitler time in the station tunnel. I wish Indonesia had one like that to memorise the genocide on Indonesian Communist Party. But well, while German Government had had applied an education system to clean up the nazi-ism, Indonesia Government still do not admit that there were a crime back in the 1960s by the government. Yeah, I learned a lot while travelling to Berlin. Really loved to go back there someday!