A Typical Day for Sophie at the Embassy

8:50 a.m- Show up to work early, stand nervously by security guard while he calls what I know to be an empty office, looking for someone to escort me in.

8:55- Still no answer in Cultural Affairs office, because no one has come to work yet.

9:00- A familiar face finally arrives, takes pity on me, and escorts me in.

9:02- Marine exchanges my passport for a red visitor’s pass.

9:10- Arrive in Cultural Affairs office, hang up coat, swivel back and forth in chair waiting for the two interns in the office to get to work.

9:15- Interns arrive late, exchange small talk and a joke or two, discuss previous nights activities.

9:30- Freak out thinking passport is lost, look everywhere for it, then remember the Marine has it.

9:45- Help intern edit daily news report of German media to be circulated to those working in the embassies in Germany, and then back to Washington. Chuckle at expressions and word choice used by native German speakers who write the report in English. 

10:00- Tanya arrives and whisks me off to a presentation. The interns follow.

11:00- Go back to desk, attempt to unlock Tanya’s iPad. She wrote down the passcode on the first day but I lost it and am too ashamed to go back to her office and ask for the seven hundredth time.

11:10- Swallow pride and get passcode from Tanya. Write it down again.

11:30- Talk to interns about their work and lives back home, discuss differences between Germany and America.

11:45- Beg one of the two (male) interns to escort me to the bathroom, because my visitors pass wont let me go anywhere alone. 

12:00- Meet all other interns in cafeteria for lunch, laugh loudly and in English, being the noisiest table in the room filled with suits and skirts poking at salads.

1:00- Return to Cultural Affairs office, have discussion with employee about his responsibilities, discuss issues of diversity in both the city of Berlin and the country of Germany.

1:45- Sit in chair in back of room, watching presentation on a number of topics, ranging from Transatlantic Trade Relations, to the benefits of the American National Parks System.

3:00- Back to Cultural Affairs, sit at desk and gossip with interns about other interns.

3:30- Rearrange purse, frantically search for passport.

3:45- Reminded by interns that Marine has passport.

4:00- Attend presentation, sit in on meeting, take tour, or watch round-table discussion.

5:00- Retrieve passport from Marine, return dreaded visitors pass, walk out of building confidently, silently smirking at tourists taking pictures of the Brandenburger Tor and of the Embassy.  

5:05- Smile and wish the security guards a good night. Get a nod in return, eyes still fixed ahead, presumably waiting for potential attackers. 

5:10- Descend into S-Bahn station, avoid homeless people, and take train back to the apartment.

6:00 p.m- Return home exhausted and exhilarated, excited to return the next morning. 

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