Berlin is different than any city I’ve ever been to. Of course, every city I’ve ever been to is different than every city I’ve ever been to. But Berlin has this atmosphere no othe city comes close to. I often feel as if a big glass had been put over it, concentrating its intensity, so that I can virtually taste it.
Berlin tastes raw. It can’t cover its emotions because they’re so intense. Thus everyone can smell the fierceness, the vitality, the diversity, the pain and guilt from all it’s been through, the casualness, the laziness, the innovative capacity. Berlin has so many taste facets, and it tastes hella good.
When I first came to Berlin with my mom, I left with the intention to come back soon. When I came to Berlin the second time with my best friend, I left with the conviction I would go to university there. I wanted to be part of this multifaceted city. I wanted to become as multifaceted.
This year I came to Berlin the third time. First I was there with my history class to learn about the GDR. We lived in a hip hotel next to countless backpackers from England and the U.S., ate food from many different countries, and learned a lot of stuff about a very strange time.
The second part of my stay I spent with my beautiful sisters from across the great pond. By that time I felt like Berlin by now speaks more English than German. There are just as many international brands to get donuts, sandwiches and burgers at than there are small funnily-named German stores to get Streuselkuchen, good salad and bread at. Plus, there are countless stores where you can get burgers with Sauerkraut and beef jerky, and other blended cultural dishes.
The third part of my stay I spent alone to take Berlin all in and to newly consider it as a place to move to and to live in. I visited the Free University of Berlin and spoke to the counselor of an interesting bachelor major I can see myself doing.
At the end of the day I could barely walk anymore. I felt alone in the masses. Lost. Misplaced. Too normal for this city. Too provincial. I left Berlin with the knowledge I wasn’t ready for it. Even though it fascinates and captivates me. Berlin is ready for me, but I am not ready for it.
There’s some magic about some places that make me love them hard. Berlin is one of those places. My room is one as well. England is one. Duluth during fall. The comfortable chair in front of a movie screen next to a good friend is one. But magic does not make them places to live in. Not necessarily. My room gets too hot, England has not yet been tested, Duluth is too far and too cold, the chair eventually gets uncomfortable.
I am in love with Berlin, but I am not ready for it. It’s magic doesn’t make it a good place for living (yet). I’ll try to find other magical places that offer a more gradual increase in intensity. And maybe, Berlin will simply stay my little multifaceted muse to visit on weekends.
At least I tried to convoy some of my love with these pictures and these words. Alas, other mothers have beautiful daughters as well.
Thanks for reading.