Berlin. Part Two.
"I'm wide awake." So sings Bono.
Berlin is a city that forces me to be awake. Awake and alert, navigating new streets and new destinations.
Over the weekend, a couple from Seattle, on their own journey and tour through parts of Europe, passed through Berlin. We met in Postdam where we toured the immaculate and immense grounds of Sanssouci. It's worth a Google, if you've never heard of Sanssouci, and it's definitely worth a visit if you're going to Berlin. A 45 minute train ride from the Berlin city center, Potsdam is a quiet and quaint town full of rich history and plenty of tourists. The grounds are spacious enough that you never feel too crowded by the other sightseers. We were there on a bright summery day, which only perpetuated my feeling that I was suddenly transported to Italy or Greece. Anywhere but Germany.
Much to my delight, Sanssouci became the inspiration for one of my characters' imagined fantasy worlds and has inspired much thought and creativity for my writing process.
On Sunday afternoon, the three of us went on a street art tour of Berlin. This 2.5 hour tour was absolutely fascinating, with our tour guide providing us context for the many of the images or series of images we saw along the way (and now when I see a certain series of images, I know the context behind the art!). I love street art because it is done without the pretense of a gallery showing. It's simply there on the street for everyone to see.
We also learned more about the squatting houses, more dynamics between East & West Berlin, and how Berlin is quickly changing. Berlin is also experiencing a rising cost of rent, pushing creatives out, etc. It makes me appreciate being in this city right now before the Berlin I'm seeing disappears.
Today marks 30 days of travel. I cannot believe it's already been a month, and yet it also feels as though I have been gone longer. Each day brings something new and something familiar, both externally in my environment, and inside. I am constantly surprising myself by what I delight in, what I dislike, what bores me, what excites me, and how simple these likes and dislikes often tend to be.
Today I celebrate. That I have made this journey happen and that I am on it still. Of course, we are always on "the journey," but it is something deeply special for me to be writing this blog in Berlin right now.
I do not take for granted that the world we live in continues to grow and churn and boil and spit. That many ugly things happening every day. That it seems to have become like a shrinky dink that just didn't come out of the oven quite right (that's what I think of when I think of US politics right now). I am constantly watching for headlines about Berlin (riots), Germany (a teenager with an axe on a train), France (Nice attacks), and the US (politics, #blacklivesmatter, police brutality). I am told by Australians that they have never been to the States and right now, with what's going on, they probably wouldn't. As someone said to me: "I mean, everyday citizens have guns right? That's scary."
And all I can think to do is to keep going. To keep living and breathing and loving and trying to make sense of my place in the world and keep working toward my dreams and goals and try to be loving and honest and kind along the way.
I am trying.
I believe we are all trying; we are all doing the best we can with what we have been given.
And so the journey continues...