Musings: Berlin (heart emoji)

Wednesday, May 3, 2017



I was decluttering my laptop the other day, which is something I'll probably keep doing as long as I live, and  I found a short piece I wrote in 20 minutes last year just a couple of days after having left Berlin. This was actually a part of the test for a certain job: they wanted to check my written English and I was supposed to write anything at all ASAP. So I let my heart speak.

I didn't get the job eventually; if I recall correctly, I was told the piece is good but then they never bothered to contact me again. I read it now, after more than a year, and decided to publish it. Here's a different love story.


Living in different places makes you leave little pieces of your soul scattered around and lost forever, though maybe ‘lost’ is not the best word: yes, the soul is never whole again, but at least you feel at home in more than one place. I just moved from Berlin, and boy is my soul torn apart.

Berlin is one of those places that can easily top your charts if you let it. It won’t amaze you at first sight like London and Rome would; you might get the impression it’s rough, ugly, even. But given enough time, it will slowly seduce you and get under you skin.

Before you notice, you will memorize the routes of U-Bahn lines; you will find ‘your’ coffee place that serves cold brewed coffee and feel slightly disgusted when someone mentions grabbing a coffee at Starbucks. You will carry a tote bag around because there’s always a book or a loaf of bread to be put in it—or you might even decide to carry a tote bag as a purse. You will accept Turkish delights as parts of the original Berlin cuisine, and enjoy the city being so international: what should we have for lunch today, Korean, Thai, Japanese, Lebanese? If you’re a gluten-free vegan, this is the place to be; but if you’re more of a hunter, all the doner kebabs and schnitzels of the world are waiting for you. You will get used to drinking beer on a train on a Saturday night, and meeting your friends for brunch on Sundays. And yes, while brunching might be seen as pretentious somewhere else, you will know it has nothing to do with Berlin, where it’s just people getting together to fill their bellies in their oversized sweaters and old sneakers.

Oh, and if you picked out your outfits carefully before coming to Berlin, the city will save your time. Mismatch is the new match, and being comfortable is not just a phrase, it’s the way of living. 

Of course, when you arrive to the city, you will visit the Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, Alexanderplatz, the lovely Berlin Cathedral on the Museum Island and all the other touristy hot spots. But after a while you will have known Berlin is so much more; and you will gladly share that with everyone who cares to listen. Good things are worth sharing, after all.

Wow, I miss that old bastard.

Tihana

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