The air has begun to chill. The days fly by as the nights seems to last forever.
A new cycle has started.
I’m going to miss Berlin.
I settled in Berlin about the same time as I am leaving it. My birthday is in two days. I have new passport, with new blank pages. If you would indulge my penchant for metaphors, it seems as though the slate has once again been wiped clean and a new chapter is about to begin.
For over a year, it has been my base, home and muse. In this “ever-changing city,” I have been able to taste freedom on my own terms. I pushed myself through experimentation and introspection. I met the most interesting people as well as every new incarnation of myself. As I wandered through graffiti adorned streets, construction-style urban parks, and decrepit yet beautiful building, like I have so many times before, I wished for a mental camera that would not only record images, but feelings, memories and sensations. It was like saying goodbye to a lover that you aren’t sure you will never meet again. I saw myself from an outsiders perspective — marveling at the tree-lined streets, the cheerful chatter and the vibrant intangible energy that seeps through your pores. Even after a year, I still can’t help but be swept away.
I went back to Prenzlauer Berg, the district I had first moved to when I arrived. The area itself is known as being “BoBo” or “Bourgeoisie Bohemian,” where you would either careen into stroller wielding mothers or pink-haired punk artists. I grew up feeling like a walking contradiction, so of course, the area felt like home. On my last penny, I went to one of my favorite English bookshops, St. Georges, to sell some old books. Sadly, I didn’t make much (14 Euros to be exact!) but it was nice to sink into the giant leather coach, listen to some chill music and get lost in a book. However, the sunshine and the buzz outside was a far greater call so I made my way to the Kowillplatz outdoor market. This location is considered by many as one of the most beautiful in Berlin, due to its cobble-stoned streets that emphasize a classical European ambiance, whilst its trendy stores and restaurants showcase a modern atmosphere. Though not the most budget-friendly, the Saturday markets were part of my old routine. The fresh vegetables, the smell of soup cooking and the free samples were a huge draw. As I approached the plethora of stands, the sound of jazz filled the air. I went to investigate where it was coming from and in the middle of the children’s park was this troupe of musicians. They were wild! Dressed in outfits of neon green, red and yellow, they tooted their horns, danced to the music and flirted with the crowd — not bad for a group in their seventies. Though they were definitely skilled and talented, their most attractive quality was how they were simply enjoying the moment.
I let myself get lost again. In one cross section, I actually stopped in my tracks, scratched my head and asked myself: “Do I take the shorter familiar way or the longer way I haven’t gone before?”
Guess which one I took.