Ich bin ein Berliner

July 17, 2009 at 11:25 am

Random ramblings … and some stuff on Berlin.

Taking bites out of encased stinky cheese, I’m not the only one who liked this spot.
To the right of me are old cigarette butts. The ants are crawling eagerly on my fresh bread rolls and two kinds of new cheeses that I just bought in the supermarket – Knirps wieinkase and St. Mang Romadur. I’m just hoping the nutella (or nudossi) and multivitamin juice jug won’t attract bees.

It took me two hours to find this spot but it’s worth it. Off the Prinzenstrasse Ubahn I am sitting over a canal with my feet dangling over the water, joggers and dogs in the background and old German houses across the canal. It’s so hot and humid that I took off my shirt and am just in a sports bra with my capris rolled as high as I can. I feel completely anonymous and happy and free.

Fresh bread and cheese! Anyone who knows me knows that I am happier right now than a pig in poo.

Freedom. That’s the word that popped into my head today as I stepped out into the streets of Berlin. Ironic yet appropriate is that word as I walk past the old remains of he Berlin wall.

I passed Humboldt University the place where Albert Einstein went to school and I thought – for as brilliant as the Germans are – smart people can do some really dumb things sometimes.

My thoughts seem disconnected but they are revolving. I know I think and therefore write in disjointed sentences or roundabout ways. But I’m not writing a book and don’t have to cross my t’s, I’m just expressing myself.

That’s how I feel today. Free. I am completely alone in Berlin, in a city that is so spread out, that gives off eery vibes from its ghosts of the past but offers a strong quirky underground friendly character. Unlike any city I have ever been in.

Everything is truly socialistic. Museums and Opera cost the same if you are 18 and a bum or if you are 70 and posh, you are accepted as you are. No guestlists, no private parties, come one come all.

The neighborhoods all have bars and cafes. There is not one real place to go for nightlife or for culture. Culture is all around. There is street art, graffiti, legal prostitution, independent coffee shops, stores, bookstores, and so on. Sure they have made checkpoint charlie a huge tourist attraction, but just walking around in Berlin you breathe in the history of the SS, Gestapo, Nazis, as you stumble through the maze of the Holocaust memorial or sit on the steps of the French Cathedral overlooking the square where Berliners drank the ‘Swedish Cocktail’ which halved their population, or Pariser Square where Victoria sits high on Brandenburg Gate glaring victoriously over the French. Right next to that is the hotel where Michael Jackson held his newborn son out the window – some pop culture at a very ironic time in history, just after the death of Michael Jackson.

Today my plan was to go to Einstein Kaffee to go online. But instead I decided to first take some time to enjoy my freedom.

No hostel guests, no being pulled in 20 different directions, no bogey web projects that turn out to be jokes, no dating, no traveling with 5 people, or even 1 other person, and having to please others. I don’t have to please anyone. I am free.

I have learned a lot of things about myself traveling and in general.

I made a long list today and it’s still growing. It’s a great time for me to unwind, reflect on things that have happened, how I reacted. Change happening so quickly is like a bullet – rapidly telling you what you need to / want to change inside yourself.

People say I think too much and to ‘stop thinking’, I say ‘stop just existing’. Traveling has made me realize that we all have a part, there are so so many people on the planet. We need to give balance to the earth, need to be here for a purpose, not just breathe air and use resources. I don’t know what that balance is yet for me, but I think it’s an important realization. Leave your mark on the earth, give back.

I am here in the park, no phone, no camera, a computer that barely runs but is allowing me to type this. Endless frustration with not finding internet, phone, etc but I feel even more free than I ever have in this moment. I had to re-learn how to communicate without a phone and texting at my fingertips. Life is quieter, less complicated, and more interesting as I am forced to look around, forced to figure things out and deal with what is around me and not beeping in my hand. I know I’ll
go back to it soon but I am enjoying the quiet just even for this moment.