Monday, November 29, 2010

Mal sehen, mal sehen

Guten morgan Berlin, du kannst so hässlich sein. Schwarz zu blau. Or maybe just grau.

I'm not sure, ever in my life, I've felt so conflicted with my loyalties. 3 weeks more. What does that even mean? Everything feels so temporary, so definitive. I leave my life that I've barely created and start a new one. I'm not sure I even have the energy to do so. I have to change my tongue, my comfort zone, my daily route through the hours. And then what? I find myself at another end and a new beginning.

I got my information for my host family in Spain the other day. Just one name, Isabella, and a mysterious address that I couldn't even find on Google Maps. I later learned it actually does exist, but only in Catalan, not Spanish. Someplace in an industrial district, with 1980s high rises and dirty streets and a somewhat long walk to the beach. I'm trying not to hold expectations because, seriously, where has that ever led me? Only empty hopes and unsatisfied eyes. Mal sehen.

I am somewhat in the Christmas Spirit. There are Christmas Markets everywhere and the air smells like roasting almonds and spices. I visited the most famous market in Germany this weekend, in Nuremberg which is in Bavaria. The accent was thick but the atmosphere was sweet, and the city itself was quiant and beautiful, in a way that only old European cities are. I even found Reeses Peanut Butter cups at the American stand, in my opinion the most important American import that Germany lacks. I had my fair share of traditional Southern German cuisine, with Käse Spätzle and Maultaschen. Yummy but starchy like most German food, and a little bland without the meat that traditional supplements it.

The snow there was probably the most beautiful part. The area is full of rolling hills and dense forest, a perfect setting for a sprinkling of white snow to enhance. In that sense, I found myself wanting to be home with my family, eating a delicious Christmas eve dinner and sharing gifts with my family. And, of course, playing with little Oliver.

Oh Deutschland, I think we've become friends, and I think we'll have a lasting relationship. Your bubbly water and rude waiters, your direct citizens and harsh language, your crisp winter air and grey skies, are all slowly gaining a place in my heart. And as I've discovered more and more, it only takes time and you open your doors to outsiders, but it takes a bit of warming up. Nevertheless, I'll always be an American.

I think I'll take a little trip across the border this weekend and see what Poland is all about. Probably buy myself some cheap goods and smuggle them back in. Then, Berghein, finally? Or the Christmas slide in Potsdammer Platz that I've been drooling over since I first laid eyes on it? Who knows, that's what I always think. And really no one does.

Zu vielen Fragen, zu wenig Zeit. But no worries, these next three weeks will be pure fun. I'm going to live them up more than the whole time I've been here combined.

Love, Erin

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