The reality is, I moved to Berlin mid-lockdown. A quieter Berlin, now with no bar open in sight.
My previous San Francisco living had me forgetting what a real winter was. I remember now!
Lately, I spend a lot of time alone. Walking across Berlin has become a comforting routine, my happy place. I’m able to share smiles with strangers, make eye-contact with dogs, and giggle with children. It reminds me that life was once more lively than our current reality.
I walk through the Mitte gem that is Dussman’s Book Shop on a day that I crave being around other people. I admire pictures of bustling Berlin on various book covers, laughing couples, sumptuous food spreads, and lavish parties. I dream about what this might feel like one day, and I find comfort in my melancholy, this hope of a return to normalcy.
On a cold day, one can describe Berlin as being empty, still, and bitter. This particular description for me has become less about the weather or state of Berlin, but a feeling I've come to know well; empty, still, and bitter. Berlin in winter. Berlin in winter - COVID 19.
The Berlin I’ve ever known, has been on lockdown. I consider myself lucky because I have gotten to witness this city in unprecedented ways! The Berlin I see will always and forever be anchored in stillness.
This solitude has become my new normal, as it has for many during lockdown. The barren, somber streets of Berlin might evoke similar feelings as the empty streets of Paris, or the shocking sight of an empty Times Square, but the wild, lively, and free-spirited nature of this city I dreamed of turned out to be a little different, and much quieter. The quiet, the stillness has contributed, and still contributes to my life in many ways, unexpectedly so...
Presently, I sit with my new favorite German Lager overlooking the beautiful Monbijoupark on a “kalte Märznacht”, and I feel gratitude for the amazing things I've felt and seen, in the once-in-a-lifetime Berlin that I know and love. That has grown and loved with me.