I’m in Berlin and taking a wee break to do this and to just catch my breath. I’ve visited Berlin more times then any other city (I think this is my 4th time in about 8 years). I love Berlin. Every time I come here I think, “should I move here?” and I always know that the answer is “no” but that doesn’t take away from how great it is and how much fun I have when I am here.
Each time I have come its been at different places in my life and for different reasons. This time around I came for fun, escape, to see old and new friends and to party with strangers. Berlin is an art city but to be blunt I haven’t seen any “art.” That doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been art filled though. Hanging out, talking, and being around artists in this arty never-never land that is Berlin makes everything feel like a setting for a film, poem, or memoir.
I will relay quickly some of these things as I have only an hour till the baby gets back and I want to squeeze its cheeks some more.
Fly out from Southend Airport, London(ish). Start reading Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend. Get hooked. Land in Berlin 4:30pm, almost half way through book. Can’t put book down. Take bus then train to Kleistpark U-bahn. Walk around trying to find an ATM. Find ATM, get our euros. Walk to park that is actually a cemetery. Fell embarrassed the wheels of my suitcase are making so much noise on the gravel. Walk to Kleistpark stop again. Read more of the book. Drink a limonata, smoke a cigarette, lots of bees. Time friend and I should have met passes. Get nervous. Get wifi and message friend. Wait. Call Friend. He messaged earlier but I didn’t get it. Walk to his place. Get inside. Cute place. Drink water. Talk quickly. Change quickly and put on lipstick. We walk to the corner shop and get two beers and walk and drink. Go to warehouse place by water that is having a reading. See girl I know, say hi. Readings are bad, get okay then get very bad. To the point that I have to leave. See other friends, talk. See other friends talk. Go outside. Walk to get food. Walk through park at night. Go home slightly drunk. Listen to music and think emo thoughts. Smoke a cigarette in courtyard. Check internet. Get ready for bed. Take flashlight to read in bed.
Walk to grocery store and buy food. Wait for friends to get back to me about the lake. Meet friend at U-bahn to go to lake, get a limonata, wait for other friend. Go to café, too busy. Go to market. Eat salad and fish sandwiches on the curb, very good food. Their other friend meets us. Eat and chat. Take trains to the lake. Talk and walk. Find place, not very sunny since lots of trees. Go swimming. Rest and dry off. Talk and talk and talk. Smoke cigarettes. Talk and talk. Take train to park in Kreuzberg for a BBQ birthday party. One friend leaves. Walk, find friends, most are strangers but everyone seems nice. Eat. Talk, Drink beer and wine. Talk to other people. Pee in the bushes. Talk and drink and eat more. People smoking weed. Music playing. Someone gets someone to open a bottle of wine by wrapping it in a scarf and banging it against a tree. It works but the wine is very cloudy. Everyone is high and laughing and eating a lot. It’s nice. It gets darker. Friends leave, other friends come. Drink prosecco. Wine only costs 3.80 euro. Feel sudden deep sadness and take a walk around the lake. Come back, drink more and talk more. Someone says my name, friend is on the phone for me. I convince another new friend bring me to meet him. Take U-bahn. Talk and find other friends and drink and talk under umbrellas. Going to swim. Walk to place to swim. Hop metal fence with little spikes on top. I go right away because I don’t want to chicken out. Wait for everyone to go over. Pools are nice, big and empty. Spotlights come on sometimes. Most people are swimming naked. I have my bathing suite from the lake. Feel calm and look at the stars while floating on my back. People are cold so decide to leave.
Walk. Some people want to go home, some to get drinks. Go to a cocktail bar. Order drinks. I order a vodka martini; it’s already 3:00am. Drink and get drunk and cry but it’s okay. Walking to U-bahn, incredibly drunk all of a sudden. Request something embarrassing in drunken state. Doesn’t work out. Better it didn’t. Go home on train. Feel incredibly sad. Cry on train. Listen to music walking home, cry more. Go to bed feeling wrecked. Vodka martinis are evil. It’s 5:30am.
Wake up at 12:30 text friend apologizing for being so drunk. Glad to be by myself and in bed. Friend texts if meeting for an all you can eat brunch. I text back that I am dead. I feel dead. Promise myself to never drink again (yeah right). Get up, wash face, walk to store. Store is closed. Walk to another store. Walk home. Make pasta, eat pasta, feel sick. Computer won’t work. Friend comes back to place. Chat a little. Get ready to leave. Message other friend. Dress, pack, say goodbye, leave place. Go to other friends place. Get lost on the way. Arrive. Their apartment is big, beautiful and very grown up. Say hi to friends, meet their baby who is one of the cutest babies ever. Go to bathroom, look at myself and think “shit” look like shit and still hungover. Talk to friends, play with baby. Walk to park for another birthday BBQ. Pass Berlin Wall. We all say ironic things about it. Park is sort of dirty and full of people that seem bad but seems okay. There is a bleacher full of people doing outside karaoke, looks crazy the way people are stacked. Find their friends, chat a little. Lay out blanket. Talk, eat burgers there are lots of bees. More babies come and play. Lots of babies. Very cute. Talk and play with babies. Text friend about meeting for dinner. Leave BBQ and walk to U-bahn. Find restaurant, order water. Feel hungover still. Friends arrive. Talk, order drinks. Talk, order food. Talk, food comes. Eat, talk and eat. Drink and smoke and talk. Pay bill and leave. Get back to friends, afraid will wake up baby but don’t so relieved. Pass out in bed it’s 11:30pm.
Wake up hearing baby crying but not too bad and not too early. Get up at 8:30ish. Talk to friends, they give me a spare key. I take a shower and dress and leave for a meeting. Meet in Kreuzberg to talk about Kippenberger. Rushed meeting only lasts an hour. We both have somewhere else to go. 12:00, walk to other meeting. Pressed for time since they have to leave at 1:15. Talk but mostly listen. Fast studio visit. Say goodbye and leave. Feel tired, hungry and worn out. Pass places to eat. Too indecisive. Walk back in direction of a toy store I passed before. Eat at a Turkish place. Feel sleepy. Find the toy store. Buy some toys for the baby. Go to junk shop. Buy knickknack at shop. Walk to U-bahn. Get back to apartment. It’s 4:30pm
Might meet up for a coffee later. Might meet to get swimsuit back later. Going to a potluck with friends later. Going to go to grocery store for the potluck later. Will apologize for being a drunk idiot the other night later. Will drink and smoke and feel sad about leaving Berlin tomorrow.