Alive in Berlin

Sunday was one of the best days of my life. It's funny to say that.  We usually reserve that for the big events or milestones.  But it was.

It started with a mild hangover and little sleep.  I went for a morning walk around my brother's neighbourhood as the city woke up.  Empty wine bottles and pint glasses left hints of a good Saturday night on the sidewalks.

I walked in the sunshine to my favourite coffee shop, then waited with a noisy group of Italians and watched two little German kids yell after their cleverly named pug "Your Majesty" before they opened at doors at 10 a.m.


After a perfect flat white, a quick change, and more coffee out with my brother I took off to find some flea markets.

I started at Arkonaplatz, where I worked through the crowds and picked up some vintage sunglasses for a steal.   With no sense of direction I followed the music to Mauerpark and found myself listening to Charity Children Berlin, a pair from New Zealand who are so musically talented and obviously in love that it was impossible not to stop and drink it in.  Apparently they moved to Berlin with no plan or grasp of the language and took up busking.

Inside the Mauerpark flea market I found a great hat, popped it on my head, and walked over to the huge grassy hills where I lay down in the sun.  Groups were spread all across the grass around me.  Bands were set up everywhere and a funk band down below serenaded me.  A girl walked around with a basket of freshly made chocolate cake, "Would you like a slice?"  And I started to feel like I had fallen into the perfect universe.

There is a sense of freedom in Berlin. As if when the wall came down so did all sense of restriction and trying to be anyone but yourself.  There is an ease to people.  The girls dress casually and sometimes androgynously and are all the prettier for it.  The guys put care and pride into their dress and have mastered casual cool.  But there's less of an overall generic look or effort and more of a comfort to everyone.  Even those that dress outlandishly do it comfortably.

After a short nap I stopped for a glass of wine and then met up with my brother to go to the Bastille concert.  In a small room at Festsaal Kreuzberg, the singer echoed his voice up and down every wall and into the little crevices of my heart.

We stumbled out into the night just in time to wish off one of my dearest friends who was going in for a heart operation the next day.  As she poetically put it "We're both dealing with our own version of heartbreak right now."   It warmed mine to see her, and I know she'll be okay and sharing some European summer days with me soon.

With her needing to rest, we feasted on spicy Portuguese chicken and fries before heading out to meet another friend for a night of debauchery that lasted into the early morning.

And so that was one of the best days of my life.  Nothing special.  But everything special.  Mostly because it reminded me what a huge beautiful world it is and that I'm allowed to be a part of it.