This is not a forever farewell. But we will be gone from Berlin long enough that it is a significant good-bye. Even though Berlin has been my home for over three years, I sometimes have this feeling that if I leave I might not find my way back. And there were certainly times during those years that never coming back would have suited me just fine; it took me a long time to love Berlin.
Living in another country does many things to you, such as illustrating to you your capacity to adapt. I have adapted to this place and its ways and its language. They feel normal to me—but I am still an outsider. When I go back to the States, that all feels familiar and easy but not quite the right fit, either. Maybe after a longer period of time I will feel differently, but for the time being I feel like I live in an in between place. I’m sure it is a sensation that many expats could identify with.
I’m looking forward to taking some notes during these next months, drawing some comparisons, getting some perspective, and being open to what comes next.
For me, Berlin is a turning point. I arrived there after traveling for months and months through different languages and cultures and found something that felt comfortable, so much so that I often found myself thinking that it was my hometown. I would often slip up and think “wow, I have never seen this part of town before” only to realize that I wasn’t even in my own country. It was a combination of familiarity and discovery. The little things that make up the big picture of Berlin surely require more study once the snow melts. Until then there are adventures to be had in new places where the sun shines.
Link to the video here.