Last Tango in Berlin

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Sunset at the beach

I write this from Thessaloniki (well, a beach two hours from Thessaloniki), where I almost didn’t come on this trip I planned because it would have been the second week of traveling back-to-back. Last weekend I went on my last jaunt to Berlin to visit my friend Wiebke, because, well, exciting news: I’m moving to China next year! I wanted to write a bit about my last weekend, which wasn’t particularly special. Just a normal summer weekend in Berlin: some good weather, some bad, surprisingly little debauchery compared to my usual modus operandi.

But the day after I got back from Berlin, after I came home from the swimming pool, my mother called me and told me my grandmother died.

Yes, the grandmother who lived in Berlin, right down the street from where I was last weekend. I was in Berlin, so physically far but perhaps historically close, and then she passed. It’s not such a sad story, because she was almost 97, and she lived a good life and even though parts of it were unimaginably hard, I know she had a good life, because while she liked to tell you all about the bad, she also liked to tell you about the good. At length. Over and over, no matter how many times you’d already heard it (it was one of her charms).

So of course I went back for the funeral, which is a looooong slog: a bus from Murcia to Alicante, a flight from Alicante to Barcelona, a long flight from Barcelona to Los Angeles, only to do it all again in reverse two days later. And that’s why I almost didn’t come to Greece.

Seeing as that trip to Berlin was my last for the foreseeable future, I wanted to write something about it’s finality, my final time in Europe, and how I’m moving to Hangzhou, China for the next two years, but in this weird way life works, somehow this last trip to Berlin coincided with another chapter of a parallel story also closing. But of course, that’s not the end of the book, and we shall see what’s left to be written.

Every beginning
is only a sequel, after all,
and the book of events
is always open halfway through.

“Love at First Sight”, Wisława Szymborska

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Forever constructing and re-constructing

12 Replies to “Last Tango in Berlin”

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