So, yeah, being back in Berlin was interesting. Not only because of family related issues, but also being back in Germany and getting re-adjusted, if only for three weeks, to the way things are here. And, in some ways, I’m glad I left. What struck me here was the uniformity of things, clothing (black jackets and denim pants), hairstyles, etc. — everybody looked the same. And there were not a lot of smiles to be seen, let me tell you that. Lots of grumpy, closed faces in the subway. Don’t get me wrong, there are also things that drive me mad in the USA, but people not being friendly is not one of them.
I think that is important — recognizing that there is another human being around. And usually a smile is enough. So that wore down on me after a while. That and that it was basically raining almost every day and the sun did not come out at all while we were here.
On the other hand, it was great to see and meet old friends again and go out and eat! Maultaschen, Kuchen, Gulasch — all great and tasty things. I think I had meat almost every single day here, which made me feel a little bad, because that’s not the way I eat at all at home, but what the heck! It’s my vacation!
I also went on a bunch of walks through my old neighborhood and it is noticeable that the area is getting gentrified. More fancy bars, more tourists, more hostels…it’s interesting (and a little sad) to see things change like that.