It’s been six months since I returned from Berlin, and I don’t think a day has passed when I haven’t thought about, if not talked about, my time there. I’ve stayed in touch with most of the people from my program and a few of us have had some small reunions – the friends I made in Berlin are some of my closest.
I’ve also stayed in touch with Andreas and Evelyn, and they’re very eager for me to come back. Their progressive (compared to the here, at least) philosophy and lifestyle suited me just fine and they are two of the happiest people I know. This is, I think, representative of Berlin as a whole: the first thing Andreas told me about Berlin was the mayor’s inauguration speech in which she said “I am gay, and it’s good” and “Berlin is poor, but sexy.” This display of honesty and realism was refreshing (especially in the wake of this year’s GOP race), and my appreciation of this was only affirmed by my visit to the Reichstag; to see many of the same the ideals and values the US allegedly holds self-evident manifested in the architecture and operations of Parliament was striking.
Of course, Berlin has its problems just like any other city (and they have been hit hard by the global recession), but if Andreas and Evelyn are anything to judge by, I believe that its people are willing and able to make the tough choices to plan for the future that have so paralyzed and divided American politics.
I absolutely feel that I have a second home in Berlin and I absolutely will be visiting again, if not living there, soon.