European log 002: Berlin

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I just woke up in a sea of my two cowl scarves on a train in the middle of the German country side. Completely delirious, sleep deprived, and dealing with a butt cramp and a uterus that seems to be mimicking the gates of hell.

Berlin is over and Paris is somewhere between wherever here is and wherever there might be.

I sit here as Liz folds herself over and over again in her seat to gain a little more sleep before a train change in about an hour. I’ve opted to write insanities and my reflection on the German city we just spent ten days in instead.

Seems like the logical thing when your brain has no filter right?

Berlin took a bit to warm up to, it’s a hard city filled with graffiti, remnants of intense political history, and beer bottles literally everywhere. Smoking is a normality and the mere thought of a health risk is looked upon with a scoff only the Germans could pull off. It’s got a sense of rebellious freedom that reminds you that this city was once, not long ago, under war with itself.

On our second day we were taken to a party in a building of what seemed like a industrial highway. We got up to the spray painted metal doors being causally guarded by a man that looked like he fought bears for fun. He explained quickly that we would be searched and what to expect. I could here the booming of deep electronic music coming from inside. The walls were dirty, there was smoke billowing in every direction, and I began wondering what the fuck I was about to experience.

We turned the corner and I was immediately hit with scenes from True Detective when they sneak into that underground biker gang party. Only instead of bikers picture drugged out gay guys in every kind of outfit you could imagine. Bondage, drag, punk, metal, goth, and the infamous vogue look.

Needless to say I sat on a bench and chained smoked while wondering if Berlin was going to be this every night. I partied really hard when I was younger, I’ve done the drug scene, I’ve done the 24 hour partying. I was not about to revisit those days of bug eyed drug glory thinking I was Queen of the world while discussing the universe with my friend naked in a bath tub.

It didn’t end up being that at all and Liz and I realized it on day three when we were met with a relaxing market day and outdoor karaoke. Our lovely host Benji, originally from France, took good care of us. We got the whole spectrum of living in Berlin and the social history and culture of its mid twenty year olds.

What can I say I learned on this trip so far?

I’m really fucking good at adapting and as long as I’m experiencing true life and not dealing with dramatic idiocies I’m unstoppable. There have been moments where I’ve had to remind myself of patience, I’ve had to remind myself of honesty and that everything does indeed happen for a reason.

I’m not a complainer and therefore it’s pretty easy to bring me anywhere. I’ve adapted to eating mainly vegetarian and vegan as my travel companion is pretty strict on her diet. I’ve embraced the concept of couch surfing which has turned out to be an incredible aspect of this trip. I’ve learned to leave my ego at the door and except help when I really needed it even if I fought hard not to admit it. Most of all though I’ve been very good at knowing my limitations and when to give myself time, space, and rest.

If I didn’t learn the last three things I think this trip would have lost it’s lustre back in Holland. I’m not about to run myself into the ground because I’m in Europe and feel the need to see everything.

I’ll see what I’m meant to see and above anything this is a vacation which should be little to no stress involved. I’ve certainly have had to remind myself of that a few times. I don’t think I’ve properly given myself a vacation in the last two years so it’s been strange to not have to worry about much. Our main concern most days is where to buy cheap wine and how many bizarre and hilarious tinder matches Liz can get.

It’s been interesting seeing our different lifestyles collide and run parallel throughout this trip. We are both incredibly different but in the same way have so many similarities. I’m a house cat that needs my down time, I need to reflect and I move at a calm slow pace most of the time. Liz is an ally cat, she’s needs the night life and sometimes I feel like I can actually feel her brain moving at the speed of light. It’s something that works both ways and we both, luckily, have the loving eyes to see that in each other.

Don’t get me wrong there have been times when we’ve needed to get away from each other, there’s been times where feelings have been hurt, and there have been times of different prerogatives. I’ve just realized we are both strong enough women to handle balancing our independent qualities with teamwork.

Paris is our next and final stop on this 26 day adventure and I’m excited to sit on my little balcony and get incredibly day drunk. I’m excited to go for long walks on my own and have a latte by the river. This is last blast of relaxation. The last thing I want to do is stand in a cue to watch a bunch of Asian tourist snap photos of a less than impressive Mona Lisa.

Seriously she’s like the size of a fucking postcard…

I want to get lost on cobblestone streets and get yelled at by an old Parisian woman for no apparent reason. I want to witness men peeing into sewer grates and whistling at the beautiful women riding their bikes dressed better than any Toronto Fashion Week attendee.

And then I want to go home, back to the job I love, back to the amazing friends and family I have. I want to go back with ease and harness the inspiration I’ve obtained from this trip. I can’t wait to go back to a relationship that has only become stronger during my time here. I’m ready to take my career to the next step and reach a new level of focus.

This trip has been everything I could have asked for and it’s rewarding to know that it’ll always be apart of my life and my story. Travel is now a big part of my life and a very important one. I plan on doing it as much as possible in the next coming years.

That’s a promise I’ve made to myself.

With that I’m off to catch another train across the Parisian country side and to hopefully stretch out my butt cramp.

Thanks for reading lovelies

Tunes (listened to this whole record while on the train strongly recommended)

Vance Joy – Mess is Mine
Vance Joy – Georgia
Vance Joy – My Kind of Man
Vance Joy – Wasted Time

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