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Ten years


Ten years and a day ago I walked out of my sublet flat at the end of Lychener Straße and followed the slow meander of Kastanienallee past Hackescher Markt down Unter den Linden. There were balloons everywhere. I walked in a crowd through the Brandenburg Gate and as we passed beneath the lintel, one man said to another Zehn Jahre. I have seldom heard two words so freighted with meaning.

I walked through Mitte today, from Friedrichstraße to Pariser Platz, especially alive to the glossy office buildings and hotels that were once vacant lots and scruffy parks. Two days ago we moved, to a flat 300 meters from that one I lived in a decade ago. German friends tell me how much Berlin reminds them of London these days. Londoners might smile, but sitting in a glossy, anonymous cafe in Taubenstraße this afternoon, I glimpsed what they meant. Change in Berlin is an ancient story, one I feel hardly qualified to tell, but the past superimposed onto the present, home and the loss of home, a stabbing nostalgia, an urge to recollect, preoccupy me just now.


recollect, then. i would love to hear your story of change.

As someone relecting on changes, I can so relate to this, particularly in Berlin where the layers of the past are so visible. I want to save this spirit of Berlin, to preserve what makes it special and hope in 10 years' time it won't just have become the kind of metropole filled with chains and bland cafés I'm fleeing. Beautiful post - you say so much with so few words and capture the feel of this special place.

Jonquil, thank you for your invitation. I will!

Vanessa, your post a day showed how we're consumed with similar questions. Some of the homogenization happening here makes me shiver -- but we will see!

I just read this now and feel so the same. Is it the season? New York is long gone in this regard, which is very sad. Hope you enjoyed EFB--proposal for the new one is out as of this week. And the baby is three months old already. Life does move quickly...

EfB, I suppose it is the season. Early fall more than late December feels like the real end of the year. I shiver to think one day I might say Berlin is long gone too! Thank you for the comment, it reminds me of how much more there is to say.

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