Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Berlin. Intro

It's been two weeks since I came back home. But I'm still seriously love sick about the city of Berlin. Good god, I love you Berlin. Why are you so magical? I'm definitely going back next year for Pictoplasma (a character conference in Berlin). I absolutely adore Toronto. I feel safe and comfortable walking through the gray city of Toronto. I fucking love being invisible here (says the girl who carries around an owl-shaped bag). It's very rare for me to actually contemplate moving out of my beloved Toronto. Yet, I want to move to Berlin for a bit. Berlin was that good. I guess it was the East side of the Berlin that I fell for. I don't think I've spent much time on the West. I stayed in Mitte area. Everything was in development and anything could happen. It's been over 20 years since the Berlin wall fell, but you could still feel the Communist past - maybe it's the traffic lights with Stasi symbols. Maybe it's the lack of sky scrapers. Now it's a totally hip and cool area with contemporary galleries and interesting shops. Under the construction scaffolding of a very old building, raves happen at night.
Traffic lights with stasi symbols.
Another thing I love about it is that it's a 24-hour city. What an exciting place for a night-owl like me. There are decent coffee shops and clean bars that open all night, especially on the weekends. Not that I party at all. I'd work well into 4AM and sometimes I want to get outside and walk around. By that point, nothing is open, and there is nobody on the streets of Toronto. In Berlin, I could sit in a cafe, order a cup of fresh mint tea, and watch people while drawing. Well, maybe not at 4AM, but at least until midnight. The city is young, and I felt comfortable in the company of strangers.

Speaking of company, I don't know if I will ever travel alone again, ever. Another reason I was in love with Berlin was because it was the least loneliest travel I remember. I have always traveled alone (not by choice. Stars never line up). Sometimes I travel because I want to be alone. And after a while, it's comfortable being alone. I started to enjoy people saying, 'did you really come alone, ALONE? REALLY??' Yeah, man. I'm a badass. But actually no. I usually feel like crying for the first two days in a new city. Sit in a bed, not wanting to go out and feel the profound numbness. Then I start to enjoy myself only on the third day. But Berlin was not like that. It did not leave me alone. I was very busy meeting people. I had to meet up with friends, friends' friends, ex-coworkers, ex-coworker's friends, etc.etc. It was sort of like visiting Seoul, Korea; I initially expect a lonely travel, but end up being busy saying hello to all the relatives and friend's friends. I loved to be around people all the time. I never knew it was so much fun to be other people's company during travels. I cannot thank people enough for keeping me company. I know it's a traveler's luxury. People are not so generous with their time if they know I'll be living near them. I don't think I ever want to travel alone again.

It was funny that everyone treated me like I was going away for a very long time although it was a very short travel. I wasn't even thinking of it as a travel. I was there for work; to attend Pictoplasma conference and meet up with potential clients (everywhere I go is work to me. Experience new things, get inspired, look at art, find clients, etc.). But within such a short travel, I came back a little different person, my 2.5 year relationship has ended, and things shifted.

Oh wow, that is a very long and boring intro. But you all know that writing is not my strongest suite. I have a very bad memory and things are already hazy. So I wanted to leave some sort of record. Capture my fleeting, grainy thoughts. I didn't even have time to draw much in Berlin. Here is my complete travel log.

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