I dated a German guy once.
Those who are close to me will know when and how it happened. Ever since my short entanglement with M, my ideal guy has shifted from one check list to that of Germanic form. This check-list is full of whimsical ideals and instant gratifications – unrealistic, fantastical and remote all thrown into a big bowl of unmet dreams.
Berlin reminds me of him. And no, he is not a Berliner, if you are wondering. When I revisit Berlin in my mind, I think of him and the wintry weather, unwilling to leave in the beginning of summer. Germany is a touchy-topic for me. I was obsessed with Fascist Germany when I was young; I ingested all things related to Nazism and the Holocaust. In my imagination, Berlin is a face of both despair and desolation. I didn’t expect the vibrant city with its flailing arms desiring to take off despite its wingless state. Berlin is two-faced, multiple faced, countless faces of identities which seem to merge, diverge and convolute into one big melting pot which is thriving despite its relatively young (well, 20 years) rebirth of democracy.
I fell in love with her museum island (heavily biased since I am a sucker for museums) and beer (oh, god the beer – but actually beer in Europe is just, orgasmic); her S and U-Bahn was a wonderland and for the first time ever, I felt short amidst the giants in the form of long legs with springy steps and big hands. With the Berlin pass secured in my bag, I perused Berlin with an eagerness which seemed unfair to Amsterdam and Belgium.
I skipped all the Holocaust memorial and concentration camps (even Berlin Wall) though. My excuse was that I have learnt everything I needed to learn about them. Secretly, I knew my marshmallow heart would not be able to cope with this revisit into the dark past of Germany. Even the Berlin Wall would just remind me of lost causes and people of lost decades, unjustified by political circumstance surrounding them. Instead, I entertained myself with sites like the Brandenburg Gate, Reichstag Building, Alexanderplatz, Potsdamer Platz (what cartoony-sounding names they have)and the Berlin Cathedral. Names like Topography of Terror was evaded with precision. I wanted nothing to do with terror.
I spent my five days there in museums, fearing I could never finish perusing them (I was wrong). Having tried Currywurst, German Sausages and schnitzel – I still do not like pork and could only swallow them half-heartedly while disgust grew in the pit of my stomach. At the end of it all, I left Berlin with renewed vigor and an even more stern dedication to browse through the pages of Europe – what my mummy dearest saw twenty years ago, I was intent on re-seeing them.