On Tuesday 11th June, after a night of thunderstorms, I woke up early, had a tea and a coffee (I once started having both in the hope that one day I’d switch to just tea, but now I’m telling myself it’s good to get lots of fluids in the morning), packed my stuff, dressed much warmer than Berlin’s 25 degrees would allow, and went to the airport.
Berlin Schönefeld used to be my in-between stop when I went home from London. It felt odd to have it be the place I now leave from to go on holiday, but everything felt odd yesterday.
I arrived at 11am, and because my Airbnb wouldn’t check me in before 4pm, I had some time to kill. From King’s Cross station I walked past tourists to the Wellcome Gallery, one of my safe havens in this city. After I saw some live magic in their current exhibition and had wandered through the bookshop, I took the tube back to my old area, had coffee at my former favourite café, and checked into my Airbnb. I hadn’t made any plans, so my evening was spent wondering if I should go see a movie, deciding not to, and spending some money on books instead.
And I realised: while it feels like I’ve been gone forever, I really haven’t. I settled into my old routines like nothing, walked into the old shops like nothing, no emotions attached to any building, place, street or shop other than the ‘ugh’ that had become the undertone for most of my days before I left.
I will spend the next few days seeking out people and places I know I love, and have the best time I can have. But I didn’t miss London. I still don’t, and that’s a powerful confirmation to have after several months of hard work in Berlin. I’m on the right path, and the next few days will be a welcome break from that.