Everything You Never Knew You Wanted to Know About Berlin
2012 has been a long year – the length of a year being measured by the number of memorable events.
I have plenty to be happy about and equally a lot to re-consider. Still, the total bill seems to be in plus. Here are some of the things that made that year particularly special, presented in no special or significant order. In their ow way they were all special and significant all right:)
Meeting Peter and Ute
On October 1st I met my most faithful reader and his wonderful wife who came to visit their home city all the way from Down Under.
Peter having been born & bred in Kreuzberg is a source of information and inspiration as well as a brilliant writer himself (you can read his great posts on berlioz1935.wordpress.com).
I felt very honoured and terribly moved to have been able to accompany them on their walk through Viktoria Park where Peter – born in 1935 – played as a child and where he and his Mum went hiding in the bunkers during the WW2 air-raids.
As for Peter and Ute, their sense of humour, their warmth and – something that you immediately see – how happy those two still are with each other after many years and many ups and downs, made me smile and laugh so much that in the evening I needed a triple amount of my wrinkle cream to make my face unfold again.
I actually could not write about this meeting for a while – I did not know how. Some things are so special and so significant, it is all too easy to tell the story in the wrong way.
Anyway, it was THE highlight of my year. And for this event of 2012 I am immensely grateful. Kreuzberg greets Australia!
Flickr It or Guess Where Berlin
In more less April I joined an online group on Flickr called Guess Where Berlin aka GWB. Its members post photos online that were made somewhere in Berlin and the other members are supposed to guess the location.
I admit it: I got literally addicted to it. As my maths teacher rightly predicted, I never became an even passably good clerk at the local post office (here I should like to greet my maths teacher and if you pardon my French, say the only thing in Danish that I know: op i røven!). But I do have pretty good visual memory so GWB group was a treat.
Here I also met lots of fantastically interesting people: some of them astoundingly knowledgeable about the whole of Berlin, some of them specialising in one field (Wedding, Kreuzberg – that would be me – bridges or the highlights of local architecture), some of them mad and some of them all three at once.
At the moment I have neither time nor to be honest energy to continue guessing but I shall return. Latest when the first rays of spring hit Landwehrkanal in Kreuzberg. Or when I have slept more than what feels now like 15 minutes in a row.
Working Girl at Technik Museum
It is not much – I am not running the place (yet!:), rather running around it making sure the visitors do not get lost or nick the DRB Class 50 when nobody´s looking – but the museum is my absolute favourite among Berlin museums and to be able to roam it before and after the regular visitors come, to have those wonderful all trains, planes and automobiles all to myself even for not more than five minutes is a treat.
And I am now officially a member of a pretty cool team full not only of a plethora of different nationalities but also life stories and professions. Working the cloakroom on a day like yesterday when the whole of Berlin (plus several neighbouring countries) seemed to have developed sudden taste for the history of technology is not easy. But when you do it in the company of an artist – in this case a real painter – who not only speaks English as if she spent 87% of her young life in Cleveland but who also has a sense of humour that would make Groucho Marx consider himself a boring old fart, schlepping 756473698675 coats, bags and jackets to and fro for hours at an end seems like a holiday (a busy holiday…)
Ozzie Goes to School
In August my oldest son joined the ranks of primary school pupils. His enthusiasm might have waned a bit by now but the progress he makes makes Mummy and Daddy puff out their chests proudly and think the boy has it.
By the way, the very first thing I heard him read was the name of one of the German football national team players. Daddy´s chest was puffed out proudly a couple of centimetres more.
Trigger Happy or The Wondrous World of Photography
Thanks to this blog and my participation in GWB on Flickr I developed a great taste for pictures.
Until recently I was more of a looker – even though my father taught me the basics of the trade at a pretty early stage in my life (including the art of developing the film and making prints). Now I want to learn all that properly with both digital and analogue photography.
In this I shall rely on my trustworthy Lumix FZ45 (I ain´t good enough to get a better one yet and to be honest I ain´t so picky either) and on my lovely Vivian – a twin lens reflex or TLR Rolleiflex 3.5 – which I bought as an incredible bargain. Which makes Vivian another highlight of my year:)
Up And Away With U1
For most of 2012 – not including family life – if I was not sitting at home at my desk and was not busy bringing my lovely offspring to and from school and /or kindergarden, you could easily find me under or next to the U1 line in Kreuzberg or Schöneberg (yes, I did make it that far:)
U1 is a wonder: it is a beauty and the beast in one. There is nothing about it that I would not find amazing, even Kottbusser Tor Station which could do with a bit of re-touch (or rather its surroundings should be re-touched and heavily so).
I could listen to the sound the trains make when after leaving Gleisdreieck they are emerging from the passage between the two houses between Trebbiner and Luckenwalderstrasse every day. And now that I work at Technik Museum in Trebbiner Strasse I actually do. That´s one good thing leading to another for you.
The Blogging Lady
This blog and its readers have been the most important thing for me this year. At times even my family suffered because of the way I tend to plunge into my little (but damn deep:) researching-and-writing pond and do not re-surface for a while.
When I am held back from tending to this patch for more than a day I get restless. There is so much about Kreuzberg that I don´t know but wish to learn. So I follow the advice of the wise. Benjamin Disraeli said once: “The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it.”
So the blog is just the beginning:)
AND HAVING SAID ALL THAT, I WISH YOU ALL A VERY HAPPY AND EVENTFUL 2013 – MAY THE WORLD KEEP ROLLING CALMING FORWARD WITHOUT BUMPY SURPRISES ON THE WAY!