As I sit here thinking of what to write so many ideas swirl through my brain and while some will expand into a full post there are some that just pop up and out and around and perhaps they are helpful or just part of the whole….
1. A week ago from today I finished a level of German language course. A week ago from today I finished A2.1 and felt as though I really accomplished something. My comprehension of German has grown leaps and bounds and my vocab is expanding. My speaking is still pretty juvenile but I try more and more. I am not as afraid to make mistakes and at least try here and there a little bit. I was so excited that I signed up for the very next section. For sure, I thought it would include some from my class and I was assured it was the same instructor…both false promises. But I went to lunch to celebrate with my fellow classmates and enjoyed the satisfaction of accomplishing this thing in my first few months, investing in this place. Learning a language is investment in this time and place.
2. As I was walking to school last Wednesday I had just been told I couldn’t be the extra I thought I could be in a film in Berlin. I signed up on a website and thought it would be a fun way to make a few Euros but in saying yes I discovered I don’t have the right permit to even work for a small unimportant part (woman walking across park). I couldn’t talk my way out of it. I tried to say I could invoice them instead and be a freelancer. Couldn’t be. And as I walked to school I realized that I don’t know the systems like I know my own and for one of the few times in my life there was something I wanted to do and I was able to do it but because of this rule I couldn’t do it and I couldn’t talk my way into or find another way. The answer was just….no. Pure and simple. There is a new appreciation of the role of the immigrant from this perspective. In this place, there are extra rule imposed on me that I really can’t push against and why would I but this puts me in a weird spot. I am narrowed into a field to make money to become self sufficient and what makes sense in “just finding a job” is not really possible. Huh.
3. I walked to school the next day to start A2.2 and walked away extremely disappointed at this experience. I will give it another shot on Monday, I thought. This will get better. Time to call together some wisdom just in case this won’t work.
4. Monday…it didn’t work. For many reasons, it didn’t work. I cancelled my spot in my class and not because I don’t want to learn. I want to invest more. I want to learn but now I need to get creative and if it doesn’t work this month it will work a different month but again, I am deciding how this will affect me now in this place. Something out of my control and I made the right choice for me but now what.
5. Friends from Oregon came this weekend and what a joy to show them some of my life here! We had a great time and wandered around the neighborhood. We went the bar I have been wanting to try and did a few touristy things. We ate some German food, rare in Berlin, and ate some other tasty things. We drank wine and talked lots and schemed about the future and it was good to have them, mixing spaces and worlds. They got to be on holiday and I got to say I can show them around.
6. We went to Mauer Park on Sunday. On Sundays a huge flea market takes place here with all sorts of food stands, plant stands, creative wares, and street musicians. We watched street musicians play and then tell us that street art is being threatened in this place. He says to us, “Mauer park is like church for so many on Sunday. It is a way to gain energy for the week that is Babylon.” And my mind reels from this theology…can this be church? What is the week that it holds Babylon? What is dry and desolate in the week? Music indeed fills us and enlivens us for what is to come. That is still working on my brain.
7. Yesterday these same friends and I saw the East Side Gallery, first time for them and the many-th time for me. It is one of my favorite spots in Berlin. I love that art covers this Wall that divided and hurt and now spreads messages and fosters the creative soul rather than hinders it. I see something new each and every time. We walked and walked and then walked some more and it was good to just be out and about. We walked through the Turkish market and marveled at the walnuts and Turkish delight and walked some more.
8. Today is a day to work from a coffee shop and hang out and just enjoy what is. More to come soon. 🙂