When Ana and I first started actually dating after the Camino and called it such we decided that we would travel back and forth a few times before deciding what to do next. My career isn’t exactly portable but visa situations in the US are less than ideal. Ana came to visit right away in July of 2017 for a week in which she inadvertently came during fourth of July and met my entire family right away. I then immediately booked a trip to Berlin in September of 2017 for a few weeks. I had never been to Berlin before but near the end of the first week I asked if there was some stuff to see. We did all of what I call “The greatest hits.” Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, parts of the wall, etc.
Ana then found an amazing deal for a flight in November and appeared in Oregon for about 10 days and we hung out around Portland in the rain and cold and while she was there I booked a flight to fly out of Portland on Dec. 27th to celebrate New years with her in Berlin. When I arrived this time, we were next level tourist sites and we booked a street art tour.
I fell in love with street art on that tour. It completely opened my mind to a different side of the city. We learned about different street artists and how they create their art and what to look for. At one corner, the tour guide stopped and pointed out a big clay elephant and said, “These are called Berger elephants. If you find a smaller one, you can have it. The guy who makes them has a disease that makes him not able to travel so he makes these little elephants for you to take all over the world and send back pictures.” I was entranced. I wanted to find, somewhere in the city, my elephant. For the entire January 2018 trip, Ana could tell I was searching. Every corner of art I looked for a little elephant. And then I returned to Portland. Ana flew out in March of 2018 to help me pack and get ready to move to Berlin in May of 2018.
I moved in May and have been here for 20ish months. The entire time I have been keeping my eyes peeled for my elephant. I have been pretty stealth about it. I haven’t gone on a specific treasure hunt but when I see a populated art location I keep my eyes wide open and look hard for a little elephant.
I started working with a new family a couple of weeks ago and much to my delight, when I crossed the street by the S-Bahn I saw one of the larger clay elephants, plastered to the wall. These larger ones are more permanent art, not too take but I was completely delighted to spot one out in the wild.
And on Friday of this week I found this guy on a random wall down the street from the larger elephant…..
I audibly squealed and raced to the little clay figure. It was on the wall with a bit of sticky tack and I picked it off the wall and looked it over. Sure enough there was the Berger signature but this elephant was missing an arm as you can see and some of its trunk has left its face. I held the elephant and it was pretty clear….this is not my elephant. But how fun to see it in the city! And because I wanted someone else to have such great delight I placed it on another spot for another lucky soul to find and maybe think, “it’s my elephant!”
Ana laughed when I told her and said, “I didn’t know you were still looking! You should have kept it! You have been looking for so long!”
But all I could say was…but this elephant wasn’t mine and surely I will find mine even if it takes me another 2 years.
Now, if you are jealous you can always go on the Berger elephant website and order your own or read the story for yourself….but for me, I will keep searching.
Berger Elephant link. 🙂