From way up high

For our first Christmas together in 2017, Ana gave me a lovely card and inside was a voucher for a hot air balloon ride. It is a pretty touristy endeavor here in Berlin. It is for this balloon that goes straight up in the middle of one of the most touristy spots in Mitte. It is huge and we have seen it from afar. I was completely delighted for this gift. Obviously we couldn’t use it in December but I knew I could hold onto it until a better weather day. When I moved here to Berlin in May of 2018, I was eager to get up into that balloon but every time we checked to see if the balloon was flying it seemed to be too windy, too cold, too full of weather and the balloon wasn’t going up. We kept forgetting about our voucher. We would remember every once in a while on a free day and both look up….hot air balloon day? And we would rush to the computer or phone to discover it wasn’t flying that day either. This happened again and again but last week at the end of our Staycation I yelled out, “Balloon!” I rushed to my computer to see that YES IT WAS FLYING! Let’s go!

We headed out the door to finally retrieve our long awaited ride just a bit later than planned. I have seen the tourists line up for this ride as well and what a better time to go up than now when tourism is at an all time low in Berlin. This could actually work!

We made our way to the stand and cashed in our voucher and went to the waiting area. The balloon would go up, we would get 15ish minutes up there, way up high, and then mosey back down to the earth. We started to get a little nervous but also, it was a huge balloon. This was going to be great.

Our time came. The balloon can hold up to like 30 people and there were four of us for this moment’s ride. We all four climbed on board and had plenty of room to walk around and up we went. Up up up up….Ana and I breathing in the new air as we went up. Later, when we saw the balloon from afar we could see the sway but from up there it felt as though we were just gliding and finding our spot. Once we got to the place we would reside for the next 15-20 minutes both Ana and I had big smiles. This was incredible. We could see all around Berlin. The balloon slightly continued to turn with the wind so our perspective shifted a little each moment. Ana and I pointed out different landmarks to one another and looked amazed at the city before us. We pointed the direction of our home and the beauty of the day. I chatted with the guy in charge of the balloon and he commented on how he actually enjoyed these smaller rides so he could point things out to us as well. The weather was perfect.

After our time the balloon gradually descended back down to the ground and we, in our new wobbly states, ventured back off to solid ground. We ooohed and aawwwed all the way off of the balloon and as the next few people went on for their ride.

We couldn’t help but just look up the moment we were all the way down. What had we just seen and experienced?

We had shifted our perspective to way up there. We had seen a birds eye view of the city around us and the orientation of ourselves within the city. It was clear and bright and lovely from up there.

Lately when I have been getting really stressed and overwhelmed and exhausted by the world I have been taking a deep breath and thinking about it from up there. A former partner of mine used to say, “Take a moment to zoom out” if I was getting overwhelmed or over busy in my day to day life. I tend to make lists and think ahead way too much at times. I try to think through things that still need time, patience, and a better understanding. For example, right now I am constantly thinking about how to navigate Christmas. We have tickets to fly to Portland but will Ana get to come into the country? Even if we could, should we? If I do fly to Portland, what kind of trip will that end up being? If I don’t fly to Portland, how will Christmas be over here? And I am constantly reminded that this kind of decision still needs time. Our world is shifting in unexpected ways and we can’t know what is best yet. We will need to zoom out here and there to figure out the best solution…perhaps even from a hot air balloon perspective.

Way up high the rest of it didn’t matter as well. It made us live in that moment at that particular time.

What is doing that for you today? What are you seeing from way up high? What would you like to see?

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