July 15, 2012 1 Comment
Well, it’s about that time. I’ve got my boarding passes printed out, my bags … ready to be packed, and my very successful going-away party taking its toll. And so I’ll take a moment to reflect back on my year in Berlin.
In short, it’s been a hell of a year. Work-wise, I’m honestly a little surprised at how productive I’ve been. I’ve written 61 stories and posts for 11 publications, including The New Republic, Foreign Policy, Slate, The American Prospect, Monocle, Der Spiegel, die tageszeitung, Handelsblatt, and, most frequently, the Los Angeles Times. I’ve covered everything from nuclear power to the euro crisis, from museums to the topless girl on page one of the Bild tabloid. In the process, I’ve probably learned more than in any other year of my adult life.
My reporting has taken me to Dresden, Leipzig, Hamburg, Erfurt, Brandenburg, Düsseldorf, and the tiny village of Kleinensiel. And my leisure travels (thanks, Easyjet) have seen me off to Amsterdam, Barcelona, Brussels, Bruges, Luxembourg, Marrakech, Budapest, London, Warsaw, Krakow, and the Dalmatian coast of Croatia.
Here are a few things I’ll miss about Berlin:
An abundance of cozy, pleasant, cheap, not-crowded cafes
An abundance of cozy, pleasant, cheap, not-crowded bars
An abundance of outdoor seating at both of the above
Lakes and parks all over
The absence of dire poverty and homelessness
Bike lanes, bike-aware drivers, flat terrain
Remaining ignorant of internet memes like Call Me Maybe and bath salts (seriously, can someone explain these to me?)
The weird respect with which journalists are treated, and the access I’ve had to big shots
The adventure of everyday life in a foreign language
And a few things I’m looking forward to in DC:
Tap water. Served to me, and then refilled, without my even asking. Heaven.
Logically shaped toilets
Jaywalking with impunity
Standing while peeing, with impunity
Bagels (OK, maybe not DC’s strongest suit either)
A proper variety of breakfast cereals
The comfort of everyday life in my native tongue
All the people I’ve been missing to death
Before I go, I want to thank you all for reading this humble little blog. It’s just a scattered, irregular collection of my thoughts and experiences, but you all have visited it more than 10,000 times. That’s a little insane. You’re the best. Really.
And now I’ll sign off with a few of the lingering images this year has left me with: