The immigration line stretched to meet me at row 35 on the 767-200. A strong arm could toss a tennis ball beyond the width of TXL's international wing. Elbowing through the Red Rover chain that was a Canadian tour group, bags launched to my shoulders and bolted for fresh air.
The weather did not mirror the excitement and pleasure of the first day and week to come. Berlin was about to agree with us.
I immediately employed my limited German to interact with multiple bus and taxi drivers who appeared miserable with their lives. Butchered 'danke's and 'bitte's soon paired with curtsies and exaggerated pleasantries. Three months is a long time to suffer daily angst from miscommunication.
Students arrived and assimilated, and the snowball started rolling, gaining unshakable width. My right arm quivered under the heft of a Canon.
Rare disorientation, often the product of group travel, made me a slave to GPS, moving like a duckling. Nights in the city spurred on emotive gushing; once again we're individuals displaced and building community like modge podge that dents in transit, further evidence that humans need connection. We run from one to another obligation.
Ein Bier, bitte, and Haribo Bären; new habits are quickly forming under a ridiculous guise of cultural immersion.
I left the flowery trees of Indiana to find buds of the most delicate green across the pond. The contrast doesn't have to be stark for time travel to make eyes pop open. My body asserts the need for a range of clothing, to shelter from the temperate climate I associate with normalcy.
White walls tall with character and comfort and Ikea now house all revelry and focus. In this vacuum, I crank experience into content.
I suck chaos and uncertainty out of the daily equation, letting three locks and 4km create a void to be filled by me. Right now. And when I reach a capacity that signals others to sigh for the day, a bike and a lake and reflective outlets become not only excusable, cushions for my human frailty.
Like a sheet of sugar glass my back crunches from its office chair history, but this output is what justifies the means.
It's not the typical unwelcome vacuum this time but an unconventional lifestyle in context; I know others exist and uncommon moments occur. Still, relative pain and conflict splatter over what pleases me, removed from comparison. And maybe I haven't yet reached the age for anxiety that this isn't the way to be, which makes me anxious.
I see that 3/4ths of my thinking is committed to the active pursuit of sustainable humanity: live music, organic experience, bubble-popping, connections.
There has been a shift in balance toward a very likable center.