travelogue: berlin

cycling home from boxing, we stopped to pose at brandenburg gate

HOLY CATS.  my two weeks in berlin are in the running for the happiest i’ve ever been in my life, ever.  staying with rose was just the best thing.  we were roommates back when (2003-2004 in edmonton), but most of our friendship has been long distance.  visiting rose was one of the main reasons i decided to take a trip to europe, actually, because i really missed her.

so, holy shit. epic whirlwind of fun ensued!  two blissful weeks of laughing ourselves to sleep (in a tree fort, no less!), watching qi and videos of slugs having sex, cooking together, emasculating men, punching things, and generally having all the fun one could expect to have with their platonic life partner.  if only she was gay!! i swear, i would treat her SO GOOD (that is for you, rose, cause i know you will read this)!

we went to schlachtensee, walked around a few lakes, ate ice cream, fed house sparrows from our hands, and then i rowed her around a lake while yelling out lyrics from rifle burs.  then we made a delicious supper together.  best date ever, right?

we played videogames in a double-decker bus that’s also a bar.  we tried to get into spreepark.   we ate metric tonnes of stracciatella yogurt with fruit and wheels of brie.    we stayed out till 4 am, listening to musicians in the ubahn station.  we climbed up to the roof of her building, through the attic, which looked like the set for a horror movie.  we dressed like bombshells.  we cuddled up on the couch and were internet nerds together.  we laid in bed reading together.  rose gave me incredible tours, like taking me to see her favourite statue, and a tree she loves.

rose’s favourite statue. so powerful!!

we had the perfect berlin sunday, which involves a giant brunch, fleamarkets in fredrichshaim and mauerpark, getting lost and asking a goth couple in their 50s for directions, walking through a dust cloud of chicken feathers and glitter, pho for supper, having dudes yell ‘SUP!, drinking caprinhas, then snuggling up on the couch together and being internet nerds.

last summer, when rose and i had a brief meet-up here in vancouver, we talked about happiness.  we were both coming out of really long and unhappy relationships and needed something more.  i’m paraphrasing, of course, but rose said something that really stuck with me:  for even a month of complete bliss, wouldn’t all the shit be worth it?  meaning, all the shit, the sadness and loneliness that can sometimes come with being single when all your friends are in/chasing after relationships.

berlin was a great city.  so bike friendly, full of great food and beautiful murals and really interesting things to do.  and, i should be fair.  i didn’t only spend time with rose: i enoyed the company of others, too.  i met my flickr friend christian, reconnected with my vancouver friend molly, and met a bunch of other wonderful folks!  but god damn,  the overwhelming feeling of bliss was the absolute best part.

catching some rays with christian and rose

yes, i just got a joni mitchell tattoo

Blue songs are like tattoos
You know I’ve been to sea before
Crown and anchor me
Or let me sail away

ten years ago, when i first moved out on my own,  i fell in love with the album ‘blue’.   it felt like i listened to it on repeat for the entire summer.   even now when i listen to it, little feelings float up.  how great that first taste of freedom was–to be in my own home, beholden to no one else.  able to dance in my underwear or make a  grilled cheese at midnight or stay out till 4 am with my friends.  to have a small space to call my own.  how great it felt to work and pay for everything myself!
a few years later, the crown & anchor appeared in my head as a tattoo design, but i saved it until the time was right.   flash forward to now and it fits perfectly with my ocean-themed right arm!
this piece, though relatively small, took four hours!  the artist, alex at craftz tattoo here in berlin, has a very different tattooing style than i’ve ever encountered.  the four hours was completely worth it though; his attention to detail paid off and i have an incredibly beautiful new piece.