Pt. 5: Graduation Goggles.
Graduation goggles is the nostalgic feeling one has about a time or someone in their life when it is about to end, even if the time was completely miserable. My time in Berlin has definitely had some low points but all-in-all it has been far from misery. One thing is for sure, however, and that is the fact it’s all coming to an end.
It still doesn’t feel real that four years have flown by as fast as they have. It’s a blip in time for the grand scheme of my life and yet I know I will forever look back on these as some of my most transformative experiences. I cannot imagine my life without meeting the people I now have in it, and even though I know it’s time for a new chapter, I have truly found my tribe. These friendships have challenged me with a new level of platonic intimacy that comes from having having each others back when you really fucking need it. As I’m packing up a life I’ve worked so hard to build, it’s hitting me how simultaneously incredible and heartbreaking it is to have souls that touch yours so deeply, so spread around the world.
My feelings about Berlin are about as transient as the city itself. With people constantly coming and going, daylight fleeting and stretching, happiness and depression fluctuating, it’s no wonder Berlin takes a toll on most people’s mental health. Saturday nights can vary between slumber to sex parties, and it’s been a balancing act splitting my time between Deutsch, design and debauchery.
Some days it feels like a toxic relationship when it hurts you again and again and yet you just can’t seem to give it up. The thought of enduring another winter here makes my stomach drop and yet all it takes is one good day. One kind interaction. One sliver of sunshine and I’m immediately transported to eating Pistazie Eis by Tempelhofer Feld or that day cycling by the lakes or that time by the ping pong tables we laughed so hard my abs still ache from the muscle memory.
These bursts of intense delight and contentment are the reason it’s been so hard to accept that this isn’t my “forever place” and realise that my body has been in a constant state of fight-or-flight mode. My German is still embarrassingly average and I’m exhausted from trying to adult with the added layer of language-barrier anxiety.
“Just get a German boyfriend,” says every man, dog and open relationship. Despite the annoying assumption that this would solve the problem, there are fewer things as overly romanticised as falling in love with a foreigner. Unsexy opinion, but even the best relationships require a lot of work and the reality of dating someone from another culture is a lot more complex than arguing over whether a Vegemite-cheese toastie or Döner is a better drunk snack. I’m not saying it can’t be done, but I am saying it is absolutely glamorised as a solution and not a series of more complications. For the record, Vegemite-cheese toastie FTW.
It’s no secret that Berlin is Never Never Land full of Peter Pans who don’t want to grow up. It’s why so many people fly here and fall unequivocally in love with a world that appears as though you can be whoever you want. Being Wendy has been fun and although I’m not ready to grow up, I am definitely ready to grow into what’s next. Whatever that might be.
I am overwhelmed by so many emotions I can’t justly express in this one blog post. To have lived here and experienced the world through a new and exciting lens is something I will be forever grateful for, along with the next few days filled with hugs, tears, drinks and dancing, with some of my most favourite people in the world.
Of all the things I’ve found Berlin bound, this I know is most true: Berlin it’s not you, it’s me. I love you and I’m going to fucking miss you.
Sep 22, 2018