Monday, September 29, 2008

danke shoen, darling danke shoen

I am back from a whirlwind weekend trip to Berlin for my good friend Andrea's wedding. It's crazy that it's easier (and cheaper) to travel to Germany from here on a 2-hour flight than it was to get from Atlanta to Houston in the states! I took Joanna, one of the young people from Fitzroy who is also close to Andrea, and we had a fantastic time. I went a little crazy taking pictures--I hope you enjoy them!

-Experiencing the joy of a German wedding as Andrea and Tilman got married. The reception lasted for hours and hours and was comprised of speeches, food every couple of hours, skits by friends of Andrea and Tilman, live music, a video made by the bride and groom and lots and lots of dancing. People take time celebrating in Germany, and instead of rushing through it, take the time to really honor the couple and what they have together.

-Andrea and I were good friends in Belfast when we both last lived here, and seeing her again was surreal and wonderful. It was so great to be a part of such a special day and to slip into our old patterns of humor after such a long time apart.

-Seeing Larissa again, who was also in Belfast when I was last here. Her, Joanna and I had the most fun exploring the city together, eating Haagen Dazs ice cream and dancing at the wedding.

-Rainbow-colored light splashing the walls with vibrant hues.

-A tiny Villeroy & Boch logo on the tiles of the subway. I have no idea why it was there, but think it might mean the tiles are made by them. I immediately thought of my Mother and Grandmother, who love Villeroy & Boch china. If they were with me, they might have tried to take a tile home with them! :)

-Walking the streets and playing on a huge water pump (which was thankfully dry).

-Going to Checkpoint Charlie and seeing remnants of the Berlin wall and art, stories and acts of bravery inspired by resistance against it.

-Reading amazing stories about courageous everyday people who resisted the division of Germany. One story was written above this bag explaining that a woman whose child was not permitted on her side of the wall smuggled him across in this actual bag covered with a cloth. The picture of the two of them smiling once they reached the other side taught me of how resisting division is a joyful act. Every picture of families using homemade hot air balloons, tunnels and crates to cross the wall showed people smiling brightly and facing daunting odds bravely because they were driven by love and family.

-The lovely sights of Berlin sweeping past me as I rode the train.

-Lovely domed buildings with warm sunlight shining on them.

-I always find that trees look differently in each country I've been to, and German trees have really dark, smooth trunks with shimmery sage green leaves. So beautiful.

-The ceiling of a church entrance covered in intricate and holy carvings.

-Seeing the famous gate of Berlin that used to be such a symbol of oppression and now has people freely flowing through it.

-Fall is in full bloom already in Berlin, and everywhere walls were adorned with bright leafy vines.
-A swirly and whimsical staircase with beautiful daffodils (I think) decorating it.

-It's wierd, but buildings actually seem taller in Berlin than anywhere I've been. I loved the layered walls with narrow paths between them.

-Going to a tiny Anne Frank museum that was hidden away down a graffiti-covered alley. It was painful to see the images and hear the stories, but so important.

-Seeing the first baby picture of Anne Frank.

-Looking at what I think is a facsimile of Anne Frank's diary. There is such power in words--especially hers.

-Reading old newspapers proclaiming the end of the Nazi regime and trying to understand the feeling they captured and the hugeness of that moment.

-Walking through bricked pathways with Joanna and looking at all of the lovely scarves and what is called "bric a brac" in Ireland. I ended up bartering with a man selling all sorts of random things in the street for a lovely little bright green wind-up clock. It's exactly what I was looking for, keeps perfect time, ticks soothingly and even says "made in Germany" in tiny print on the face.

-Shopping in a bead shop with Joanna and finding a gorgeous large sunflower bead which I had attached to a clasp to make it a pin for my coat. I also found a couple of beautiful beads for my friend Jessi who makes jewelry (you'll get them in a couple of weeks, Jessi!).


Jessi said...

I loved seeing all those pictures of your trip. My sister was just in L.A. and she took hundreds of pictures of nothingness but yours were so meaningful and had a true Spirit about them. Can't wait to get my beads! Miss you!

Rob J said...

Whit, Thank you so much! What a great blog entry!

Sarah said...

A great thing to look at on a Monday morning - enjoy yuour week (and get some rest!)

~lee~ said...

!bellissimo! Can't wait to come visit you...but rest assured I won't just drop in on you :0)

Karen Fleming said...

Love the pictures! You look so well and it is good to know you're right where you belong! Love & miss!

Sandra said...

Whitney, the pictures and text were so lovely and inspiring. I miss you terribly but am so glad you are there. Big hug & lots of love - Sandra