Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Last entry from Potsdam - returning home....

Thursday, August 20, 2009
I must have written in between but don’t even remember. But I thought I’d use the time before boarding in London back home to California. How easy it comes to me to call California home now. I went to the homeland with the intent to find an alternative home in a few years. We ex-pats certainly know that we don’t belong anywhere really -not in our chosen land nor in our original homeland. I think I wanted to find out more about my kind of belonging or where I would like to live part time once Daniel is settled and I am ready for my golden years. The truth is that no clarity has come to me right now but I do have to say that 8 weeks of travel make you aware of many things. For the first time I actually managed to take time to learn about German history, talk to local people from the former DDR are, read several books written by political prisoners to learn their suffering. Went to cities and towns that my American friends can only imagine what they look like. Architecture and buildings from 1173 that are original, Can you imagine looking at a stone that is so old. I also feel I finally understand the different architectural styles in churches, castles, mansions etc. How come they look all so different, who ordered them etc. Well – I think I finally can explain some of it. Just ask if you are interested J don’t want to push my new understanding on anyone.

Here a more practical update. After Daniel left and about 10 days alone in Potsdam my cousin came and we spent some good time together, sight seeing, cruising on the river – just lovely. Then I wasn my own and felt a crisis coming: alone, no exact plan. So I started working and that was not good for me. I felt pulled in and after receiving some good advice from Chi Ping I withdrew and just check for important stuff.c
I completely realized that I was falling into a unknown realm and thanks to my intuition I had brought the book by Eckhard Tolle “A New Earth” and started again reading about awareness, humanity etc. This – together with the wise words from Chi Ping – I was able to relax again and actually became aware of something about me that I had forgotten. What an awakening. Again – you can ask and I will tell but it is pretty personal.

After I woke up I spent days on the Heiliger See, swimming, reading a lot, watching naked people during the day and reading more in the evening after another stroll though town.
The rock Elebnisnacht in Potsdam was much fun but more entertainment came:
A friend in Munich who is Daniel’s roommates mom and is called Guadalupe from Bolivia introduced me to a business woman in Berlin. I call her Doris and it was one of these connections you have with few people. I remember having a similar experience with Louie DeBlanc in Eselan years ago and we are still friends. Anyhow, Doris is a true Berliner lady (in the true sense of natural elegance), smart, fun and full of energy. She showed me some treasures of the hidden Berlin terretories, near the former Mauer, on the river Spree, explained the different architecures, layouts of neighborhoods called “Kiez”, how Kreuzberg turned into little Instanbul with all the Turkish immigrnts and yet it becames kind of the hot spot for prominent film makers, musicions etc. Absolutely fascinating. Her consulting firm works with jobless people, training them etc. Very complex projects. We hit it off so well that she rearranged her schedule and I went to Berlin again and we spent another long evening with even more interesting sights. It was August 13 and those who remember 1961 it was the errection of the Wall. She took me to a neighborhood right where the former Wall was and we saw pictures taken by the Volkspolizei, the East German police. So they documented very well the flights of their own people, the watch towers, barbed wires. Unbelievable images.Then she took me to a beach on the river Spress. They put about 500 yards full of beach chairs, beach sand from Baltic right on the river Spree where they left a piece of the original wall still. So you sit there in the beach chair, touch the 3.5 m high wall and drink gin and tonic. In the middle of the river was the border and on the other side were the sharp shooters aiming at their own people. Again – to talk about this with a local person was very special.

I very much hope Doris will visit California – I think I peaked her interest. Maybe next year. She is very busy, a quite prominent person as I found out, but this kind of woman I would like to have in my life and introduce to my good friends in California and so give her the “California experience.

Not enough of this high light: the next one was the annual Schloessernacht in Potsdam.
This night the entire park Sans Soucis is turned into an ocean of elegant lights and each statue, pond, flowers, the many castle buildings are lit so perfectly. Then there are about 50 artists throughout the park. Many quartets playing Bach, Haendel, Mozart etc. but also ballet, little theaters and individual flutists . It was the perfect night, warm, dry and just wonderful. I was with Annette and her husband and so we wandered at least 10 miles that night, sat, drank wine, ate here and there and listened to great music. Transport was a bit of an issue and took long to get home. I think the organizers didn’t want to deal with people to get home. That part was very strange but the event was just perfect.
The finale was fireworks that would have your heart jump. Classical music with the most amazing display. The best firework I have ever seen.

After a few more days of TLC in Luebeck with my cousin, a wonderful dip in the Ratzeburger See and the Baltic, a day trip with Annette’s mom to Travemuende and a great trip back I am in my own house again.
The family Chen took good care of Nina and I am very grateful to my house mate Hamid and my neighbors, the Sciortino’s, to help with Nina’s care and give me the comfort that someone cares.

Paula picked me up and my first desire was a large bowl of pho soup in Mountain View.
Now parties and re-connecting with you guys will be fun.

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