When I arrived late Saturday night to the Haupbanhauf Station in Berlin it was almost as I had remembered it but that was why it wasn’t the same as the first time I came, I already met this place, albeit briefly.
I took a cab to my hotel since I hadn’t been feeling so great. It could have been the Ritz and I wouldn’t have noticed all I cared, I was in such need of rest that I sleepwalked through the first impressions. When I woke in the morning and went down for breakfast I pushed past it then too. But after my jam and bread, coffee and orange juice, and out of place hard boiled egg I finally met the Sickinger Hof Hotel where I would be staying until I found an apartment.
A friend once told me he and his family had to live in a hotel for a while when he was a kid; he talked about it with this sort of unfinished face about it like even after all these years he still didn’t know how that had made him feel. Seeing that face had made me instantly regret envying him.
At the Sickinger Hof my room had three bed like pads, a window, a sink with a mirror, a tv above the sink, and a rather sad empty closet with nothing in it. There was a bathroom down the hall as well as a public shower that was either scalding or freezing. I didn’t see many people while I was there; a british couple that were always rolling their eyes and yelling at each other, a group of Germans, and an older Italian couple that I instantly felt obligated to help. At breakfast a few other people were sitting solo but it’s harder to spy on people that are also spying on you.
Most of my days were spent out, it felt like I visited all the train stations in Berlin. Without knowing the city I ended up making appointments throughout the day in all different places and usually took the less than direct routes to get there. Other than that it was coffee shops with wireless, keeping to myself, and calmly sipping while panicking about my future.*
I wonder when you stop being a tourist in a place? With trying to find an apartment and a job being my main priorities I stopped seeing the city as the places I had to see before I left. Now that I had no immediate plans of leaving I wondered in areas picturing myself walking home everyday. Adopting landmarks instead of taking I was there photos. It doesn’t surprise me that every person I know that was born and raised in new york has never been to the empire state building.
* it sounds bad but believe me if I have the time to write a blog post reflecting about it, I am certainly well enough. I’m sorry if my previous posted caused concern (Mom).