NaBloPoMo 2016 - The End

Well, I have made it this year and have written almost one entry every day in November, except for two days during the Thanksgiving Holiday. I may fill these entries in later. I may also add some photos afterwards as I go through my old albums.
This is my journey - Part 2, Life in Berlin ended with our move to the United States.

I cannot say enough, how lucky I am to have been a witness to so many global events in my life. After going through the revolution in Iran, and leaving our home almost head over heels, we arrived in Berlin which was still in the midst of the Cold War. Living in West-Berlin felt like living on an island, that was not surrounded by water, but locked inside a communist controlled country. We never thought that this situation would ever change, but when we witnessed the fall of the Wall. We were elated. What an experience to have been there.

Today in the U.S. we almost saw a female president win the election, after having witnessed the acceptance speech of an African-American President, what could have topped that? But we have been surprised or let's say 'trumped' by an outsider.
We will see what the future shall bring.

Thank you for reading my blog.

Home - Heimat

“There is no place like home.” 
― L. Frank BaumThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Where is Home? What is Home? The German word "Heimat" is often used to describe the feeling of home, but "Heimat" refers to your home country, where you were born. That would be Berlin.

I really did not feel at home in Berlin. We had a comfortable place where we lived, we had grown our family and both had great jobs. But something was missing.
Home to me is not a place, not a location, it is a feeling. Where do I feel at home?  (My mother's kitchen makes me feel at home.)
It seems that we are constantly on the search for that feeling of 'being at home'. Many friends who had to leave their country for whatever reason, have the same feeling. You are just not able to settle down. Today, as we made our home in San Diego, I can say that this is the closest to home here. Is this where it ends? I don't think so. I already feel restless after 15 years in the same apartment.

Being far away from Berlin, and looking back on the 16 years that we have lived there, of course I miss a lot of things.
Berlin is a city that never sleeps. You can go out at any time and find a place to have a bite to eat or have a drink. Let me just say "Currywurst und Pommes".
The sound of the U-Bahn (subway) rolling into the station is unique, so is the smell of burnt wood, like railroad tracks and it is all over the city.
I love the bakeries with their assortment of breads and pastries.
The Italian restaurants with their authentic food.
Sitting at your table as long as you like, without the obnoxious waiters constantly bothering you and leaving the bill before you even finished your entree. I miss the more sophisticated dining culture. The parks and lakes you find all over the city. A countryside a few minutes from the center.
So much history right in front of your eyes everywhere.
Cultural events that you can't keep up with.
And Monheim ice cream. The best.
1982 at Monheim 

Yes, and I have to admit, I miss Berlin. "Berlin ist ein Reise wert" Always worth a trip.

November 9th, 1989

The events on the evening of November 9th, 1989 were the strangest that we had ever witnessed. Just a few weeks before, we had visited an old friend in Hamburg, and we had to go through the same border controls by car as we had to on every trip. Then during our visit, we discussed the situation among ourselves that there will never be an end to this border. It was as scary as ever to be confronted by the patrol and it was so sad that the people were divided. Other countries were breaking down the socialist regimes, Hungary for example had started opening its borders to Austria, which actually allowed East-Germans to cross over and travel safely to West-Germany. But the Wall was still the obstacle and it was ugly with its high dark grey concrete, its towers, flood lights, barbed wire and watch dogs.

And then suddenly overnight, it was opened. We were watching TV and the news reporters were not even sure, if it was opening officially, if there was a loophole in one place only, if everyone could cross into the West or not. People were approaching it from the west side to see if it was true, and of course the East Germans were all going to check it out as well on their side. It was so overwhelming, the elation, the jubilation of all people west and east, that they could move back and forth without resistance. The border soldiers were standing there stunned and then somehow the order came to open the borders and everyone just started flooding into West-Berlin. People were walking around the city and admiring the modern amenities that they were missing in the East. We were standing on the street late at night and were waving at people walking by. Cars would not stop honking and it was chaos everywhere. The freeway from Berlin to Hanover was a parking lot. Travelers were in a 12 hour traffic jam, to make the three hour drive.
I was very emotional and could not believe that this had happened.  For weeks everyone was amazed at the sudden change and that the East regime had crumbled. The Wall was an eyesore and people were attacking it with hammers and chisels. You could hear the sound of the hammering from hundred feet away when you walked towards the wall. It was amazing. Of course, everyone wanted a piece as a souvenir and I am glad that I have an authentic one that we had broken off ourselves. Most pieces offered today for sale are probably fake.

There are many memorials in Berlin to remember the time of the Cold War, the border and the victims who died at the wall. But I wish that Berlin had kept the whole area of the wall as a "green belt" so that it could never be forgotten.
The memory of this day still makes me smile today.

Berlin sightseeing

We welcomed many visitors while we lived in Berlin. And of course we would take them around the city sightseeing.
The main attractions usually were the Wall, the Brandenburger Gate and the Reichstag. But my all time favorite outing was a small picturesque castle on an island in the southwest of Berlin.

Pfaueninsel (the peacock island)

the castle - das Lust Schloss
The island lies in the middle of the large river, called The Havel. To get to the island you would have to cross over on a ferry. We would usually get on a tourboat from Wannsee and if the weather was nice, we would sit on the top of the boat and enjoy the slow steamboat like trip south and then stop at the ferry station. The island is small and can be covered in an hour or two, but the quaint castle is worth a visit. It was built in 1794 by King Friedrich Wilhelm II for the love of his life, whom he never got to marry, but had children with. Hence the name "Lust Schloss", castle of desire.

Peacocks walk around all over the island, that is where the name came from. There is a green house in which they grew palm trees and they also held many exotic animals on the island during the reign of several kings. Many beautiful flower gardens and small forests to admire and explore. A wonderful place for a walk and for dreaming. Definitely a place worth a visit.