After German unity, architects were let loose in wild packs to move the nation's capital, from Bonn to Berlin.
Across the hundred meters of death zone that straddled the old Berlin wall, they conjured clean lines and soft grass while enshrining some of the bulletholes and Russian graffiti.
|I'd work here just for the architecture.|
But before Berlin action, Mira was in town, so we convinced ourselves to get up at a most godly hour to hop on the misleadingly named Oxford Tube to...well, yes, Oxford.
The confusion is that the Tube is a bus.
|This is what libraries look like in Oxford.|
|We're under the Thames!|
Then it was frightening museums and cream tea with Erica and James before we drifted back to London.
I'm moving again in December, but the walk home along Brick Lane has been lovely. I still haven't been to any of the Indian joints slinging curry and meal deals, but I'm tempted by a salt beef beigel on the daily.
Here's a view of one of the gates right after I got offered some rum punch at the art gallery.
I love how the Arabic alphabet ends with a very stoned-sounding, " Ha. Wow, Yeah." و ي
Language learning is probably my favorite thing ever, and the two hours of Arabic every Monday stirs up all that magick dust of how much fun it's been dabbling.
Japanese class kept me laughing throughout law school, French has been the grumpy dog that kinda follows me around since college, and Cantonese is family.
Random words get caught up in the brain burs, so I now know two ways of saying hypocrite: منافق (munafiq) and مذبذب (muthabthab). The latter of which allegedly refers to an insect that digs two holes?
It's only been a few classes and I barely know the alphabet, but it's been fun reading bits of Arabic on my walks home. Halal over and over, falalfel off my favorite food tent, a tattoo on a gay DJ with probably his actual name, Ayman.
كيفين لو is how I write my name! Keefeen Lu is a little less exciting sounding though.
I turned 28 on the day I flew into Berlin, so although I didn't get a chance to celebrate with London friends, I did get to have a photoshoot in front of the Reichstag with our Yemeni client. And a coronation chicken sandwich at the airport.
I trot out my oversized suit so rarely, but it's fun to play dress up and pretend to be an adult every so often. A hefty Italian dinner at Sagrantino, and then we were in the sky above Berlin having some biscuity German beers.
|Flashing the pearly whites after our meeting with the Human Rights committee|
|Birthday dinner o' pork tenderloin with truffle mash potatoes, nom nom.|
I start my days off with a solo salmon-eating contest, and then it's a series of little coffees as we orbit the Holocaust memorial by the government center.
We finally spend some time walking around the stelae. Two thousand of these blocks, just rising and falling, some extending way out into the sidewalk.
German kids ran across the tops until the ever-present polizei hassle them to get down.
My favorite thing is walking around a city reading street names to myself.
I don't fetishize getting lost, as Millennials often love doing in cities (though really only backpacker meccas), but it's nice to have a glimpse of what daily life would be.
Berlin gives off Washington DC vibes, though I'm skewed by the slice of Berlin we spent the most time puttering around in.
It's hard to not have currywurst when there's a little kiosk that dispenses it every block or so. Whether accompanied by fries or a little bun, the main attraction is the diced sausage smothered in ketchup and a shimmering of curry powder.
The barrage of intense ethnic questions down the street from the Holocaust Memorial is a little weird, but let's roll with it.
|Berlin wall right along the old SS headquarters, a street away from my hotel|
|Charging documents for Nuremberg Trials|
And then I was back in Hackney.
"You have a beautiful girlfriend," the woman with the biker-girlfriend curls comments to me as she hands me my flat keys. The two Turkish bears who work the shop sigh longingly, like we're all in a rom-com from the mid-90s.
I stay in bed until noon the next morning reading The Man in the High Castle, which was a strange book to be in the midst of while in Germany. After a week of meat on sticks, fried meat, meaty sausage (there's a theme here), it was good to make myself a giant pot of veggie soup pasta.
|I'm going to miss this terrace.|
I picked up a set of towels from a German boy about to head back to the motherland. And he threw in a gas canister for my camping stove as well. Same day, I was gifted a kombucha scoby from a lady around my corner named Gaia.
Of course she moved to London from Portland.
|I finally made it to a French meet-up. En train de faire les mots-croisés.|
Out of a misguided pride, I'm basically a freegan when it comes to Mexico food in Britain: If it's not given to me, I won't eat it.
I consume plenty of California rolls, though only when Itsu has them half off.
|After this weekend's parkour session, I'm pretty okay with jumping across buildings, sure.|