Tuesday, October 26, 2010
In 1998, I took a trip with my friend D to visit Berlin, Germany. That trip was the first trip I took without my parents, and we had a blast. We stayed with a friend, Jens, who lived in Berlin, and the first night that we got there, he threw us a party. Actually, let me correct that, his friends (whom we had never met) threw us a party. We drank beers and hung out until the sun came up, trying to live up every minute we were there. We tried our hand at speaking German, we visited palaces and countrysides and the up-and-coming area of Berlin called "Mitte". It was such an amazing time, and such a lovely city, that I've always wanted to go back. I found Jens and his friends to be much more informed about world affairs, and they were so candid and interesting to talk to. The whole Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky thing was going on and I remember everyone asking me, "Why do Americans care about the mistress? We all know our President has a mistresss, it has nothing to do with how he runs the country!" To this day, I still don't know how to respond to that. Everyone spoke several languages, I felt rather inadequate speaking only one. Breakfast was cheese with bread and tomatoes, all water was carbonated. We hung our clothes out on the balcony to air the smoke out of them. At the party the first night, I met Martin. On our last night there, he asked Jens if he could "take me out on a date" (not that Jens was going to give permission, I think it was more of a language thing). Of course, I said "absolutely!" and Martin came to pick me up in his tiny car. He took me to dinner at McDonald's ("isn't this what Americans like to eat?") where we got beers and cheeseburgers. Then we headed to a concert by an "American Band" since he thought I might like it. It turned out to be Me First and the Gimme Gimmes singing some brilliant punk covers of songs I knew by heart. We jumped around, sang at the top of our lungs and had a great old time. That night was so bittersweet - hanging out with friends we had made during our stay in Berlin, realizing we had to head back home and would likely never see them again.
This summer, Alex mentioned that Me First was playing a club down the street from our house. He got us tickets and we're headed there tonight. I guess I'm a little bit older, and perhaps a bit wiser, but I can't help experiencing some nostalgia for those days in Berlin, exploring a foreign country, two girls against the world. My friend, D, is married now. We don't talk much anymore, but I still think about her all the time. I'm so glad I still have these memories, and I can't wait for the concert tonight. I'm looking forward to pretending to be 20 again...