Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Back from Berlin

Over Upstate New York, near Hudson-on-Hudson

As it happens so often, once I am back from a journey, it takes a few days to adjust, recover and then suddenly it feels almost strange to still post pictures of these days past.

Now I know, I am back...

The sun rises over the houses across the street and those early morning clouds remind me, that I am still a little on European time....

Here I am, back in the midst of things, there has been little time to linger over the events of last week, which have been manifold and rather intense.

I went to Berlin to see my sons and to work for the older one in a movie, he and his partner have been directing. Both have also written the screenplay and created the set design. It is the combined work for their finals at the film class, a part of their education at the UdK, the famous Art Academy in Berlin.

Me, recording in the sound studio

It has been an education for me, to witness first hand, how much work goes in the production of a movie, from the early concepts on paper to screenplay, set design and the actual scenes, the technical aspects from lighting to the sound track. I've been to a sound studio to record and have been acting in different scenes in the movie. It was not easy! To create a certain feeling, emotions and to behave in a directed way and still to 'act' natural was an amazing experience. What 'feels' right in my mind looks often different in the eyes of a director. We had enormous fun!
Since this project is not finished, I am, of course, not free to speak of details, but I am certain it is going to be very interesting to see the final cut.
I can't wait to see it!

On the S-Bahn at night

Apart from filming, we explored Berlin again, I was happy, the weather had improved tremendously from the weeks before, where 20 below zero had the city in an icy grip.
It felt springlike and we enjoyed sunshine most of the days.

Colorful two level buses, typical in Berlin.

Berlin was still under the impression of the Berlinale, the annual, most important Film Festival (in Germany) and what could have been better then to be surrounded by the spirit of movies and acting for me, while participating in the making of one myself.

Advertisement on a 'Litfass' column*, the classic German way...
The movie 'Extremly Loud & Incredibly Close'
First Litfass column in Berlin 1854

What I enjoy most in these short days is to experience the German culture, the food and to just be... It is hard to explain, since I do not feel like a tourist, rather more like a sailor, coming ashore after many month at sea....It is all so familiar and yet, new to me.

The timeless Berlin Coffee house: Hackescher Hof
The best part: Siting there with one of my sons...

There is the food, which I only realize how much I miss it, once I am there.
(Thank goodness, otherwise I would be rather unhappy most of the time)
My sons were laughing, since I declared myself a German Food Junkie, not missing a beat between Curry wurst ( a Berlin special kind of Bratwurst), Plum cake, the bread specialities and all the delicacies of my German food heritage. Perhaps you understand, these are not spectacular things, but the ones I feel deeply connected with and I marvel for a few days at all the things I remember from my life in Germany.

Dussmann's, The Culture Shopping Mall.

Now I have almost lived as long abroad as my life in Germany has been. Not counting the first years of my childhood in East Germany. I feel American, and I feel a distance to the old home country, and yet, because of my strong ties to Berlin and Munich I feel naturally German as well.
I raid the bookstores to get in touch with German Zeitgeist, writings, listen to music, the boys talk about.
In one of the largest and nicest bookstores in Berlin - Dussmann's - we listened by chance to a live band, which was free for all and literally rocked the house! An old, East German band - City - which, of course, I remember from days long gone, when I was a teenager!
These older gentlemen were quite amazing...
Office building at night

Wall art

Brandenburg Gate

Berlin is so lively, friendly and colorful. There is an easy going spirit and I felt always safe, crossing the city, often alone, with U-Bahn and S-Bahn, tram and buses.
The only thing I had to get used to again (and again) was the fact, that most of the smaller stores, apart from the largest shopping malls - and many restaurants accept no credit or foreign debit cards. One needs to be prepared to bring cash or run to a bank as often as once a day! Which of course is annoying and costly. There are fees and the exchange rate is not favorable for most foreigners with a different currency! The Euro is strong and Berlin therefore quite expensive. I still do not understand, why in our modern, technology driven time international money dealings are as complicated as they are.

But this did not really dampened my spirit and I enjoyed every moment of my time. The kids, my oldest, his future wife and the younger one filled my time with so much fun, attention and care. I had a wonderful time. We spoiled each other with love, that's what made it real.

I also spend time with one of my oldest girlfriends, with whom I stayed partially and we sat and talked deep into the night. Nothing can be nicer!
There was only one bad thing: The week was so quickly over!

There will be some more pictures in a few day from my visit to Potsdam, where my second son now lives.

: )

* The in Berlin born printer Ernst Litfass invented the use of a column to advertise and publish news for the public, in his honor the column was named after him.  It is until now used all over Germany.

All images private and courtesy ** of E.Braeunig and as indicated.


  1. I am glad to read you had a great time here in Berlin.
    Let me know when the movie is done. I want to see it! ;-)
    Cheers, Imke

    1. Hallo Imke, I am as curious as you, I'll let you know! Thanks for stopping by!
      I really love Berlin...

  2. Victoria,
    How wonderful that you were able to take time to make this journey and to see your sons and take on an important role in their lives....in a movie as well as your first job of being an incredible Mother. Your friendship means so much to me. I love how you always find the beauty on any shore, sea or mountain.
    Wishing you an easy re-entry into back into life here.
    How nice you have the benefit of both worlds and share it with us so wonderfully~

    1. Dear Patricia,
      You must know how much I cherish our friendship and to have you so close is more then an added bonus! That has been for a long time a pain, not to have a close friend nearby! That is the downside of the traveling/moving life...Friendships often suffer!
      One day I see us together on distant shores....

  3. Hello Victoria:
    What a wonderful time you have had with your sons in Berlin. There is such an intensely creative vitality about the city at present and it must have been a real thrill to be at the centre of it all.

    It is amazing how just the smallest of details, sights, sounds or smells can transport one instantly back to other times that are deeply held within one's self. You capture that so perfectly in what you write here.

    Welcome back home, surely the richness of your experiences will stay with you for some time to come.

    1. Jane and Lance,
      Just yesterday I looked at your blog and saw that you must be still in transition.You know as well of the life in two distinct different countries. There are all these vivid impressions and every time I return to one or other I again enjoy these small details! Perhaps this is exactly the wonderful state we can preserve: To feel new again in an familiar place.
      Thank you so much for your lively comment, I keep these impressions deep in my heart! Having some of my children far away there has also the effect that a part of me always stays there!
      I will post tomorrow about Potsdam, the lovely city, now almost a suburb of Berlin. Stay tuned, please.... : )

  4. wow what an amazing trip you had. you are a sailor indeed. all that german sausage sounds heavenly too.im glad you are back safe and sound flying scares me but never stops me.

    1. Shellie,
      The trip was wonderful! I feel about flying a little like you, but I suppress it too, more over I hate flying, because it has become so uncomfortable! It's just not what it used to be....

      I dream of crossing the Atlantic via 'Queen Mary' one day soon!


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