We have spent a week lugging backpacks around on the S-bahn. I’ve made it half way through The Goldfinch, mostly in 15 minute installments on busses and trains. Berlin is scribbly. There’s so much spray paint that it stops looking uncared for, and starts looking like the buildings are chatting over one another.
Jon found us three hosts in the city via CouchSurfing. Our first two days we were in Neulkolln with Lennart and Noel; political science majors. We drank a lot of beer and embarrassed ourselves playing foos ball. Then two days in the west end with Morella, a cheerful goth with a cat named mozart and Ted Bundy as her screen saver. After that, Sandra and Anthony, a couple in a pink and green apartment who had traveled all over the world together.
Hospitality doesn’t even begin to cover it. We haven’t spent a penny on accommodation in Germany, but we’ve had warms beds to sleep in and locals to cook meals with and show us around the city. We even went to a CouchSurfing meet up. Probably 70 people showed up, locals and foreigners. All the initiative and interest, all emotional (and literal) generosity. I can’t wait to have a place of our own and return the favor to other travelers. I want to always live in communities where people treat each other this way.
In Berlin Jon and I wandered around and stopped in coffee shops to read and write. Jon’s German is strong and he makes new friends so easily. We were half lost in Mitte and somehow asking for directions turned into beers with two journalists. Jon’s sister often talks about “Jonny Magic”, this is what she means.
My first week of art journaling is just alright. I’m working daily, but I wish I could push each page further. In other people’s homes I don't want to make messes. It is also difficult to find any pattern in our schedule for consistent work. Some nights we stay out dancing until 6 am. Some mornings I am up by 7 to run. I am also limited by what materials I can carry. I miss oil bars and house paint. I miss paper that doesn’t bleed though. Maybe once we are in Prague it will be easier to sit down at the desk every morning and give myself totally to good chaos.
And those are excuses. I do like my drawings. I could stand to do more writing (if not for my journal, then just for my mind and memory.)
I used to believe my doodles of people and places were unskilled in a bad way – too round and derivative of art I didn’t even like. They’re fast looseness is growing on me and I feel more capable of showing atmosphere and motion. The carrying on/failing/redemption is the point of The Year of Big Possible.
Next we travel to Dresden and Wurzburg!