I’ve been meaning to mention it before today–after all, we’ve been here just over three weeks now and in that time I’ve had many the occasion to be reminded and many occasion to report it–but so as to not add any more drag to the wings of this particular lovesong: I’m completely, verifiably smitten with the Berlin S-Bahn.
Before any lesser means of transportation get indignant or jealous here, hear me out: Madrid public transport is great. I’ve long recognized that the metro may be the only thing in Madrid that is consistently efficient and on time (except for line 6–that particular ring of hell is patently excluded from this conversation), but the sad fact of the matter is that the Berlin S-Bahn for many reasons just has it beat. From the moment it hums up to me in the way of a quiet, obedient animal ’til the moment I’m ensconced in a snuggly upholstered seat that miraculously doesn’t reek of human fluids or have the ratty appearance of a hard-used motel room rug, the experience is a cozy one. Above ground, I gaze out the window and devour my new city’s contours, learn the craggy steeples of unexpectedly placed churches, and scout out cute cafés that I’ll add to my must-visit list. Most of all, though, on the S-Bahn I feel secure, a thing I rarely experienced on the Madrid metro where there is always a leering old coot grinningly stripping you with his eyes or an overweight, grocery-saddled woman crowding to take over your seat. A longtime automobile sleeper, I’m actually warm and relaxed enough on the Berlin S-Bahn to rock into a nap if you give me a seat by the wall and at least three stops to ride. The tram is a wonderful, wonderful invention that makes loving public transport a cinch. I could, however, do with less pitching to and fro. Berlin’s S-Bahn conductors have a thing or two to learn about the concept of soft braking.
This weekend’s been a good one. I’ve been shrinking from the unpalatable reality introduced last week by the Agenteur für Arbeit and choosing to live in today-land, simply enjoying being in Berlin (easy to do since one can’t get much in the way of bureaucratic thrashing done on the weekend). I’ve also been lucky in that the past three days have been stuffed with pleasant distractions, most of them ringmastered by the lovely Frau Wagner. Friday night saw us at her place in Prenzlauer Berg cooking up homemade pies at a pizza party. Ten multi-culti guests with chopping talent and high spirits gathered to drink sekt and Berliner Pilsner (and a Jever, if you’re Martin), eat, laugh and play Cranium. In case you were curious, playing Cranium in one’s third foreign language IS approaching impossible, especially when one’s a few sheet’s to the wind and full of grub.
Saturday saw a sleepy Niels and myself back in last weekend’s brunch discovery, Butter, stuffing ourselves with warm bread, herby cheese and what Niels has dubbed the best coffee in the city (so far). On the walk/crutch to the apartment from brunch (when I was thankfully far more reasonable a human being, post feed) we passed a gem of an antique furniture store. Holz Gut refinishes and reclaims its own stuff and has so much great, solid wood Möbel to choose from that it’s sort of hard to. Though we weren’t expecting it, Niels and I came out of there with a new kitchen table. Weathered white and lacquered to a glassy, clickety finish, it can seat up to eight with the leaves spread wide. It’s got sass, it’s got style, and I expect to serve and share many good meals around its gracious perimeter. Who wants to come for dinner?
Other weekend highlights include discovering what might be the best ice cream I have ever had at our local Kaiser’s (chocolate and mango for me, cookie for Niels, and later, a little taste of Almond Marzipan for us both. Ohgodsofatwtfwhyyoudothat,caitlin?) meeting up with Babsie and Martin for brunch at Butter again today and having the waiter inquire after the health of my foot (it’s fair: he’s seen me go from two crutches to one in the past week), and watching my talented and intrepid boyfriend install lights in our new apartment. I tapped out two job applications and rested my gimp limb while the boy worked. Glugging cherry flavored water, I clumped around the house, exploring its newly lighted contours and listening to the children on the spielplatz that is our yard squee in excitement from behind the double panes. I love it there on Gethsemanestraße. Now, it’s a matter of staying.
Tomorrow, liebe leute, I have another job interview in Kreuzberg and after that an appointment for my bum foot with the Orthopedic Doc (Orthopedician? Orthopediatrician? Ortho–fuck. Whatever). I’ll check in after that, in between applying to more jobs and doing zillions of situps as penance for all of the brunch, ice cream and booze I’ve crammed into these 179 centimeters in a short 72 hours. Bis morgen, y’all.