Jul. 29th, 2007

I'm feeling rather ambivalent about returning home. In one sense, I'm looking forward to the comforts of my parents house (a full sized shower, please!), no more language issues, a better variety of food for me to eat (Germans do not do vegetarian), seeing my parents, being around cats, and so on. On the other hand, I love traveling. I love being in new cities, exploring, learning, and so on - despite whatever inconveniences and language barriers there may be. One thing I've particularly noticed is that while here, I seem to have forgotten about most of my day to day insecurities. I seem to remember something fairly similar while I was in Europe last. I've no idea why that happens, exactly, but a break from my many neurosis is, of course, a welcome one. Even with the conference in the middle of it all, I lost track of my academic, intellectual insecurities. I've actually looked in the mirror and thought - not bad. Despite having to change one morning because a pair of dress pants that used to fit were too tight. I've not worried much about whether people want to be in my company, about my dating life (okay, there was that one day) . . . instead, my mental energies are focused on the city. What do I want to explore today?

Today, in spite of the rain, checked out the East Side Gallery. It's the longest remaining stretch of the wall in its original place. It's truly amazing to me, the history of the wall. This section is covered in some pretty incredible graffiti and artwork. I took a million pictures and can't wait to upload them. Of course, the photos don't capture it quite like walking along it. Also went to the Berlin Wall documentation center. I can't imagine what it must have been like to watch it go up, as a Berliner. Some of the photos this building had - especially those taken by non-German individuals - were incredible. I'm a nerd, but I purchased a cheap book (one of the few in English) on the history of the Wall and a package of cards with many of the photos from the exhibit. By the documentation center, there's a memorial of sorts from the wall - a replication of what it looked like: the two sides, the fairly wide no-man's land in the center, and the small pathway right down the center where guards would drive. The city must have looked rather interesting right after the wall came down - all of that empty space. Not only from where the wall had been, but life quickly moved away from the Wall as - not surprisingly - no one wanted to live by it.

I sort of wish that the German side of my family would appreciate some of this stuff. I know I can go home and talk to my mom's side of the family about it, but it's just sort of the disappointing that the Fishers could really not care less about where they came from.



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