I left Germany and Berlin end of 2003. I left my family, friends and a broken relationship behind and settled down in Singapore.

Here I am back in Berlin mid 2007 and even going back to my old job. It seems like a déjà vu but it isn’t. I feel Berlin has changed and so do the people here. It is wonderful to get a second chance reconnecting to the people who are important to me. I enjoy the time here and I fall in love again with this city. Even Jing cannot escape the rough charm of Berlin. I am so happy that she now understands what this place means to me.

However, the longer I stay, I feel restricted by the rigid and strongly rooted social structure. Unlike when I first came to Berlin in 1997, a new world seemed opened up. Maybe the experience of living overseas has opened a larger world to me. Asia has no doubt a more organic society. It makes me live a lighter life, for somehow nearly everything is possible. Am I changed or Berlin has changed?

October is drawing closer and it is time to depart again. I knew it would be a short visit but this time it is harder to leave. I feel this would be the finale for living and working in this place. Mostlikely next time I am just a tourist passing by. Hence, I am overwhelmed by the sadness of parting from family, friends and the good old Berlin.

Alex

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