Week 20 (15–21 May 2023)

This week started with us arriving back in Berlin after 3.5 months away and a long train ride.

We spent the week at J and C's and our stay felt at once very familiar but also strange: back as visitors in a city that we've called home for 4 years.

The familiar

  • going back to the office, seeing colleagues and friends, bibimbap from the stall outside
  • cycling around the city on my old Peugeot bike that C let me use!
  • bouldering at BK on Wednesday and Friday at 7am, croissants pains au choc cannelés at La Maison. F from the staff still recognizes us, phew
  • all the food! Filling up on Vietnamese Korean Chinese Thai, Italian, brunch, plus Berlin late night classics Gemüse Kebap and Sudanese
  • Tempelhofer Feld, people- and dogwatching and drinks
  • La Vineria with V and M (and friend O), chatting with D
  • great flat whites at Kajumi!
  • browsing at Humana (lucky day got tshirts)
  • Drink on Weser (cocktails at Wax On) with C and C
  • Wolf Kino (just C and me), wasabi nuts and indie movie (Beau Is Afraid)
  • just generally walking/cycling around our old Kiez and reminiscing

The strange

  • ...the reminiscing itself. Using the past tense a lot for things that felt so natural and obvious and routine only a few months back
  • getting a guest badge for the office
  • staying in Prenzlauer Berg. The neighborhood is great and I've been here countless times but it's not my Kiez! Losing by bearings, e.g. it feels strange to have to ride the Ringbahn for 30min after a night in Neukölln
  • the opposite: staying at J and C's instead of heading back home after an evening at their place
  • last day of work, handing back my laptop (working at SumUp has very much been tied to Berlin in my mind: I joined the company only a few months after moving to Berlin back in January 2019 and met most of my Berlin friends through it!)
  • bouldering at BK felt different after 3 months at Roc n'Potes! In a good way though: I appreciated the professional and super interesting routesetting! (That red route on the Balloon with gray holds)
  • things, people are changing! M planning a move to Singapore, A becoming a father later this year and thinking of moving, new staff at La Vineria+D thinking of moving, F planning to take a break from work, etc. I wonder if some of this is is coming out now because I opened up to people with our big scary plans, so they opened up in return. Pace of change was always the same but it wasn't as explicit

The end

The week ended much like it started: on Saturday we left Berlin on a long train ride.

After an ICE to Munich (4.5 h), a spätzle break, a very uncomfortable night bus to Rome (11.5 h), a cappuccino e cornetto break, we're now on the third and final leg of our journey, a direct train to Palermo (11.5 h). It's 22h30 on Sunday as I write this and we're almost there! We're meeting other friends tonight for a weeklong road trip in Eastern Sicily (starting with a couple of days in Palermo).

C and me are spending the next few weeks between Sicily and Sardinia. I'm very excited but also exhausted and haven't had time to fully process everything that happened in the last weeks, like the fact that I'm basically unemployed now. So I'm also looking forward to being back in our isolated corner of the Ardéchois countryside and start figuring out what's next.



  • On Writing (2000), by Stephen King. I finished listening to the audiobook version of this early in the week. It was good! I think I preferred the autobiographical aspect to the actual writing advice, but some of it was interesting (e.g. looking at stories as something that is uncovered instead of something that is plotted is surprising, and kind of nice)