It was a Friday. I woke up early, around 8 AM. I jumped up and got in the shower; I was so proud to be getting ready before Maria even woke up. I got out of the shower and made a french press coffee. I was sipping my coffee when Maria came in around 9.
“Good morning,” she said.
I felt so comfortable and happy to be there, at Maria’s flat in Berlin. Beevus the pit bull came into the kitchen shortly after Maria and laid his head on my leg. I scratched his head as I read my book and continued drinking my hot coffee.
An hour later, we were on our way out the door. I started to feel sad that this would be the last time we left the house together. As we walked down the stairs, we talked about how much fun we had the last few days. How many places we went, how much food we ate, all the soy chai lattes we drank. How much I wanted to move to Berlin and stay there forever.
We got on the underground at Seestrasse. We sat next to each other on the train and looked out the windows.
When we got to the restaurant, we ordered soy chai lattes and filled our plates with tofu scramble, toast, hummus, fruit salads, bulgur salad, and lots of dipping sauces. We ate slowly and talked about me moving to Berlin. Maria told me that there were flats for vegans. I wondered about what my life could be like in Berlin, living in a flat with a couple of vegans, working and taking the underground and drinking matcha lattes in vegan cafes in my free time. I could write and take pictures and make videos. I could learn German and say tchusse and hallo and teach people english. I could talk to people who feel the same way as I do and I could talk to people who feel completely different than me. I could eat vegan food at restaurants and drink green juices and I could become a part of this culture. I wanted it so bad.
We got on a tram after eating and went to a place that I can only describe as a magical community place of giving. There is a collection of trees, which have shelves carved into them, and plastic flaps over the shelves. People place books into the shelves that they are finished reading, and then you choose a book to take. There are no rules – you can take books without leaving books, you can leave books without taking books. Maria and I each took two books (she left a few and I left one), and brought them home. When we got back to her house, I made another french press coffee and Maria made a soy chai latte.
We talked for hours. I didn’t want to leave. Maria gave me directions on how to get to the bus stop. When the time came, I picked up my backpack, hugged her good bye, and made her promise to come to California. We had planned out our California road trip already. We were going to rent a convertible and drive from my house to San Diego. I wanted it to happen now.
I patted Beevus on the head and headed out the door. As I was walking downstairs, I felt so sad. It is so hard to say goodbye to people that I have become close with. I love traveling so much; I am so happy that I have the opportunities to meet the people that I do. The people I have met have enriched my life and made me a better person. They have taught me to be happy, to be grateful, and to feel free again.