“Life has been put back into sharp focus
and I’m struck by the brevity of it
its susceptibility to change
to teach you hard lessons that later shape you
all with no mercy.”
It’s September 2019. I recently visited London for work and to tend to a family member in hospital. When I departed beloved Berlin, the sun was almost oppressive. I remember setting off for London without a jacket in my bags. Though I was aware it might be chillier in my destination, I couldn’t bear carrying it with me for the journey to the airport. It was an endless summer and I was sick of the sun.
London, the oldest friend
London pandas to me as always, a few degrees lighter, buzzing with opportunity, the ease of understanding, the joy of niftily navigating and I found myself torn between the city that raised me, and my new one, Berlin.
It feels like a slightly sick game. Searching for home: so you set sail, you dock many places, and no sooner to they become familiar, you must depart once more as you know they are not the home you are searching for.
Berlin has been a comfortable stop. It’s been the first time in a long while that I don’t have to wonder whether I’m in the right place. And what a relief that is, I can worry about the small stuff like what colour pillows to buy for my apartment or finding my favourite local Chinese place.
To have that interrupted was—unsettling, but unsurprising in retrospect; someone I love is ill and I have a desire to be there for my family. Plus, I am growing older, fonder of comfort, of what I know. In London, I understand everything, with the wiseness of travel and knowing what I want in my mind, it feels as if I could yield my destiny with ease. I question my current situation.
Berlin births a new season
Arriving back in Berlin felt like waking after a long Saturday morning sleep. Everything changed. The rain coated my face as I emerged from the plane and I was greeted by a familiar, moody, Berlin (as I fell in love with it last winter). The cold was present on my skin but a ball of excitement was bubbling in my stomach. A change of the season, I thought. And everything else that greeted me after that sang a similar tune.
Friendships formed in Berlin began to solidify, others fell away. I came back with new habits and a hard-headed decision not to spend my money on takeaway and cook more. And it also became overwhelmingly clear to me that I needed to focus my energy on one of my projects to truly allow them to flourish, in an extremely intentional way.
I also realised that Berlin always is a warm reception. This time a new seductive season, and as always the people, plus my apartment. I have a sense I want to stretch my roots here for as long as my journey permits. I would love the idea of getting a property here, that way, I would have a little piece of the city with me, no matter where my life leads.
I choose poetry
How long will I stay in Berlin? I didn’t nor do I now know. But what I do know is I would like to leave knowing I truly explored the writer’s scene and made the most out of the opportunities to have my poetry featured in local publications or read out in the countless open mic sessions.
So this became clear in my head:
Focus on your poetry
Explore the writer’s scene
Write your poetry collection
Refine your craft
If you too are a budding writer in Berlin, or thinking to move to Berlin and explore your writing, then you might want to keep an eye on this blog or my Instagram @kyomiwade, where I plan of being really transparent about my journey.
Example one, I recently submitted work to an english-language journal, which was unfortunately rejected (note down stadtsprachen magazin if you would like to submit your own work). This was disheartening but in the spirit of not dwelling, I immediately asked my Instagram followers for help choosing a poem for my next submission (this time for the Poetry Society, which is still open FYI). I now have two that I will submit before the end of the month, so keep your fingers crossed for me.
Signing off with something for you to think about. If your current situation won’t last forever, what do you want to take from it by the time it is over?