When my head finally hits the pillow it is like a switch is flipped. My body shuts off and even my bones seem to relax. This is it.
Its not just that my eyes are dry and irritated from the flight.
Its not just that my stomach is upset from airline food.
Its not just the dizzyness from the 30 hour sleep depravation.
Its not just that aching muscle in my lower right back.
Its all that I’ve seen.
Its every delhi belly I had and bad chicken burger I ate.
Its every sleepless night, every long day over the past 12 month.
Its every little and big pain, every cut, every blister, every pinch of the skin.
Its not just that I get to rest.
Its that I’m home.
When I wake up it is 14 hours later. Then I sleep some more.
And then I talk. Meeting friends and family. I have to be careful not to drown them in an endless flow of words, stories and lessons. There is so much I could tell.
And then I observe. Stare almost. I look at the people here. And where they live. This is Berlin. Everything is so neat. The roads are so good. The public transport so safe, clean and reliable. So fast. The shops sell “lifestyle” products. Bars with subtle music. Talking people in the streets and parks. The topics are bars, concerts, flatmates, sometimes work. The concern of other people for other people. I feel like being in an eternal sunday afternoon. The stack of food in the supermarkets seems endless.
And then I listen. What surprises me the most is the quiteness. I thought I remembered the city much more noisy. But the traffic is so calm. Its orderly. Even speeding drivers rarely endanger anyone seriously. Busses and trucks are not twisted, almost sideways driving. And at night noone is blinding the others with the distant lights. The people are distant but approachable. They don’t greet back most of the time but they also don’t stare at you. When somebody calls me friend its because he or she has known me for years.
And then I reflect. I’m waiting for a judgemental reaction to the lifestyle in front of me but its not coming. I’m blank, just registrating, just noticing. The only notion that I have I try to dismiss as to cheesy, to clichee. But it keeps coming back. Everytime a little stronger. People are the same everywhere. They have the same goals. They strive for dignity, prosperity, health, community. They differ in how they go about to achieve those. And how much success they have regarding their environment. And it can take bizar forms when it doesn’t turn out the way they want. (I feel like I have to elaborate on this – another time) But the needs are the same.