Today assignment is:
Where would you choose to be exiled? What three essential items would you take with you?
The answer to the first question is quite easy for me. Berlin, Germany.
M. F. K Fischer once explained that a true “place” invites to come well before your departure, and linger on after your arrival. She said “It comes down..to a question of where one really chooses to be and for how long.” Berlin is such a place that beckoned to be me long before I visited two years ago (and returned to again this year), and which I never seem to spend enough time in during our trips to Germany. I felt instantly “at home” in Berlin and like the New York City of my twenties, electrified by the energy I found there. It is a city that seems to deftly mix the old and the new, acknowledges its history both dark and light and that seems to have everything a human could want. I could happily spend my exile in an apartment in Mitte within walking distance of the Tiergarten or the venerable Humbolt Universität. Plus I speak passable German, which I would imagine would improve over time.
Three essential items would be:
- My husband. My husband and I have often discussed retiring to Germany, especially in light of the current political and social circumstances in the United States. We’ve been together over 30 years and I can’t imagine leaving without him. (Even if I had to sneak him in an oversize trunk).
- My photo albums. I’ve traveled for work and one thing I’ve realized over time that most things, if you have the funds, can be bought and replaced. However, The memories captured before the digital age, cannot. The photos of my two children (now adults in their twenties) are more precious to me than any material items as well as the historical photos of my family, going back to the early 1900s.
- My two cats. Yes, we could adopt some deutsche Katzen, but my two current goofballs are such a part of our family, leaving without them seems inconceivable. Plus, I imagine they would love to watch German Eichhörnchen through the window as much as they love watching American squirrels
So if the United States determined I needed to leave its shores, I guess I now have the start of an exit plan!