Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin
Monday, 5 November 2018
Since October the new semester at the Freie Universität Berlin - short: FU - has started.
As you know I do "Dutch studies" - the philology of the Netherlands -so I learn Dutch as a language, but also about history, literature and linguistic analysis.
I love it!
Learning the language comes easy to me (though of course I have to work a lot - but I enjoy that). Sometimes it is confusing - e.g. when I search for my blog for an English word - but Dutch turns up! (Which reminds me of the fabulous short story Cicerone by Atte Jongstra. He is a postmodern Netherlandish poet, who in that story compares his brain to a warehouse, where the salespersons run to bring him his memories - but they are sometimes unruly - take a long time, get lost in the storeys or the cellar, or turn up deliberately with other items than those he asked for.
Postmodernism wants to show that language or a text is not "plain truth" - every reader puts his own interpretation into a text.
As we all know when we talk to someone, or write something, and are misunderstood. (N'est-ce pas, Tom?)
Arriving at the university on an early (very early) crisp November morning is bliss.
And I am utterly proud (and have to brag a bit about it) that I connected easily with the young students (I was the only silver-back among 22 young people, the oldest (haha) of them being 25, the youngest 18).
That is one of the big nice surprises in my advanced life!
The wooden sculpture of the little fox which you see above - and which I love as a symbol of "intelligence" - has gone. Vanished.
(I will not overdo it - but it reminds me of a book by Cees Nooteboom: 's Nachts komen de Vossen" - "the Foxes come at Night". I hope this one does it too! )
So the campus looks in the early morning a bit void - but still beautiful.
Tuesday, 30 October 2018
...says Walter Matthau - and he is right!
Shouldn't you have told me??
I mean: it WAS a mistake when I wrote in my last post that I was reminded of Katherine Hepburn in "Cactus Flower".
Because it was Ingrid Bergman.
Well, well, well - now I know.
By the way: Look at this, please:
Saturday, 27 October 2018
Honestly: I can't remember when I bought my last cactus.
More precise: If I ever bought a cactus.
I had one or two as a "teenager" - they were very easy to maintain, but my heart was not with them.
In the shopwindow of "Urban Outfitter" at the Ku'damm stood a whole collection - tiny, very tiny - the photo above only makes it appear big.
(And fretted about my motivation. I mean: A cactus?!? The thought of a movie with Catherine Hepburn made me think even harder - was it a symbol? Do I become unruly, cross-grained, in my rebellious search for the Holy Grail?).
A cactus is a pricky, evil little thing.
In the store I thought them "funny" - and that is a word I learned to become very cautious of in connection with clothes or furniture, for instance. It always means: "funny" only for a
This one too.
Look at that pot! (Well, I can turn it around, then it is plain white).
What astonishes me most - beside the fact that I bought a cactus - is, that I even didn't buy the one I wanted (a miniature of the huge proud cacti with "arms" pointing up into at a relentless burning sun and blue sky in the desert Gobi...)
No, I bought that little fat one.
Because I saw that it was the only one (amongst about 50 others) that had little buds.
Pink. (You have to stare very hard to see it).
Sometimes one has to - stare very hard - to find a
Sunday, 21 October 2018
At breakfast I sit near the balcony, door open, the cool air of autumn comes in (and yes: since a few days I have added the rose-coloured dancer-Warm-up stockings, that have exactly the color of the rose in the photo above, to my dressing gown ).
The rose is "New Dawn", she accompanied me from Hamburg to Berlin, and never complained that here in the Big City she has to live in a huge pot instead of crumbly rich garden earth.
(Maybe you cannot even call it "a life" - but: she exists).
She is a fighter, a tough little person - able to look after herself (with "A little help from her friends"), so by no means unprotected.
And this morning at almost the end of October I discover a new blossom - porcelain rose-coloured as always.
Wonderful smell, light shining through.
I think that this is how it should be:
Be tough, but also gentle, accept where you are (I am not talking about me - I WANTED to go to Berlin!) - and let the light shine through, do not harden your heart.
Yes - I also see the little brown spots at the outer petals - but which life is without bruises? I see much more beauty, and willpower - signs of life, signs of braveness, signs of triumph over circumstances.
It's LIFE we're talking about!
Monday, 15 October 2018
I am vexed: I wrote a long-ish comment on Rachel‘s post „Soulmate“ - had to give in my password for my google-Account - said „publish“ - and all of it vanished in the sky.. Might be that this only happens on my I-pad, because I thought (but still have to check) that I have commented on Tom‘s blog. This is all so annoying and time- consuming!
Sunday, 14 October 2018
I took better photos of beautiful Lissabon, where we have spent a marvelous week. With mostly 30°C the temperature was so high that we gained another week of summer.
I do love Lissabon very much - I was there for the first time - and above you see the view from our phantastic hotel room.
As you know, I never announce in advance that I will travel, because I am always a bit afraid that someone on the shady side of The Law might use this knowledge to his advantage.
Now I am back - after some sunny days in the Netherlands.
And will unpack my suitcases for a while.