Written Between Amsterdam and Berlin

I found this gem in my Word vault.  I sound more than a little cranky in it, but a day of travel will do that to you.

November 3rd, 2011

We’re tired, now.  The thrill of hurtling through countryside, of exclaiming that this or that “looks like America,” and even the slight guilt that comes with comparing everything with America has worn down into nothing but crumpled fatigue (although, you know, we only do it because we’re homesick). 

Now it’s black outside and all we can see are our own reflections in the window.  I can see Maria dumbly using a plastic knife to smear Nutella onto bread for a halfhearted dinner.  Gabi is engrossed in her Twilight-esque book, turning page after rustling page.  She gets up to let Maria out, and remains standing, which irks me more than it should.  It’s not too much trouble to sit back down, and then get up again, I think.  Anyway, it’s better than clogging the aisle and gawking over my shoulder when I’m trying earnestly to hide the fact that I’m writing about you.

I can’t decide what I want to do.  I do some of my German assignments for a while, and then I read 50 more pages of John Adams.  Then I listen to a few podcasts, but I laugh out loud a few too many times, and have to stop before I’m thrown off the train by old Clint Eastwood across the way.  The constant ding of his incoming emails is, of course, inconsequential.  I finally settle down with crossword and iPod.

We’re not even in Berlin yet, and I don’t know if I have the strength to see another city.  To figure out the metros, to find our hostel in the dark, to plan (and fork over obscene amounts of money for) museum trips and monument viewings, to decide which restaurant to eat in for every single meal, to give my signature blank look when confronted with quick streams of local language.

And yet, here it is.  Here are the lights, here comes the announcement over the intercom in three languages.  I’m here, and now that I see it, perhaps I do have the strength to get off this train after all.


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