Berlin is SO MUCH. So much in so many ways. It is so fun, so rich, so reverent, so different, so beautiful, so rainy and then so hot. You cannot understand how MUCH this city is unless you are right here, experiencing it right now. I am lucky to be doing that with equally as “so much” people around me. The familia is so loving, so kind, so funny, so smart, so curious, so open.

I love the plazas here. The open spaces in urban areas that could easily be used for more commerce and revenue, but they are preserved for street performers and dogs and couples and families and everyone else. It makes me think that not everything has to be improved or built upon. Sometimes things are perfect exactly how they are already. I could have stood there all day watching the two men playing cello and guitar together between the most beautiful cathedrals surrounding Gendarmenmarkt (one of the plazas we visited). I also fed a pigeon there which was pretty fun.

The memorials and museums both add to and reduce the “muchness” of Berlin. They tell the intricate stories of Jewish people murdered in the Holocaust (The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe) and the story of the fallen Soviet soldiers in the Battle of Berlin (Soviet War Memorial in Treptower Park) to name only a tiny tiny TINY fraction of the stories that this city tells. All of this information can be a lot to process and interpret due to its muchness, but luckily these places provide a space of quiet and aloneness that allows one to do this. This is best experienced walking through the stelae at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe after visiting the Holocaust museum. I know I’ll never be able to put myself anywhere close to in their shoes, but walking alone through the quiet stone garden allows you to feel their uncertainty and isolation even if it is on the most minuscule level. You could also sit in the pews of the Berlin Cathedral and stare up at the intricate stories being told on the ceiling with the organ playing in the background. Another way is to eat currywurst and free strawberry samples at the farmers market with your amazing and lovely group (go Charlie) while wearing your new friendship bracelets. Or even dancing in the park with an unknown DJ or drinking strange tea from foreign twin businessmen. When I say so much, I mean SO much. At every site we got to visit I was able to reflect and slow down away from the muchness of Berlin and focus on what the space was teaching me.

As the muchness of Berlin is continually revealed, I am learning too of the muchness in the Familia. We have only been here for three whole days and already I can see friendships growing beyond what I thought was even imaginable only this far in. I love everyone and everything about CR and I cannot wait to discover the rest of the muchness waiting for me.

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