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rebecca cantrell

by Bekka Black

I’ve been strangely silent since I moved to Berlin. Strange for me, anyway.
Maybe it’s the stresses of packing a house that we lived in for a decade, winnowing it down to a storage room and a couple of suitcases, and hopping on a plane to travel halfway around the world. Or maybe it’s the hassle of finding an apartment in Berlin Mitte (the hottest district) while sorting out all the paperwork that magically appears when you leave one country for another. Or maybe it’s the adjustment of switching my brain from German to English and back.

going away party hawaii

Or maybe it’s because I’ve been listening.
In Kona I listened to the waves, the birds, the rustle of wind through the palms for a decade. I had space in those sounds to listen all the way back to Berlin in the 1930s. But then things changed. I left the cobalt blue water and black volcanic beaches of Hawaii for the second largest city in the European Union. I replaced blue skies with largely gray ones, sultry days for chilly ones, sand with cobblestones.
Everyone I meet here asks me “why?”

city of broken glass

I have a list of good reasons: terrific international schools for my son, a lively art scene for my artist husband, I’m right in the center of Hannah Vogel’s world (so I can more easily research the novels). All true. All important.
Today one of those Hannah Vogel books got to come home.  Here is a picture of the latest in the series, A City of Broken Glass, resting on a Berlin windowsill. My Berlin windowsill.
Because, for the first time in over twenty years, I have a window in Berlin again. I can
look through it and see the city, or I can open it and listen.
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