Saudade “is a deep emotional state of nostalgic or profound melancholic longing for an absent something or someone that one loves. Moreover, it often carries a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might never return”
This reflection was due a few weeks ago…but when I think about it, I am glad I took my time. My thoughts on Berlin and my time there have changed as the time went on. Now that it has been 2 months since I left Berlin, I feel I am ready to write a reflection that is worth of the incredible summer I had thanks to Northwestern’s IPD Program.
So, where do I start? First of all, I never thought I would miss Berlin so much. I have visited most of European cities and I never thought I would say Berlin is the best of them all…but it simply is. The last days were a bit hectic for me as I tried to visit all the museums I never had time for and hang out with friends I knew I had to say goodbye to soon…
I thought I was going to reflect on Berlin by describing different things I experienced and did in Berlin… but you know what? In the end, It doesn’t really matter. Everyone’s experience in Berlin will be unique and beautiful in its own way. What I did in Berlin is completely irrelevant in the long run, what truly matters is how I felt and what I will remember. Yes, the clubs are better than any club you could ever go to in the US. Yes, the food is better and cheaper than anything you have ever known. Yes, the people are different and not something you are used to. But, there is no point reflecting on that. We all know that, Berlin is a heterotopia, a special place in the modern world that has the charm of the golden, roaring twenties. It’s slowly disappearing and I recommend everyone to go there before it’s gone. The IPD Program in Berlin will change your life. I missed internship opportunities, but I don’t care. I will spend most of my summers in my life working. I felt this was one of the last opportunities to do something crazy. I don’t regret anything. In Berlin I understood why there is a saying that Europeans work to live and in the US you live to work.
I made a lot of friends in Berlin that I miss dearly. I am still in contact with them and I am more than excited to come back to Berlin in January and reconnect with some of them! The iconic Casablanca is about Rick and Lisa, who fall in love with each other. The dramatic final scene contains the movie’s iconic line. Lisa is about to get on a plane but her lover isn’t going with her. She asks “What about us?” and he replies: “We will always have Paris”, meaning they will always be together in memories… and this is how I really feel about Berlin. I might go to Berlin again, but I will probably never experience the summer adventures with all the friends all over the world again. I feel strong saudade writing these words right now. But as I read in one of the books for my Northwestern classes in Berlin, coming back to a place with which one associates many memories is often deeply disappointing. Once you finally arrive to the nostalgic place you fantasized about, it’s not what you thought it would be; it’s not that the place changed; it’s you who changed.
But after all it does not matter because just like Rick will never be with Lisa again, the summer I had and all the wonderful friends I made are gone with it, but they will always be in memories, in my memories I will be together with them, drinking beer in Mauerpark, swimming in Krumme Lanke and having the time of our lives; it will not disappear because, in the end.WE WILL ALWAYS HAVE BERLIN!