I was trying to write a post about visiting the Karneval der Kulturen at the weekend, but it kept turning out too linear/mediocre/earnest/boring/rubbish, so I decided to leave it alone and come back to it later. And now I’m back and I’m like, hey, you know what this blog needs instead? A picture of the tortilla I made on Saturday. Behold:
This is the fourth or fifth tortilla I made in about a week. The first ones were good too but this one totally wins. Well, won. It didn’t last long.
I am now secure enough in my tortilla-making repertoire that I could embark on adding extra ingredients to spice it up a bit. But you know what? I’m not going to. Because my tortilla does not require any fancy embellishments. My tortilla is beautiful in its simplicity, and it is made of joy and delight. So.
Okay, so I can’t go into detail about the Karneval, because I’ve already proven to myself many times over that I can’t write anything decent about it. My attempts were either some glib variation on OH WOW MUSIC AND FOOD FROM SO MANY PLACES!, or a tangent about how I dislike the term world music (which wasn’t, to the best of my recollection, used by the Karneval anyway). But I visited it on Friday, Saturday and Sunday; today (Monday) was its last day, and I thought I might go back to it and take pictures but I figured the pictures might work better if they just existed in my head rather than attempting them in real life, and anyway I was busy trying to write an article loosely inspired by this scathing recap of Chasing Amy, and then there was an impressive thunderstorm so I felt marginally smug for having decided to stay in, and then the thunderstorm ended and it was all sunny and I still didn’t go out.
Anyway. On Saturday I couldn’t face getting back into the U-bahn – the place was so packed – so I walked home from the Karneval, which took maybe an hour and a half. It was a nice day, and I hadn’t walked that far in a while; I was given a free metro pass for the month of May, so I’m making the most of its €72 value while I still can. I bought some groceries along the way, further identifying cheap and useful places to shop, and stopped by a couple of cinemas to pick up programmes. And I thought about how it was seven weeks since I had moved to Berlin, which is both a lot and a little: certainly little enough for me to still be classified as a newbie, but long enough for me to get somewhat used to daily life here, and for it to feel like months since I embarked on my first solo excursion to the Berlin Welcoming Committee’s flat. Or months since I sat by the canal with his bandmate and she said, look, I like the direct, kindergarten approach: will you be my friend? And I said yes.
I hadn’t even properly noticed the transition, how I started to feel at home here, how things started to become familiar to me. My neighbourhood with the tables of men sitting outside cafés and the discarded cartons of ayran on the street and the friendly man in the Spätkauf and the grocery shop where they asked if I spoke Arabic. Then there’s the Berlin Welcoming Committee’s neighbourhood, with its English-speaking hipsters and impressive street art and nice places to eat except technically we can’t afford to go out to eat but sometimes we get cheap toasties at Wendel or go to this really good pizza takeaway. I haven’t been to the Turkish market for a few weeks; I said, oh, I don’t think I have the energy to fight my way through the crowds, I think I’ll just go to the local shops, and he said, yeah, that’s what happens when you get used to living here.
But I’m still new to a city where I barely speak the language, so it’s not like I really know what I’m talking about. Here, have a picture of a dog in a bag:
And here is the one sentiment with which I was planning to finish my piece on the Karneval that I’ve barely described at all: Berlin, if you keep doing the things you do, you’re going to get my custom long-term.