It’s the departures that are the hardest; friends come to visit and it’s joyous to explore the city together, thrilling even just to see their familiar faces standing in our lobby next to us, but there’s always an undercurrent of urgency, knowing they have a finite amount of time with us, return flights booked and waiting. We show them around our neighborhood and well beyond, and I’m gratified to hear them say the same things I’ve said over the past few months—there’s no grid here, the streets are so confusing, one could so easily get lost; yet how livable it is here, how bike-friendly. But no matter how long their visit, there is always an end in sight.
M’s brother Geoff returned for Christmas to Berlin, his home away from home—his third visit since our arrival, and several more planned for this spring. He came two days after we first arrived in August; showed us around our neighborhood, pointed out where to find the best falafel, showed us the best wine stores; taught us which transit pass to buy, advised us to not walk in the bike lane.