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I was on the phone with Lisa in Sweden, pondering how to avoid another Winter in Northern Europe. “I think I may have been colder than anyone else I know”, I postulated, but my argument completely eluded her. She tried to explain just how depressing a winter in Sweden is, but mostly, we were just collectively happy to have escaped the grim greyness of winter. The conversation took place on the balcony, after all.

The best part of this change lies in the details: It might have been exactly the deprivation from four months of cold weather and grey skies that makes the contrast so apparent, when mere weeks ago everything started coming to life with fresh green leaves on every tree, the public market stands bending under the fruit and the streets full of people. Everybody is biking In effect, walking around has been a nonstop adventure of discovery. When I was walking through Kreuzberg with Anika last week, she just looked around herself and exclaimed: “Everything is so colorful”. It is like getting a new place to live.


I had spent the morning on the balcony with a book and some hand-imported Colombian coffee, then went rummaging through things at the flea market and spotted a beautiful bright orange teapot. I am sure that the failure to immediately buy it will haunt me forever. Also, since Michi had turned thirty a while ago, he was a man on a mission: What better day than a Sunday to take out a shovel and plant a tree on a much neglected part of green in our neighborhood? Nobody seemed to mind: One woman stopped and asked us whether we were activists. “He just turned thirty.” I explained and she seemed alright with that. Michi’s plan further foresees his son to be conceived on the spot, ideally in the shadow of the tree. It is a long shot.

The tree

It had become a somewhat cold and windy day, “Ideal conditions for the young tree”, and I decided to make the most of Sunday and go out for a walk around the neighborhood, places where I hadn’t been before. Before I knew it, I was in the middle of a storm, a quick shower and then underneath the biggest, most complete rainbow I had ever seen. The colors were just popping out at me.