25 October 2013

Berlin from the Aircraft Window

The past few months were travel-packed, either for fun or for work. I had several flights departing and arriving from Berlin Tegel Airport, not to mention the other couple of trips that I had to take using trains. I found myself almost knowing the exact lay-out of the airport, getting very familiar with it to a surprising degree. Anyway, as much as I love to travel, somehow, I recently realized how much I love this city. And it is always when I am sitting by the aircraft window and the aircraft would descend and approach the city, these are the moments when suddenly, I feel how good it is to be back in Berlin, to be back home.

Home, at least, for the moment. But seriously, I think I like it here. This is perhaps the first time I can say that I like the city so much I would love to stay forever if I can. The other cities I have lived in, those all felt temporary to me. Of course, I know that there is a huge confound here: when I was still younger, I was living with my family, and my father is a diplomat and therefore we would move to a city knowing that there is a clock ticking the hours that we would spend in that town. And when I moved to Buffalo, I moved there for graduate school, knowing that after I graduate, I would move out. It wasn't always the case that people move out of the city where they went to school, but in academia, this is especially true.

Then I moved to Berlin. I got a post-doc position in an institute here. It is not a permanent position, so I know that somewhere along the line, I would have to move out too. But seriously, I feel I am falling in love with this city so much, I can feel it every time I come back to it. I was in Brussels last week, it was my second time to visit that town, and yet, I still cannot find myself liking that town. It really feels different landing in Berlin as opposed to landing in Brussels.

I don't know, whenever I see Fernsehturm (TV Tower) in Alexanderplatz on the left side of the aircraft whenever the aircraft lands by approaching from the east, it is such a great feeling. Sometimes, the aircraft would approach from the west, and so the greenery that is beyond Spandau would be what one can see outside the window. It is the feeling that one is coming back home. And somehow, after living here for one year, I have considered Berlin my home already.

Ah, I know I would hate the day when I have to move out of this city. This reminds me of Chakuza's song Notlandung auf Berlin (Emergency landing in Berlin), and really, sometimes I feel like that.


  1. Has it been a year already? Wow!

    Berlin is one of these cities I have never visited, never even flown through Germany (lots of flights to China do but somehow, I have never flown Lufthansa). One day...

    1. Zhu,

      Yes, it's been a year now! Time indeed flies fast!