I’ve only been in Berlin for two weeks and we’ve already managed to do so much! In between sorting out the logistics of moving to a new country—including a rather exciting trip to the local government office for our Anmeldung oder Wohnung (or resident’s cards) and a rather not so exciting, lengthy trip to the customs post office to pick up the eight-50 pound boxes we shipped from the US—we’ve also made time for Christmas markets, shopping trips, and plenty of delicious German food. We’ve already had some wonderful guests and an American Thanksgiving with my sister and friends during their visit to Berlin last week. A German bank account, cell phones, language classes, and our visas are all also in the works. Whoo-hoo!
But in between all that, I’ve had a few moments of panic. It was wonderful celebrating the holiday last week with good friends, but I felt slightly guilty when I didn’t check everything off my to-do list. Although I planned to arrive in Berlin and first spend time in language school, I’ve wondered if instead I should be working to establish myself as a writer here. But these moments of hesitation pass, as I remember that the time has been short, and the longer we are here, the more comfortable we’ll become.
Just as acidity is important in balancing flavor, a little piece of mind can go a long way in balancing the moments when life has been turned upside down. I am trying to keep that idea of balance in mind, especially when I want everything to fall in place so quickly. Balance of my proposed goals and what is actually achievable in a day’s time. Balance between the things we need to do to get settled here and the things we want to do. Balance between my expectations and realities. It’s incredibly exciting to have found ourselves newly minted expats but without a healthy dose of balance, it doesn’t feel quite real.
Lemon juice is my go to seasoning element to add balance—a bright little kick of acid can really help even out a rich dish—and just imaging bright yellow lemons puts a smile on my face. There’s something about citrus—soothing under your eyes, fresh in your water, clean as a fragrance—that offers a balancing thought as well as balance in cuisine. And it isn’t just a subconscious effect; on top of its culinary prowess, lemon juice offers a number of health benefits and actually helps balance our body’s natural pH. As we head into my third weekend in Berlin with plenty of plans, I’m thinking all about the balance in my life and how to keep my mental scale healthy and happy. A tall glass of cold water, with a nice slice of lemon is the way I think I’ll start.