I am in Berlin and I can’t believe it!
If you are expecting a travel diary full of famous sights and pictures of historically significant places, this is not the diary entry for you. This may occur at a later date but at the moment, my Berlin experience is made up and led by the condition and needs of the reason I am here – my son. All is going well on that front and if this continues – Tourist Mandy may get a look in. But for now, it’s appointments and short walks to build up strength and eating! I have to tell you, I couldn’t be happier because during these ordinary, everyday activities, I am learning something very special about friendship.
I’ve always believed that I am somewhat of an expert on friendship, having been the recipient of amazing deeds by amazing friends over the years. Having experienced this, you would think that I wouldn’t be so surprised by what I am seeing here on a daily basis – but I am totally gobsmacked! I know that when you don’t have family close by, your friends take on a totally different role. They become the family you choose and sometimes they just choose you!
The friendship I am witnessing here is wonderful and tender and endearing. Maybe, because the majority of the care is coming from men toward another man, it feels extra special and different. That doesn’t mean that I think men are no good at friendship – I know they are but sometimes men struggle to show their feelings and some men just don’t seem to hold on to their friends or have the numbers of friends that women do. Yes, I know judgements and sweeping statements! Thankfully, we all know exceptions. And of course, there are also some amazing young ladies that are definitely key to this rather large friendship community.
My son has been living in Berlin for just on 6 years now and that is certainly enough time to make friends. However, the fact that he is a freelance worker, means that there has been no workplace to kick this off! He knew none of these people when he lived in Australia. They are from all parts of the world and they all love him to pieces.
Firstly, let’s start with the housemates, who have importantly been interpreters for doctors when the language becomes a little too difficult; they have been the information givers to family back home in Australia; they have absorbed rental and other costs; they have shopped for clothes when nothing appropriate could be found in the closet; they have provided and prepared food; they have been taxi drivers; they have been supportive visitors and they have opened their home to me ….. for a month! They continue to do many of these things daily, while all the time, they have continued to hold down their own jobs as a secondary school biology teacher and an intern at an animal research company. Friendship in action – a lesson for us all.
The other evening, we wandered a few streets down, to meet 5 blokes for a burger and a beer. Enter the Unicorns – football buddies extraordinaire! These blokes actually love my boy! You could see the love and care in their faces and I could feel it in their hugs. These 5 blokes – 3 Englishmen, 1 Spaniard and a German, are just a small sample of this very special football team, of which they tell me, my son is the heart. This team, that plays in pink & black and stands for equality, is having it’s best year on the pitch and it is determined to strive to grab the opportunity they have, to win their division, with the same determination that their player/coach has faced his own challenges. They are so proud of him and they would love to give him the win at season’s end but they have given him so much already. They have given him love and care and support and distraction and fun and friendship as I have not witnessed before. They are an inspiration to each other and they would do anything for their coach. They already have done everything but I really don’t think they realise it.
So these very important friends have supported and are continuing to support us through a challenging time. They and others I have yet to meet, have done it willingly and steadfastly – all the time dealing with their own lives and the initial shock of unexpected news. They have not wavered from their role as supporter and cheerleader and of course – friend.
On my part, for the last few days, I have been learning a lesson that my mother learned a long time ago. The lesson is this, that it is such a relief to know that your child is safe in the hands of people that really love and care about them – especially when distance from you is an issue. To hear about their friends from your child is one thing but to actually see it in action is totally something else! So, when the time comes for me to leave Berlin and return to my life in Australia, it will be with complete peace because although I will be sad to leave my son, I know he is right where he is meant to be ….. with exactly the right people around him.
Until next time ….
Sidenote: You may notice some changes around the Comments section of the blog. Many people have contacted me to say that they have had trouble commenting and so, for the moment we have reverted to the old comments system. I would love it if you would add to my blog by contributing on the comments section. It makes me feel like people are reading and enjoying what I write. I am totally interested about your views and experiences and look forward to sharing any of you own tales of your travel in Berlin or anywhere else, for that matter! I completely understand if you don’t wish to do this, too. There is also, a star at the bottom of each post which you can click on, to register your Like! If you don’t have a Facebook account or a blog of your own, you can subscribe by following the instructions that appear on any of the Subscribe buttons on each post. When you do this, you will not miss a post because each day, you will receive each new post delivered directly into your email inbox.
Thanks for travelling with me and hope to hear from you soon.