San Francisco, California
"You talking to me randomly was brave and made my day! Thanks for having the guts to do so and for walking with me.. You are beautiful!"
How did she react?
"Oh, thank you!". We hugged, probably for the 5th time.
How did I feel?
I love the Bay Area.
This is the German me speaking, not the American. What that means? It means I don't use the word "love" as often as "have" or "am". I use it very selectively. Now you know, so let me repeat:
I love the Bay Area. Placewise it's the love of my life, I am ready to commit. Yes, I know I am young. And I already live in a kick ass place. Don't get me wrong, I appreciate Berlin in so many ways. I know how to decode the bus driver's barking at me there and understand he's expressing himself and his love in an upside down way. Languages differ. I love the summer in Berlin, the artists, the craziness- and, yeah, all the dirt on the street, too. Because it's honest, just like the whole city. Berlin slaps it's opinion about you in your face, whether you want it or not. Trust me, there is a lot of good in that, sometimes we all need a mirror. Or at least have a good, long laugh.
So Berlin is my home of origin. I will always treasure it, and I will never stop returning to that hate-love-babe of mine.
Meanwhile the Bay is my home of choice.
I arrived a week ago after two months of total stress and drama in all parts of life. It's been a hard summer and it will take a while to fully restore, that's for sure.
Adjusting to the time difference, the climate and, most importantly, the language was more difficult than I expected, too: Coming from the slap-your-opinion place I needed a minute to log into the cosmos of "Hi, I just spotted you from across the street! I love the way you're rooting into your 4th chakra! What's your star sign?" or "I can feel you are reaching out to me energetically." or just "Aaaaaawwwwwwhhhhhh...." while giving a long, long (long) hug.
Buttoned up to the top of my coat I waited until I was ready to open the first few inches. How that happened?
Slowing down always helps, and some sleep, and a fair share of emotional breakdown. And: The Bay.
There is no place on earth (at least not that I know of, please tell me if I am wrong) that you can leave the house at after having given into the feeling of overwhelming loneliness and despair and be completely vulnerable- then let things go from there. And know: They will go in the best way possible, there will be love reaching out to you.
That's what happened yesterday. First I strolled through the Golden Gate Park, looking for my friends at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival which filled these magical grounds with countless sparkling smiles and dance moves. I couldn't find them so I continued on my own. That's when Hannah walked up to me, lay her hand on my shoulder and said:
"You have to tell me what's in that case on your back!"
"It's a violin."
"Aww... I just had to know. You know, all my friends I am here with are couples so I decided to walk by myself for a bit. When you just walked past me I saw your sweet smile and I thought "Who's that girl and what instrument is she carrying?" You were walking alone just like me and I just had to talk to you."
"That's amazing! Thanks for doing so! Care to join me?"
Hannah was full of sunshine. And I loved that she had the courage to walk up to me. The situation reminded me of my walking up to compliment candidates, now I know what it feels like to be talked to in that way, and I loved it. It was just what I needed, someone as wonderful as Hannah, opening their arms and saying: "Hey there, yes, you! I like you. Welcome out here."
I told her about the project and complimented her on her courage to turn around and approach me.
We took a picture together and when I look at it now I find I am radiating with happiness in a way I haven't been for 7 months- which is how long I have been gone from the Bay. Hannah sparked my heart.
I may be repeating myself- but let me tell you this:
I love the Bay.
Later I busked on Haight street for two hours. It was incredible. There were two people listening to me for a while, their eyes softening to my violin. The way they devoted helped me approach Bach's magic step by step, I did so by enjoying their love. They saw something in me and my playing I couldn't even feel myself in the beginning. But every note they stuck around for and spread their gratitude and touch allowed me to sink deeper into a feeling of being loved and appreciated and most of all enjoying my own playing in a way I hadn't been able to before. I learned from the way they bowed down it. These men, their eyes and ears, words and hugs created a channel for me to pass through and find my way back to music. And love. Tears creep up my throat as I am writing this.
I had countless crazy, beautiful encounters last night.
If one person tells you they like you it's easy to block that. If five do, it gets harder. If twenty people walk up to you, look you in the eye and tell you from the bottom of their hearts: "You are beautiful.", that buttoned coat opens up no matter what. It did for me. Suddenly I stood out in California in my summer dress, ready to be hugged and loved and most of all: Ready to love, everyone I saw, every piece of light they rayed out. And to hug every smile and every bit of nourishment for the heart these wonderful people sent in my direction.
Thank you, Bay Area, for bringing me back to life.
Let's hear it one more time: I love you.