These photos were taken on our last day in Berlin. I think the reality of reality was starting to sink in. It just so happened that one of the hardest challenges I've faced yet took place just weeks before we left on our trip. I wasn't running away, the trip had been planned just like all things. I planned. I planned meticulously and then things came crashing down. But I gave myself permission to "run away" from my thoughts while abroad. And now those thoughts have caught up with me. I have two faces. And lately I've been wearing the one that is logical, practical, and wise. But the more I wear it the more it becomes me and the more I hate looking in the mirror. I haven't completely retired the other. I'm holding onto it until that moment where I really have to make the decision about who I want to be.
-Getting off the train at Gare du Nord breathing in Paris
-Visiting Saint Chapelle at trying to catch my breath
-Oscar Munez at Jeu de Paume
-Brando shouting "viva la Mexico" to a group of fans in the center of Brussels who nearly hoisted him on their shoulders in camaraderie
-The Botanischer Garten in Berlin
-Brando's birthday dinner and mint yogurt drinks
-Walks by myself in our Berlin neighborhood
-Walks everywhere together
-new friends, olds friends, and complete strangers
-Trying to swing dance at a jazz concert in Tivoli
-and more things I've already forgotten
Lunch on the Seine
Sometimes I wake up a bit confused I'm not in our Berlin apartment. It takes a few seconds and then, instead of being upset, I'm content because I slept better than I have in years. I rush to get ready, don't have enough time to pack a lunch so quickly pick a handful of cherry tomatoes to eat on my commute to work accompanied by classical 89, my jam. We're home. And it's good. Better than I thought it'd be. And I think it's better because we left in the first place.
Spending our fourth anniversary in Paris was a big "pinch me" moment. All of Paris was. But that first day was especially great. We ate too many crepes to count (at least four, y'know, one for each year of marriage), Brando navigated the city so well, we visited Sainte Chapelle at the perfect time of day, I'll never forget the feeling of being there, it was one of those moments you didn't want to take a photo of, too special. We walked everywhere. Paris is for walking, we decided. We only rode the metro once, to visit Versailles. I've never seen Brando more in his element than in Paris! He was made for Paris. We'd walk around and he'd educate me on architecture and the French revolution and all sorts of things. It may sound cliché (or just really naive) but I never expected to learn so much from him. I think that's what this year has been for me. Love-year-three was rough. We made a lot of mistakes and it took time for both of us to heal. By design, I'm a driver-seat kind of person. But this last year I found myself needing to let Brando take the wheel. At first, it wasn't easy. But through the process I've realized how good of a driver he is, and how much more I can process when I take the passenger seat. How much more I can breathe. I'll love him forever, for that alone.
Only a few eye-rolls took place while locking our love on the Bridge. I mean, who needs that symbolic mumbo jumbo? ;) But I loved it.