Skip to main content

Have Bike, Will Travel: an interview with Wiebke

I met Wiebke a few years ago in a dance class, and am so glad I did.  We've lindy hopped late into the night, enjoyed glasses of wine and rich conversation and shared a love of movie-going, whether it be on blanket in the park or a cushy seat in a darkened theater.  She always has some wise insight or kind thing to say and really cares about how she lives her life.  She's a car-free, urban life lover and has frequently been an inspiration for me, which is why I was so sad to lose her to Berlin, but happy to get to interview her.  Read on for her thoughts on the great big transition of returning home:





I could have never imagined that my most difficult transition was to return to Germany after about six years in the U.S. and Canada.

Most of those years were spent in San Francisco. I left part of my heart there, part of it in Brooklyn. Though the last two years of my time abroad were the most difficult in terms of decision-making, dealing with people, myself, moving places, and from coast to coast, those years were a breeze compared to landing back on German ground. It was a very rocky landing.

I moved back to the only city in Germany I could imagine as a permanent home and was extremely lucky to find an affordable apartment in a nice parts of the former East of the city. Then reality knocked on my door, loud and clear:

 
I’d never had a problem making friends in the cities and countries I had moved to. But this time I wasn’t the foreigner anymore, the one with the funny accent, and I was in the most "grumpy" cities of all. Small talk is something Berliners have not heard of, or see as a very strange concept of friendly interaction. The other problem was that I worked from home, or at least I tried, and if I wanted to, I could spend days in my pajamas, eat tons of junk-food, and be a mess. Berlin's dark and gray winters are a perfect backdrop to this scenery.


But something finally made me shift gears: One day in early January I got up, bought a bicycle, and started riding in snow, rain, and freezing temperatures. It has changed my perspective in so many ways. I’ve been exploring neighborhoods, fantastic coffee shops and the beauty of this city. The physical aspect of cycling, feeling my legs and my heart pumping, and having to be alert, literally got me rolling.


At the end of January I started a new job, have been posting on my blog, and organizing meetings with other cyclists and like-minded people. I am building myself a network. And even though I’ve known all along that life is change, I now know how to shift gears accordingly, roll and go with the flow, or pedal up that hill slowly but steadily. Falling and not getting back up is not an option anymore.

 
Learned: What goes up has to come down. What comes down will go up again.

Wish I would have listened to my guts and kicked myself in the butt earlier.

What question do you wish I would have asked you? "Movie and wine date next week?"

Oh my gosh, that sounds divine.  Makes me want to hop on a flying bicycle for a visit!

Be sure to check out Wiebke's blog Berlin by Bike for more of her adventures in community and cycles. Thank you Wiebke!  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

For Mom, Twenty-One Years Later

I lost my mom twenty-one years ago today. She died from complications related to a long battle with chronic-progressive multiple sclerosis. I was a week away from turning twenty-one. Which means I have not had her as long as I did have her.
It used to make me unique among my friends, to have lost a parent at such a young age. But I’m no longer young and many friends have joined this depressing club. The dues are astronomical and no one prepares refreshments.
People, moms are important. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Whether you were once a child or are currently a mom. They are the sun, moon, and stars, even when they are completely obscured by darkness.
I wish she mattered less. She doesn’t. She matters more than almost anything: that first hit of love, that childhood sense of safety, that initial understanding of what it means to be a woman in the world: mom.



Memory is funny when it comes to dead people: I can remember her any way I want. Which means I can also mis-remem…

The Thankful List

I make a decent attempt at gratitude on the regular, but I love how this season makes me think about it specifically. Even in the midst of all the holiday hoopla and the days of generalized anxiety we currently live in, there are genuine reflections of thankfulness everywhere. Way more so than say Valentine's day prompting people to really reflect on their love for someone. I've been keeping a list in my notes app on my phone to record the things that are currently immense suppliers of joy in my life. Here's an incomplete list:

My dental hygienist.
This is not a product placement disguised as gratitude. This is my genuine, heartfelt gratitude for a woman I see every six months who I have complete trust in, and who makes an otherwise unpleasant experience as humane and awesome as possible. Yes, yes, my dentist is also great. Absolutely. But making a teeth cleaning a pleasant experience is a gift not many hygienists possess. It's a combo of demeanor, the exact right amou…

You Are Not Alone

You Are Not Alone

If you still haven’t found your sea legs in this new reality You are not alone
If you check your privilege while wondering how You are not alone
If your empathy is worn down by 3pm each day You are not alone
If you’re terrified by normalizing this but desire stabilization You are not alone
If you haven’t figured out how to talk to your family about this new reality You are not alone
If you want to post something flippant to social media and feel guilty about it not being political enough You are not alone
If you can’t figure out how to talk about this morning’s tragedy and by the time you do everyone else is raging about the next thing You are not alone
If you are often paralyzed and enraged by your own paralysis You are not alone
If you wish you could go back to the good old days of 2015 You are not alone
If you loathe being so lazy You are not alone <