“Oh, like the – ”
“Is it spelled exactly – ”
“Wow! That’s so cool.”
That’s how I introduce myself, with unerring predictability.
Don’t get me wrong – I quite like my name. And if my mother didn’t decide to call me Berlin, I wouldn’t have anywhere close to the connection I now share with Germany’s famous capital.
It all started in 1989. I was born exactly three months before the Berlin Wall came down. Not long after, I was given a piece of the wall for my birthday, an appropriate and certainly memorable present.
As I grew up, I slowly fell in love with the idea of Berlin. Friends often showed me colourful photographs of its graffiti-clad walls, developing my appreciation of the city’s mad love for visual expression. I occasionally stumbled upon and devoured articles about Berlin’s cycling culture and vintage flea markets, which seemed to define the city’s eclectic vibe that so appealed to me.
I am constantly told that I must experience Berlin, first-hand. But to this day, I have not been able to make the trip. Berlin, to me, remains a loose scrapbook of stories, photographs and rather famous rocks collected over the years.
Indeed, my whole life has been a personal Berlin experience, one for which I have my name to thank.
Even though I was named after Berlin, the American synth-pop chart-toppers.