Letters to my editor

London, 3rd of April 2023

Dear Kate,

Thank you for all your recommendations. A few of them we already checked off our list as we were euphoric to be back in London. The fact that we were back was thanks to a lot of luck. We almost missed our flight thanks to my impulse to be too easy-going. When I woke up at 5:30 I quickly checked the traffic on google maps and decided I could very well re-set the alarm to 6:30. According to Easyjet we had to be at the airport at 7:45 – two hours early. Had I known that at 7:45 we would still be stuck in a traffic jam that had been very predictable as they had closed two of three lanes of the Stadtring close to Tempelhofer Damm, I might have reconsidered to go back to sleep. The relaxed attitude of the early morning was soon exchanged for anxious glances at my navigation. When we finally were through the traffic jam the estimated arrival time was 8:45. Had I been able to park right inside the airport, preferably next to the plane I might have calmed down, but I knew we still had to take a train from parking to the terminal, go through security and then make a run for the passport control. It turned out, a lot of running was involved in our attempt to still catch the plane which was on time and ready to take off at 9:45. Why are planes always on time at the wrong times?

We missed a train, thanks to my lack of ability to run stairs fast enough. Then we dashed through the terminal, brutally cut the lane for the security check and I still feel ashamed for being that straight-forward. Maybe there weren’t many Berliners in the lane, but no one gave us words. The one who gave words was sadly the security guard who had scanned Kristijan’s bag. We argued we really were in a hurry, and he could throw away anything that should not be in the bag. The security guard’s expression turned from earnest to earnest2 and he pointed out there was a knife. We laughed and the face of the security guard took another shade of earnest. He pointed at the scan which showed indeed a knife. Now it was Kristijan’s face that went through a lot of emotions. The border police got involved and thankfully measured the knife under twelve centimetres which meant they threw it away and we continued our run for the plane. In the end we ran from the passport control into the plane and could not believe our luck. Maybe we try with a little less drama next time.

But it was the drama of the morning that helped a lot with taking things easy after we arrived. Suddenly there was so much time at hand. We took the train to Hackney Central and were pleasantly surprised by our studio in the Kip. Energised we went for vegan and non-vegan fish and chips, plundered Tesco, and then slowly made our way to Pages of Hackney to check if I could get hold of the mug. I could not see Jo and decided to come back on Tuesday. We then had lovely dinner at My Neighbours and tried your walk through the marches. Tried because we did not manage to find the entrance you drew on your map. The walk through your neighbourhood was lovely though and it is great to meet a part of London that is comparable to where we live in Berlin. 

I also must tell you about the book I started reading on the plane – The Midnight Library. It is about a library that is located between life and death. The many books on the shelves are lives you could have lived. So far, the protagonist has tried two other version. I had not read twenty pages when I knew I wanted to do add something like this to my book. There is a point in my life when everything could have turned out differently. I tried to make a run from someone and was unsuccessful. Although I despise the three years of my life that followed, had I made it out, I would not have my son – a consequence I would not want to live with. It could be presented as a dream or maybe a ‘what if’- dialogue with someone. While I want to tell the story of an unhappy phase in my life, I want to make sure that the reader learns that I rather regard it as a life lesson than a regret. It was a necessary step I had to take to take to end up in the life I now live and cherish. Like we needed to almost miss the flight to embrace our time in London right from the start. 

I hope your vacation had a smoother start than ours and that you are having a good time.

All the best,


Hackney, 4th of April 2023

Hey Kate,

Today we fell in love with Hackney. After waking up way to early, we decided to complete the walk around the marshes we had failed to finish yesterday. Why is it that you wake up at seven thought there are no kids, no cats and no alarm clocks involved. We had gone to bed with the intend to sleep in as long as we could. Seems this is now seven o’clock. I have never felt more mid-forties in my life. 

The walk took us past your place and through the park. This time we caught the right entrance and enjoyed that your London is pretty much like our Berlin, rural with a bus that only takes twenty minutes to eject you to the hectic of the city. The kids called while we explored the canal and the marshes. It is strange to not have them with us, but they told us dead serious that they had already seen London and would rather take care of the cats. They are almost fifteen and busy with sports and becoming independent. The call provided all the information my mother, who has an eye on them, the cats, and the fridge, gave me the evening before. All is well. They cleaned the oven and asked for information on how to use the washing machine. The washing machine. I had secretly guessed they would start to wonder on how to clean their clothes around Thursday. I had not expected them to be this organised. 

On our way back I fetched my mug from Pages of Hackney and left some chocolate from Germany. The labels on the package tell the story of a poor mug sent back and forth between countries. In the end it all makes sense. This mug is a diva and wanted to be picked up. I brought a print of Gillian Anderson with the mug and plan to take a picture with it. 

As Kristijan is crazy about bikes, we accidentally ended up in a bike shop close to Pages. I accidentally ended up falling for a colourful bike and took it for a short spin. Sadly, all my solutions for buying and taking it to Berlin came to nothing. How cool would it have been to bring a bike from London?

We skipped lunch and headed for St. Duncan-in-the-east to start our reversed ‘The Night Watch’ – walk. It took us a while to walk, but we enjoyed how our surroundings slowly changed while we neared the city centre. We may also add that we wished ourselves back to Hackney a few times. On our walk we spotted most of the churches Julia points out to Helen and though we lost ‘their’ way a few times, the walk still made an impression on us. I got a bit frustrated with the difficulties of simulating a fictive walk in a city that is in constant change. While I had been able to imagine 1944 while reading, it became impossible in London of 2023. When we finally arrived at Mecklenburgh Square I was a bit relieved it was over, and we could embark on Kris’ next stop – Look mum no hands! This shop looks great on the internet and very much permanently closed in real life. Kris handles disappointment much better than me, and we decided to walk the full circle and head back to Hackney. To power up for the last stage we ate some ramen, and I even tried some juicy combination called positive. It worked. The sun had gone down, and we went back in the dark. London at night seems even more beautiful. The lights and laughter from pubs, the lit windows and people slowly leaving the parks. We had another call from the boys. All cats are alive. My parents had picked them up after drums and taken them to our favourite restaurant. They are on some kind of holiday themselves. 

When we finally fell on our bed and checked our tracking app, we had managed 40K steps. Well, I have. Kris regrets his long legs. 

Tomorrow’s only set activity is the concert and we are not sure where it will take us. But let’s see, there is so much to discover.

All the best, 


Hackney, 5th of April 2023

Hey Kate,

we felt a bit tired after yesterday’s walk and decided to buy a day ticket for the bus. Buying a ticket seems the easiest thing. Now. The memory of my first London bus trip to meet you still sticks with me. The excitement of using the public transport of another city. A thing I do casually like breathing in Berlin led to two sleepless nights in Whitechapel. In the end I was almost giving up and ordering a taxi. But I managed to find out I could get tickets for the bus in the tube station, laughed at myself as my brain thought the bus would stop on the other side of the lane and slowly settled in while the bus took me up to Clapton. I learned to stick out an arm to stop a bus and when I showed my new learnt tricks to the boys the next day it felt like I had taken another hurdle out of my comfort zone or rather I had enlarged my comfort zone. 

Today’s bus ride took us back to the city and I rediscovered streets we had walked yesterday. I love when that happens. It feels like conquering new territory. Kris wanted to visit the Rapha shop and I wanted to see Grosvenor Square. Why? Because of Bridgerton. The disappointment with visiting places mentioned in novels did not stop. Yet, we set out to have a look at Baker Street in full knowledge it would be equally unsatisfying. It was. Although the houses in Mayfair make it easy to imagine Sherlockian London, the many tourists (yes, I am aware I am one of them) made me want to jump on the bus back to Hackney right away. Kris wanted to see China Town and again, too many people, especially Germans and too commercial restaurants. 

We were both happy to be back in Hackney and tried PeckPeck for some tenders and a vegan burger to regain energy for the main reason – next to the mug – to come to London: the Peaness concert at Moth Club. The concert was great, the location a tiny club and every time one of the band members passed us in the crowd I whispered in Kris’ ear ‘That’s the guitarist’, ‘Well, she is the drummer’ and ‘Oh, that’s her, she’s bass and vocals.’. It was very cosy, they played all the songs I know and even though it’s not Kris’ kind of music he had to agree that they come about so likeable and funny, you must have a good time watching them play.  

Not sure, where we will be tomorrow, but we sure love Hackney. 

All the best,


Hackney, 6th of April 2023

Hi Kate,

This morning, as we sat in The Full English and slurped tea and coffee, Kris asked about how difficult it might be to get a job as an engineer in London. I think, England is winning him over. 

Not sure what to do, we set out to walk towards Canary Wharf. I know, it is a totally artificial part of London, but since I was first forced to visit it on a class trip in 1997, I like it like one likes guilty pleasures. For Kris’ fortieth birthday I booked the Doubletree with a balcony overlooking the Thames (and of course the Docklands). Maybe it was more of a gift to myself, but he liked it anyway. We’ve been back twice, once to an apartment in the middle of it all. The view presented a nice lookout onto the construction site of the building that looks like an upstanding lipstick. Instead of going straight to the Crossrail Palace as we had planned, I was magically drawn in by the Thames, its water level high and the boats shaking wildly in its waves. There is something about your river that makes me want to see it every time I am in London. After the Crossrail Palace, which was nice but not the Thames, we went back and took the Thames Clipper to Tower. We learnt about tap in/ tap out and I wonder when Germany will ever be able to keep up with the technological development of the world. The ride on the river was great as ever. I missed the children cheering and sticking their noses into the wind. All in all, we miss showing them what we discover. They did not want to come this time. Almost fifteen now, they have started to build their own lives and it’s great we are such a big part of it. This time, instead of emptying our pockets (I just let you do the maths on three teenagers’ hunger for pastries, bubble teas and vintage clothes), they take care of our cats and the flat. So far, all cats are alive and well and the supervising grandparents take care no one finishes the week malnourished. 

Our walk back from Tower Bridge let us through lots of changes in people and surroundings. We ended up having dinner at Lucky & Joy, which Kris disliked for being too hipster and not Chinese at all. I liked the colours and the service but had to agree your My Neighbours was more my thing. We totally forgot to visit any of the pubs your husband’s expert and you pointed out to us. Next time!

We are sad to leave tomorrow, but also looking forward to the kids and cats. 

What I will definitely miss is coming home and having my bed made, my towels changed, and my dishes done. 

Looking forward to talking soon, 



Kommentar verfassen

Trage deine Daten unten ein oder klicke ein Icon um dich einzuloggen:


Du kommentierst mit deinem WordPress.com-Konto. Abmelden /  Ändern )


Du kommentierst mit deinem Facebook-Konto. Abmelden /  Ändern )

Verbinde mit %s