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Falling asleep in Berlin
Itís odd to fall asleep in a foreign country. The sounds that come from somewhere down the road are unfamiliar: the sirens wail with an irregular tempo and in a different pitch; the yelling that makes its way over the window sill and into your bed arrives with strange syllables and an odd accent that makes you feel like you have water in your ears.
But you are relieved to be in a foreign country, to not have to speak to anyone, and to not be spoken to. This language barrier allows you a rare privacy and a break in the stream of information that your mother tongue lashes at you daily.
When you canít understand what is being said, itís as if you have been given the gift of not having to care because you are excused from participating and therefore are not expected to have an opinion on any subject. You do not have to read the newspapers and learn how horrible the state of the world is. After all, the words make no sense, including food packages, road signs and traffic patterns; however, these are things you can get your head around eventually if you wanted to, unlike the state of the world.
I hope to finally get some sleep here. The Germans want to forget the past; I also want to forget the past. So we have this in common, and this alone is all we understand of one another.†