Filling the echoing void, with a side trip for meatballs

The problem: A vast, empty apartment. Which incidently smelled like sheetrock. We clearly needed Ikea.

Ok, and a car. Or a van, technically. We find a shop that will rent to us. Many won’t, because we don’t have the International Drivers Permit that is really only a translation of our US drivers license, or an EU license. But we get an enormous van. Which is just the way I want to learn how to drive for the first time in a foreign country — in something roughly the size and shape of a whale, with a stick shift on the dashboard just out of reach of my arms, trying to find a megastore that’s on the outskirts of town and thus off the edge of any map we have.

So off we go. One bit lip and half hour of teeth (and gear) grinding later, we’re there, eating celebratory meatballs. Three more hours and three massive shopping carts later, we’re out, with furniture in boxes, and various sundries that give us an actual apartment.

Thusly we have created about two-thirds of a home out of empty space. We need to fill it it in with color and personality, for which we will turn to the big Mauerpark flea market on Sunday. The fridge guy came yesterday, so we can shop now. It’s like having a life again.

Maybe best is having bicycles at last. Yesterday evening at dusk we rode down a long path where the old Wall used to be, which has now been planted with lines of the most voluptuous pink-blossomed cherry trees I’ve ever seen. This is a beautiful way to signify peace at last.