Today, 1 pm.
I had some business to do in Berlin and a strong longing for meeting Olgannelie again, my colleague and friend who, after meeting me (I tell myself) decided she needed to move to Germany. When I was still in Stockholm and she was in Berlin, it felt like we were apart not by the Baltic Sea but at least the Atlantic Ocean. When I set foot on German soil, I suddenly felt that we were neighbors. I still have a few days off and an appointment in Berlin – I totally have to go see her! So now I am sitting on a train, the wrong one, to Berlin. That is maybe the thing I find most annoying about my repat experience so far: I am so lost even though I am German. I guess partly this is because in Sweden, I would actually check what train I get on because, hello, it is still Ausland, so you better check what you are doing. The other part is that I am familiar with the things I do in Stockholm. I basically only go to Uppsala (and occasionally to the Polar Circle), I live on Skavsta, there is not much that can go wrong. And then I take the train to Hannover and want to change to the one to Berlin. My ticket says it leaves 11.31 from platform 10 but the train on platform 10 says it leaves at 11.21 to Berlin. The conductor blows his whistle, I decide to take the chances life presents me with and jump into the train, only to realize as it starts rolling that this is an IC-train, not an ICE-train. ICE-trains are much faster, nicer, and sometimes they even have internet. (IC-trains do not even have cell phone reception as I get to experience right now.) Also, you pay more for ICEs. Maybe it is Deutsche Bahn’s strategy to put almost identical trains on the same platform that almost leave at the same time: this way, they can make lost repats pay more for less. Pretty much the first thing that met me on the train was the police with dogs looking for drugs. Of course. We’re going to Berlin after all.