I

Spring has sprung! It’s 61F/16C at 10am! The sun is shining, and I woke up to the sound of not-pigeon birds chirping merrily. I’m watching a crow the size of a small chicken perched on a fence, presumably looking for breakfast. Too bad he’s not a human. I’d tell him to come inside and enjoy one of these croissants. Holy Coffee has good croissants.

II

My mom says I’m rooting through my plants. I’ve never been much a plant person. I’ve gardened, yes, because gardening produces food and I love food. But houseplants have always seemed a little pointless to me. Since coming to Berlin, though, I’ve purchased two plant babies and adopted the ones that were already in my current apartment. My Berlin plant family consists of Frieda, Zane, Martha, and Banana Plant (no actual bananas are produced).

The flower shops in Berlin are one of my favorite parts of the city. There is, at least, one shop per block, and they display their plants inside and outside. It really adds beauty and life to the gray, concrete streets and buildings.

flower shops in Berlin

III

My current apartment had five plants when I moved in, in various states of life/death. One bit the dust while I was home in The States, and one has looked like it’s about to die for months, but it’s still holding on. Martha, the Peace Lily, has been brought back from the brink of death a couple of times now. I repotted her in hopes that she will continue to thrive even after I leave this apartment. I can’t let a Peace Lily die!

I like to think she breathes in our hatred and breathes out a little more peace every day.

IV

When I arrived in October, I kept noticing a green, leafy succulent with bright, red flowers. It was one of the prettiest things I’d ever seen, and I decided I needed one. That’s how Frieda came to be a Fagan.

Zane is the newest addition to the family. It was between him and a Venus Flytrap. I picked him partly because he looks like a Dr. Suess character and partly because I read too many scary stories about carnivorous plants as a child.

He’s a kalanchoe humilis (“desert surprise”). His sister, Frieda, is a kalanchoe blossfeldiana (“flaming Katy”). I hadn’t heard of kalanchoes before Berlin, but they’re really easy to care for and more exciting than the typical cactus, in my opinion.

 

Frieda and Zane kalanchoe plants

V

My Hacker Paradise friend, Daan, visited me this past Easter weekend. You may remember him from the London trip we took together back in September. He helped me realize that I’ve been so focused on trying to survive in Berlin, I’ve forgotten how to thrive.

 

Little Spoon Book cooking shakshuka with Daan

Daan cooking shakshuka for Little Spoon.

He asked me if I had any Easter traditions. In recounting the sunrise church services, the dyeing of Easter eggs, the Passover Seders (both that I attended and the one that I hosted), I realized I had forgotten all about it. I often have this problem with holidays. I forget how much I like them until they’re over, and I’ve forgotten to properly celebrate them.

Part of this has to do with having people to celebrate with, but part of it is valuing myself enough to celebrate with or without people. It’s sort of like working out or meditating; do I value myself enough to keep myself healthy or are my motivations based on external stimuli that ebb and flow?

I think this spring, I’m going to focus on cultivating worth and value inside of me, and I’m going to hope the same for you.

So as the days lengthen, the weather warms, and the flowers bloom, I pray new life for me and you.

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