Interview: “I’m a Human Being”

Vienna. Seat of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. Widely considered the gateway to Eastern Europe. Home to a United Nations headquarters and numerous international companies and universities. The Austrian capital has long been a city of immigration – even when politics have told a different story – and a staggering 50% of the population has what’s referred to as a “migration background”. So it’s not as if I expected Vienna to not be multicultural... [Read More!]

Lens: On Leaving Home(s)

Last month, Kelly wrote about the implications of "collecting ourselves" to make a move back home. While wrought with complications in its own right, returning to where one grew up, has family, or holds full political and legal rights is a move that Makes Sense. One chapter closes, and however painful or messy, the next begins... [Read More!]

Interview: “I’m not Turkish, but my husband is”

In a capital city marked by transformation and transience, where people are perpetually coming and going, it can feel like a true rarity to meet someone actually from that city. “H” was my first Berlin friend from Berlin. We met through a language website, after she sent me a request to practice French in exchange for German. H was working on her degree to become a French teacher. I was still new to the city and could count my local friends on one hand... [Read More!]

The Collidoscope Manifesto

A couple months ago, Collidoscope Berlin was invited to write its first guest post for the Global Citizens Initiative - an organization that aims “to build a network of people who see themselves as global citizens and want to build a better world”. Part of the task was to connect what we do here to the significance of borders. “Borders?”, we wondered, unsure how to proceed but mostly questioning why we had never concretely addressed the topic before... [Read More!]

Lens: With Wings, Roots, and Sweaty Hands

"Punctual. Exact. Productive. Closed off. Careful. Inflexible. Humorless." And some "Goethe" and "Einstein" thrown in for good measure. Was this really all a group of seemingly well-educated professionals had to say about German identity? No wonder the facilitator had started to draw sad faces on the list... [Read More!]

Beyond Berlin: the Istanbul Connection

Istanbul gives Berlin its baseline. In kind, Berlin is richly integrated into the complexity of Istanbul. For no relationship is ever purely one-sided. And so a Berlin : Istanbul connection, which moves beyond Gastarbeiter music and Fatih Akin films, is what one can find after six days immersed in the shapes and silhouettes of this city of 13 million... [Read More!]

Lens: Coming (home)

I'm pretty sure it was the 1st grade. We were drawing pictures of our families and I carefully wrote Mami under the lopsided stick figure cast as my mother. A kid next to me leaned over and inspected my work. "That's not how you write 'Mommy'!" he squealed. "Yes it is!" I responded fiercely, confident that this was exactly how my Mami had taught me to spell it. Our teacher overheard the bickering and swooped in for the rescue. We were both right, she explained patiently. Mami was just "Mommy" in a different language... [Read More!]

Lens: Going (away)

Human beings are mobile, in part due to the wonder of air travel, whose planes make relationship and imagination possible in spite of vast distances. Preparing to leave Berlin for my other home far away, I could not help but reflect on how mobility has changed what it means to love, to belong, to connect. Will my father’s face have aged? My mother’s mind? I turn toward the security line, into the place I am going. Umbrellas and the smell of moist newspapers, dreary winters full of long conversations near the sea... [Read More!]