Cecilia of Charlottenburg

Or, a wordy Pinterest board

Last weekend I traveled from my neighborhood in the former East Berlin to visit a friend of mine in the western neighborhood of Charlottenburg. I take just about every chance I get to stroll through Charlottenburg because of how fancy I feel doing it. Seeing it at night this time, due to a very early sunset, newly accentuated aspects of the buildings. The windows and balconies are, I kid you not, at least twice the size of those in my area (balconies aren’t extremely common on the east side), even on the top floors; and the ground-floor establishments sport generous windows and polished presentation—plenty of galleries, salons, and the kind of cafés where I can imagine rounding up the writers of the Roaring 2020s to work and drink and exchange ideas (Siri, remind me to round up said writers). In sum, one of the starkest examples of the power of postwar urban planning and reorganizing.

I also had not a little fun picturing the sort of life I would lead, and the sort of person I would be, were I in possession of one of those terraced, high-ceilinged flats. Let’s say the more established, elegant Cecilia of a few years down the line. That Cecilia:

  • Collects art (mostly prints—by local artists of course, plus a few international to spice things up)
  • Is a visual artist (one room in her flat is a studio strewn with canvases, which she sometimes lays flat on the floor to paint upon, and also she has a tripod for her camera)
  • Wears caftans and/or flowy scarves
  • Plays vinyl records on a turntable
  • Has side tables, and puts candles on the side tables, and burns the candles in the evenings
  • Places her keys in a ceramic bowl near the front door
  • Invites people for weekend brunches
  • Hosts the occasional zingaration, which I cannot find on the internet but I promise is a real word (from one of those word-of-the-day calendars) referring to a specifically musical gathering where people bring songs to share
  • Is an old regular at one of the aforementioned cafés, and updates the staff on the progress of the novel/essay/poetry collection
  • Perhaps has a cat

Will I ever meet her? Time will tell…

Image: a square near Kurfürstendamm, taken by the author in October 2020

Published by Cecilia Gigliotti

Cecilia Gigliotti is a freelance writer/editor/musician/podcaster based in Berlin with a beloved ukulele named Uke Skywalker. Her free time goes toward dancing, reading books new and old, drawing cartoons, trying to finish her Netflix queue, and devoting too much thought to the foibles of her artist-heroes. Connect with her on Twitter (@CeciliaGelato) and Instagram (@c_m_giglio).

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