Hooray! I dodged at least part of the Olympics! No, I don't like the Olympics, enough said.
I am in Berlin, taking part in a games festival. I am, as usual, not playing - I have a deep-seated dislike for playing games myself. I just like to help with the design, it's fun to come up with these little systems and tinker with them to make them work.
I'm finding the city very enjoyable - it's spacious, and I'm staying in an area that seems very laid-back and sensible - loads of artists, quiet streets, lovely old trees, and big well-built houses that people have adjusted to their needs. The whole place is colourful and inviting.
Still, I'm tired out from trying to communicate successfully. This always happens when I visit Germany. It happened when I LIVED here, actually. That's why I moved away in the first place.
And it's gone even worse. My German hasn't been in active use for over a decade and most people assume I am not a native speaker. Also, let's face it, my social skills are eccentric at best, and better suited to London where people who feel bothered by that tend to be happy to just ignore me.
Here, my attempts at politeness misfire and register as vague arrogance, and people give me withering looks and bone-crushing handshakes in return. I am getting into lots of small needless arguments. I also keep seeing children who seem completely alien to me - they strut about, chest puffed out, actually shouting things like "I am a mighty lion" as if they were in a vintage breakfast cereal advert - does everyone here stand their ground all the time? Don't they get tired? - I really don't feel at home, no matter how familiar it all seems.
But thankfully I manage to not insult and confuse everyone. People seem very easy-going and friendly here, on the whole.
I keep seeing the most fabulous yet practical outfits in the street, entirely non-conformist but still completely sensible.
The bottled drinks are extremely cool and tasty.
The street-art is amazing.
I love the huge lamp posts, puffed up with many layers of flyers and private adverts for surprisingly wholesome things like singing lessons and academic proof reading.
It's beautiful. I'll miss some of that when I get back to London.