No, the title of this post does not refer to me leaving Germany soon. Rather, it is the name of an abandoned building in Berlin that, to me, is a representation of the spirit of the city. Until February 2005 this structure was a swimming and leisure center. It has since fallen into disrepair - smashed windows, colorful graffiti and abandoned beer bottles litter the property. The pools have long been empty and the lack of electricity make certain corners of the interior a bit too mysterious for me, but despite its raggedy appearance, Blubbering Mess is beautiful.
It exudes creativity. Every inch is covered with graffiti or art. Since most of the glass has been smashed or broken over the years, walking outside is like walking over a beautiful mosaic (I would definitely suggest closed toe shoes for this particular adventure). There are few places in this world I could walk into a building to find a girl with blue-green hair, a long gown and a blow up dolphin meant for a pool posing for pictures in a shattered courtyard visible to the street and no one takes excessive notice. It's cool to be weird and that's awesome.
Berlin is a place where beauty and inspiration can be found anywhere and in anything. This city has become the master of reinvention - it's history demands it. In the past century Berlin has been governed by four distinct governments or regimes. It has been divided, it has been unified. It has been bankrupt and plagued with inflation, but it has also evolved into one of the most stable and wealthy economies in Europe. It cannot ignore or reject its history, but Berliners also refuse to let their history hold them back and instead embrace the alternative way of life and thinking that they have become so well known for.
In Blubbering Mess I see this spirit: a resistance to letting destruction or disrepair categorize something as useless, a desire to make something many may see as ugly into something beautiful and different. It's creative. It's inventive. It's uniquely quirky and entirely Berlin.